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NFL Draft

3 CFB Players To Watch Week 1

  • The Draft Network
  • September 4, 2021
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What a perfect appetizer Thursday night was. We saw teams such as Ohio State, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona State, and Coastal Carolina all take the field for their first official games of the season.

Saturday night’s slate promises to be even better with some juicy matchups that include Penn State vs. Wisconsin, Iowa vs. Indiana, Alabama vs. Miami, Clemson vs. Georgia (!), and LSU vs. UCLA. In addition to these contests, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Cincinnati will also be in action. Buckle up, folks. 

As always, The Draft Network will have our eyes on just about everybody playing, but here are three prospects that I’ll personally be paying close attention to on Saturday.

TYRIQUE STEVENSON, CB, MIAMI

Few NFL-draft eligible cornerbacks will face a stiffer test than Stevenson will on Saturday afternoon when Miami takes on Alabama. Yes, the Crimson Tide lost a lot of talent in the 2021 NFL Draft, but there’s a reason they enter the 2021 season as the team-to-beat once again. Stevenson will be playing in his first game for the Hurricanes after spending the previous two seasons at Georgia. Consider the opponent, and Stevenson has an excellent opportunity to make a good first impression.

Stevenson is listed at 6-foot and 214 pounds. He has excellent size for the position and is a smooth operator. He transferred to Miami from Georgia because he wanted to play more reps at outside corner, a spot that his frame and physicality are built for.

We’ll learn a lot about Stevenson on Saturday night. He’ll get a solid test against the likes of John Metchie III and Co.

MIKE JONES JR., LB, LSU

All eyes will be on Derek Stingley Jr., but there are plenty of other players to watch on this LSU defense as they prepare to turn the page on what was a forgettable 2020 campaign. Jones is a linebacker that will play for the Tigers in 2021 after transferring away from Clemson in the offseason.

Jones has a ton of remaining eligibility left, but the intrigue will be high when he makes his official debut in Purple and Gold on Saturday. Jones is today’s linebacker on film. He possesses excellent closing speed, can play sideline-to-sideline, and is an asset in coverage. He has all the tools to be an impactful defender in 2021. Jones could be the missing piece for an LSU defense that has to be better than it was a year ago.

MYJAI SANDERS, EDGE, CINCINNATI

It was a bit of a surprise to see Sanders return to Cincinnati for his senior season. A semifinalist for the 2020 Bednarik Award, Sanders totaled a career-high seven sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss last season. He’ll now look to build on that campaign under the watchful eye of new defensive coordinator Mike Tressel.

The Bearcats had two defenders (Darrick Forrest and James Wiggins) drafted in 2021 and should have several more in 2022, and Sanders could be the lead man for what’s sure to be an impressive unit.

Sanders is back for one final season of college football and will attempt to solidify himself as a first-round pick, something he failed to do a year ago. It’s imperative that he gets off on the right foot in what should be a relatively easy matchup against the Miami (OH) Redhawks on Saturday night.

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