24 Sep 2021 NFL Draft Watch: Week 4 College Football Games to View
The Big 12 is beginning conference play and the SEC kicking off its season this weekend: We’re finally back to some normalcy in the college football world! This also means it’s a huge weekend for NFL Draft prospects.
A shortened season means fewer opportunities for players to catch the eyes of NFL scouts and general managers, increasing the magnitude of each game. This should result in more explosive and exciting plays, much to the benefit of fans.
With so many games to watch, it can be difficult to figure out which ones have the best matchups and are worth tuning in to. Here at Expand The Boxscore, we’ve got you covered.
This week’s top three matchups feature games from each of the three Power Five that are playing this weekend. We’re in for an exciting Saturday that any College Football or NFL Draft fan will certainly enjoy.
Florida State at #12 Miami
With both schools going through dark periods in recent years, this rivalry is not quite what it was back in the early 2000s. However, this Saturday could be the fuel that reignites the fire since both teams have a plethora of NFL Draft prospects.
The majority of Florida State’s prospects are on the defensive side of the ball, headlined by defensive tackle Marvin Wilson. At 6’5” and 305 pounds, the big man certainly has the ideal size and strength to be an effective interior pass rusher in the NFL, but he needs to play with a better base and pad level to hold his ground against double teams.
Wilson has the potential to be a top-five, if not top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Staying along the defensive line, another Seminole to keep an eye on is Joshua Kaindoh. The edge defender has elite size at 6’7” and 265 pounds, but a lack of athleticism and bend currently puts him at a sixth-round to priority free agent projection.
Shifting to the secondary, Asante Samuel Jr. is following in his father’s footsteps with two interceptions in FSU’s lone contest of the season. Samuel is an impressive man coverage corner who will likely be a Day 2 pick.
Finally, there’s safety Hamsah Nasirildeen, who has the athleticism to play as a deep safety, in the box, or cover the slot. That versatility puts him in the discussion as a late first- or early second-round pick.
Miami has several prospects, the most notable being tight end Brevin Jordan who XTB Scout Tim Lettiero feels has the potential to be a Day 1 pick. Jordan is a freak athlete who has struggled to find consistent production in college, partially because of the inconsistent quarterback play at The U.
However, with Houston transfer D’Eriq King under center, that problem is somewhat alleviated. King is a dynamic athlete who has some room for growth as a passer, but his playmaking ability is something that NFL scouts and general managers can’t ignore. A big performance against an extremely impressive secondary could do wonders for Jordan’s and King’s NFL draft stock.
West Virginia at #15 Oklahoma St
West Virginia has an impressive wide receiver in T.J. Simmons who has very good hands and the speed and power to be effective after the catch. However, Simmons needs to improve in contested catch situations and on his ball tracking to elevate his draft stock past the Day 3 projection XTB Scout Derek Benson has him slated.
The Mountaineers’ defensive line features a pair of brothers, Darius and Dante Stills, who can wreak havoc for opposing offensive lines. Darius, the elder of the two, is an athletic nose tackle who is an impressive pass rusher but needs to improve his gap integrity and ability to take on double teams against the run.
XTB Scout Robert Simpson currently projects Darius as an early- to mid-second rounder in the NFL Draft.
Dante is more of a three-technique defensive tackle who coincidentally is also an impressive interior rusher. Stills needs to work on his gap discipline. As a junior, he might be a candidate to return to school at the end of the year since XTB Scout Sales Pinckney feels he is a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick.
On the second level, Arizona transfer Tony Fields II should bolster the West Virginia linebacking corps. Fields has the profile of a three-down linebacker at the next level, but he needs to add some size to his 225-pound frame. Fields is an early-to-mid Day 3 player according to XTB Scouting Director Cyril Penn.
Offensively, Oklahoma State is led by running back Chuba Hubbard, who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season. He has the speed to be a home run threat in the NFL but needs to show more as a pass protector to improve his case as the second running back of the board after Travis Etienne.
On the outside, there is contested-catch specialist Tylan Wallace. The wideout is currently slated as a late-second to early-third rounder and needs to improve as a separator if that’s going to change.
The Cowboys have never been known for their defense; however, safety Kolby Harvell-Peel looks to flip that script this season. Harvell-Peel projects as a third- to fifth-rounder according to Pinckney, who is an impressive run defender that can play as a box safety at the next level.
He’ll need to improve his change of direction skills to be able to cover NFL wide receivers, but he does match up well against tight ends.
Mississippi St at #6 LSU
At Washington State, Mike Leach developed several quarterbacks who would go on to play in the pros, and Stanford transfer K.J. Costello hopes to be the next one in line. Costello has the prototypical size and arm strength, but he has a tendency to lock onto his first read and struggles to make out of structure plays.
Because of this, XTB Scout Marcus Johnson has him slated as a late-round pick or priority free agent.
Helping Costello push the ball down the field is running back Kylin Hill. The Bulldog is an elusive runner with the potential to be a receiving threat at the next level, a requirement to play Leach’s system. XTB Scout Sháona Renczkowski currently has him projected as a fifth- to sixth-round pick.
Hill’s production this season will certainly rely on how well offensive tackle Greg Eiland plays, who Lettiero projects as a late-round pick. At 6’8” and 335 pounds, Eiland has NFL level size but might be better off sliding inside as he lacks the foot speed to hold down the edge against speed rushers in pass protection.
[Update: Tyler Shelvin announced on Thursday via Twitter that he is opting out of the 2020 season]
LSU lost several key contributors from last season’s team to the NFL Draft; however, they continue to reload and have a plethora of defensive prospects this year. Tyler Shelvin is a run-stuffing nose tackle who Pinckney feels has the potential to be a Day 1 selection.
Shelvin is a stout run defender but needs to improve as a pass rusher to solidify his status as a first-round pick.
On the second level, Jabril Cox hopes to become the third Tiger linebacker to be drafted in the first round in as many years. He has the coverage skills to make that happen but needs to become better at shedding blocks to erase any doubt.
Vincent is a bit of a hybrid player who can play as a free safety or as a nickel corner. He does need to work on his route recognition which is partially why XTB Scout Zach Apt has him slated as a Day 3 pick.
Stevens is also a versatile player who needs to improve on his instincts if he’s going to be anything more than a special teamer at the next level.
For more NFL Draft and College Football coverage, follow me on Twitter @MHolder95.
- A Bay Area native who has a dysfunctional relationship with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.
- Matt played college football and was a recruiting assistant at Division 3 Willamette University, where he received his BA and MBA.
- He has worked in the industry as a journalist, film analyst for PFF, and graduated from the Scouting Academy.