Scout's Eye: Top NFL Prospects to Watch in Week 3
LSU (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)
Saturday, 3:30pm EST (CBS), Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, AL)
When two SEC teams ranked inside the top 12 face each other, you know the national media, along with NFL scouts, are going to be paying attention. The two powerhouse programs of LSU (40) and Auburn (28) combine for a grand total of 68 players currently on NFL rosters. Not only will this matchup carry huge ramifications for the College Football Playoff, but it will provide a key opportunity for the next crop of prospects to impress talent evaluators. Surprisingly, Auburn is nearly a double-digit favorite in what could be the most competitive game of this young season.
Five draft-eligible prospects to focus on:
ILB Devin White, LSU, JR. (6-0, 240, 4.64, #40): The speedy linebacker flies around the field, hovering sideline-to-sideline and possesses natural football instincts, which helps him to quickly shoot the gaps and swarm to the ball. White, who accumulated 133 tackles last season, is already off to a fast start, collecting 19 tackles through the first two weeks. While naysayers will be quick to point out his lack of height, observers should be able to recognize that this Tigers' heart outweighs his size. He appears destined for the first round whenever he decides to head to the next level.
DT Dontavius Russell, Auburn, rSR. (6-2, 320, 5.15, #95): The unsung hero on the Auburn defensive line, this will be Russell's 40th career start, as he brings plenty of big-game experience against NFL-caliber opponents. The athletic big man bulked up an additional 10 pounds during the offseason, which makes him a massive space eater in the middle of the defensive line. Commanding double-team attention allows Russell to take out the papers and the trash, so his teammates can earn that spending cash.
OT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn, rJR. (6-6, 301, 4.78, #76): Born in Nigeria, the 6-6, 300-pound Wanogho had no idea what the game of football was growing up. As folklore goes, he was timed in the 40-yard dash on his first day in America and ran a 4.61. He began on defense before making the switch to offensive line in 2016 and has made great strides in his development, while demonstrating a keen awareness and ability to be a fast learner. It's clear that his fundamentals remain a work in progress but his rare size, strength and athleticism present a huge upside, similar to that of Jordan Mailata of the Eagles.
OG Garrett Brumfield, LSU, rSR. (6-2, 299, 5.14, #78): Known by his teammates simply as "Bruiser," the Baton Rouge native has emerged as one of LSU's key leaders with his iron-man play (had a stretch of eight consecutive games without missing a rep in 2017) and menacing demeanor. Brumfield is a technician who takes pride in his film study and is also one of the strongest players on the team, according to his coaches. While he didn't earn a full-time starting job until his junior year, he did manage to receive 1,000 game snaps through his first three seasons. If Brumfield continues his impressive play, look for him to ascend draft boards as a possible day two pick.
FB Chandler Cox, Auburn, SR. (6-0, 239, 4.82, #27): It's easy to root for the versatile Cox, who has multiple uses in the Auburn offense, primarily as a blocker but also as a runner and pass catcher. While it has yet to be unveiled this season, Cox was also seen taking direct snaps in training camp during the Tigers' installation of the Wildcat package, yet another way he can hurt a defense. Cox shows up every day with his hard hat and he hasn't held back his excitement to face LSU, saying that the game is going to be a "bloodbath." Look for Cox to connect on his fair share of body blows in this contest, as he seems to do every week.
Other LSU prospects to watch:
CB Andraez Williams, LSU, SO. (6-1, 182, 4.50, #29)
LS Blake Ferguson, rJR. (6-3, 235 , n/a, #50)
P Josh Growden, rJR. (6-1, 204, n/a, #38)
SS John Battle, rSR. (6-1, 195, n/a, #26)
QB Joe Burrow, rJR. (6-2 , 215, n/a, #10)
WR Jonathan Giles, rJR. (5-11, 193, 4.50, #89)
Other Auburn prospects to watch:
QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn, JR. (6-2, 214, 4.68, #8)
WR Darius Slayton, Auburn, JR. (6-1, 190, 4.42, #81)
OT Prince Tega Wanogho, JR. (6-6, 301, 4.78, #75)
DT Dontavius Russell, SR. (6-2, 310, 5.20, #95)
FB Chandler Cox, SR. (6-0, 239, 4.82, #27)
DT Andrew Williams, SR. (6-3, 286, 4.96, #79)
Alabama (2-0) at Mississippi (2-0)
Saturday, 7:00pm, ET (ESPN), Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (University, MS)
Three draft-eligible prospects to focus on:
WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi, JR. (6-1, 225, 4.50, #1): Not many players have had a faster start than Brown, who has 251 receiving yards and three touchdowns through two games. While his speed is adequate, the Rebels' playmaker is highly competitive, as he excels at utilizing his frame and physicality to badger smaller cornerbacks to get open or when generating yards after the catch. His style of play will remind you of Keenan Allen and Anquan Boldin, which is why he has deservedly drawn first-round grades.
WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi, rSO. (6-3, 225, n/a, #14): Another potential first-round pick, Metcalf has just one season as a starter under his belt, but his raw talent is obvious. He also boasts rich NFL bloodlines with his grandfather (Terry), father (Terrence) and uncle (Eric) all enjoying long careers at the next level. Soon enough, D.K. (short for DeKaylin) will do the same.
OT Jonah Williams, JR. (6-5, 301, 5.02, #73): Like his predecessor Cam Robinson (now the Jaguars' starting left tackle), Williams possesses the blend of length, strength and light feet to remain a blindside protector in the NFL. While not quite as large as Robinson, Williams is a smoother athlete and does not come with the off-field concerns that pushed Robinson just outside the first round two years ago.
Other Alabama prospects to watch:
DE Raekwon Davis, JR. (6-6, 303, 5.07, #99)
ILB Mack Wilson, JR. (6-1, 231, 4.73, #30)
OLB Anfernee Jennings, JR. (6-2, 265, 4.79, #33)
DE Isaiah Buggs, SR. (6-4, 292, 4.94, #49)
RB Damien Harris, SR. (5-10, 216, 4.55, #34)
OLB Christian Miller, SR, (6-3,240,4.76,#47)
Other Mississippi prospects to watch:
OT Greg Little, JR. (6-5, 325, 5.23, #74)
SS Zedrick Woods, SR. (5-11, 201, 4.58, #36)
Ohio State (2-0) at TCU (2-0)
Saturday, 8:00pm, ET (ABC), AT&T Stadium (Arlington, TX)
Three draft-eligible prospects to focus on:
OT Isaiah Prince, Ohio State, SR. (6-6, 310, 5.16, #59): Highly recruited out of high school, Prince chose Ohio State over Alabama and his hometown Maryland, so the talent was always there, it just took some time for the light bulb to turn on. After struggling as a sophomore, Prince made tremendous strides as a junior and looks to be even more technically sound as a senior, especially in the footwork department. A three-year starter at right tackle, he will probably remain in that position when he transitions to the NFL.
WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State, rSR. (6-0, 208, 4.39, #21): Coming off of a breakout junior campaign in which he was named a team captain, Campbell is not yet as accomplished a route-runner or even pass-catcher as some of the other top receivers eligible for this year's draft, but his elusiveness, straight-line speed and experience as a returner could still catapult him into one of the top 50 overall selections.
WR Kavontae Turpin, Texas Christian, SR. (5-08, 155, 4.32, #25): A true weapon, Turpin is certainly one to watch, as he is coming off a big week against SMU in which he scored on a 78-yard punt return, had a 42-yard touchdown catch and prevented a potential pick-six with a clutch tackle.
Other Ohio State prospects to watch:
DE Nick Bosa, JR. (6-3, 270, 4.76, #97)
WR Binjimen Victor, JR. (6-3, 195, 4.53, #9)
OG Michael Jordan, JR. (6-6, 310, 5.24, #73)
WR Johnnie Dixon, SR. (5-11, 195, 4.54, #5)
OLB Dante Booker, SR. (6-2, 240, 4.68, #33)
SS Jordan Fuller, JR. (6-1, 207, 4.59, #4)
Other TCU prospects to watch:
ILB Ty Summers, rSR. (6-2, 242, 4.81, #42)
DE Ben Banogu, rSR. (6-3, 245, 4.79, #15)
RB Darius Anderson, JR. (5-11, 205, 4.55, #6)
Florida State (1-1) at Syracuse (2-0)
Saturday, 12:00pm, ET (ESPN), Carrier Dome (Syracuse, NY)
Three draft-eligible prospects to focus on:
DT Demarcus Christmas, Florida State, rSR. (6-3, 308, 5.18, #90): An absolute stud against the run, Christmas is stout at the point of attack and does a nice job of getting off blocks to make the play. He also shows the ability to get into the backfield with 4.5 tackles for loss a season ago. He possesses the skill-set to play on the interior of any defensive scheme at the next level, which makes him a potential Day 2 selection.
C Alec Eberle, Florida State, rSR. (6-3, 294, 5.21, #54): A team leader, Eberle is the equivalent of having a coach on the field due to his knowledge and experience. He has started 34 consecutive games, despite suffering labral tears in each of his hips, which has sidelined him for the past two off-seasons. He's constantly calling out pre-snap reads and making sure his fellow linemen are aligned properly.
QB Eric Dungey, SR. (6-3, 222, 4.67, #2): An injury-marred history has mostly defined the roller-coaster career of Dungey, who played with a broken foot last year against FSU. A four-year starter, he has yet to make it through an entire season, but when healthy Dungey shows great command and an NFL-caliber arm, to go along with prototypical size. The dual-threat quarterback has also racked up 244 rushing yards through his first two games this season and nearly 1,500 for his career. He absorbs so many hits, which is a main reason for his re-occurring injuries.
Other Florida State prospects to watch:
WR Nyqwan Murray, SR. (5-11, 176, 4.50, #8)
DE Brian Burns, JR. (6-4, 220, 4.64, # 99)
RB Jacques Patrick, SR. (6-5, 323, 5.28, #9)
OT Derrick Kelly II, SR. (6-5, 323, 5.28, #99)
PK Ricky Aguayo, JR. (6-1, 196, #99)
Other Syracuse prospects to watch:
OT Koda Martin, rSR. (6-5, 310, 5.00, #75)
DT Chris Slayton, rSR. (6-3, 315, 5.15, #95)
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