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NFL Draft

3 NFL Draft-Eligible Players Who Must Play Better This Week

  • Justin Melo
  • September 7, 2023
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Several NFL draft-eligible talents put forth outstanding performances throughout Week 1 of the college football schedule. Standouts included USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu, and Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., among others. Unfortunately, not every draft-eligible talent we were looking forward to monitoring played their best football. We’ve identified three talents that need to bounce back in Week 2.


Everybody was expecting a bigger offensive performance by Ohio State in Week 1. The Buckeyes defeated Indiana 23-3 in a game that contained less fireworks than initially expected. The Buckeyes scored just two offensive touchdowns and went 2-of-12 on third-down attempts. Starting quarterback Kyle McCord was limited to 239 passing yards, zero touchdown passes, and one interception.

Ohio State especially struggled to get its run game going. TreVeyon Henderson rushed for just 47 yards via 12 carries for a lackluster output of 3.9 yards per carry. That’s an awfully disappointing showing against a Hoosiers defense that allowed 174.7 rushing yards per contest last season.

Professional running backs have never possessed less leverage. The 2024 NFL Draft class of ball carriers appears crowded, and the diminishing value of the position makes it difficult to earn top-40 selection status. Henderson must enjoy significantly more fruitful performances if the Hopewell, Virginia native hopes to crack the top 64.


One of the biggest upsets of opening weekend occurred when Duke dominated 9th-ranked Clemson 28-7. Some of Clemson’s draft-eligible talents such as Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Andrew Mukuba performed well despite the lopsided scoreline. The same can’t be said for linebacker Barrett Carter, who struggled throughout the contest. 

Carter acknowledged his shortcomings.

“I realized early in the game I need to get in better shape,” Carter said post-game. “I’ll definitely be ready for these next games.”

Yikes. Carter and the Tigers will attempt to bounce back in a cupcake matchup with Charleston Southern this week. Carter’s lackluster performance was noted by NFL scouts in attendance. It’ll be worth revisiting Carter’s tape in the coming weeks. A matchup with the surging Florida State Seminoles in Week 4 looms especially large.


Jeff Sims‘ debut with Nebraska didn’t meet expectations. Sims completed 11-of-19 passing attempts for 114 yards, one touchdown, and three costly interceptions as the Cornhuskers were defeated 13-10 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He added 91 rushing yards to his offensive totals but was generally ineffective. Sims was also sacked on three occasions by a Minnesota defense that conceded absolutely nothing to the debuting quarterback and his supporting cast.

Sims will attempt to bounce back against Colorado this weekend. That matchup isn’t as favorable as it once seemed after the Deion Sanders-led Buffaloes upset the 17th-ranked TCU in Week 1. College football phenom Travis Hunter, who plays both wide receiver and cornerback, will test Sims’ abilities in coverage. Colorado captured national headlines, and they’ll be looking to keep the momentum going against a Nebraska program that’s still licking its wounds.

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Justin Melo