The college football season has reached Week 5 and conference play is in full swing. That creates great scouting opportunities to evaluate NFL draft prospects because inter-conference games feature teams that are familiar with each other’s talent and style of play. With that said, let’s examine five NFL draft prospects that have key conference games on Saturday that can positively impact their draft stock.
Isaiah McGuire EDGE, Missouri
The rising crop of edge rushers once again looks to be brimming with talent and Isaiah McGuire is a super underrated prospect among them. McGuire is coming off a 2021 campaign where he collected 55 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and six sacks but still doesn’t get much recognition. So far in 2022, McGuire has recorded three sacks in four games to go with two forced fumbles.
Set to face off against Georgia on Saturday, McGuire will get opportunities to compete against a quality Bulldogs offensive line that features a stud in left tackle Broderick Jones who I believe can be the first offensive tackle selected in next year’s draft. While the outlook for Missouri to defeat Georgia on Saturday doesn’t look favorable, McGuire continuing to rack up splash plays while winning reps against Jones and the other outstanding players on the Georgia offensive line will be a big win for his draft stock.
Tyler Davis IDL, Clemson
Injuries have been an issue for Tyler Davis, but when he’s on the field, he’s impossible to miss. He was healthy for Clemson’s big win over Wake Forest last week and recorded six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. The next big test for Clemson is a date with North Carolina State on Saturday, a matchup between two top-10 teams.
After Clemson failed to reach the ACC Championship Game in 2021, the time is ripe for North Carolina State to win the ACC for the first time since 1979. In a critical conference matchup, Clemson will rely on Davis to continue his playmaking ways against what is generally a sound Wolfpack offensive line that features a balanced attack on offense.
Just as important as winning for Clemson on Saturday is Davis staying healthy for the remainder of the season and he has the opportunity to start stacking performances this weekend.
Quentin Johnston WR, TCU
With just eight catches for 73 yards and no touchdowns in three games so far in 2022, Quentin Johnston’s season is off to a slow start. Johnston was one of my favorite studies from the summer where his blend of size, catch radius, speed, fluidity, and ball skills shined on tape and I expected him to produce like a first-round talent this year and so far that hasn’t happened.
Could this be the week he gets on track? Facing a talented Oklahoma defense will provide the opportunity for Johnston to showcase himself well against top competition. The production for Johnston needs to start coming and Saturday is the perfect time for the start.
KJ Jefferson QB, Arkansas
Anytime a prospect faces Alabama it’s always a measuring-stick game. If I am evaluating a player and they have a game against the Crimson Tide, you can be assured that it will be among the contests I will study.
KJ Jefferson has the opportunity on Saturday to face Alabama and he fared well against them in 2021 when he completed 22-of-30 passes for 326 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Arkansas competed well against Alabama with the Crimson Tide outlasting the Razorbacks to a 42-35 win. A dual-threat quarterback with good size, another strong showing for Jefferson against Alabama will only help his draft stock. Should that happen, Jefferson’s name will always be mentioned along with “he played well against Alabama” when being discussed by analysts.
Kei’Trel Clark CB, Louisville
Kei’Trel Clark lacks size but he makes up for that with competitive toughness and playing above his weight class. An explosive athlete and fluid mover, Clark has excellent ball skills and man coverage ability.
On Saturday, he will be matched up frequently against Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers who has enjoyed a productive start to the season, logging 29 catches for 330 yards and three touchdowns. A speedy and shifty weapon that is dynamic with the ball in his hands, Flowers is exactly the type of receiver Clark will be drafted to neutralize at the next level. How he matches up with Flowers is important for Clark’s evaluation and projection to the next level.
- Dec 08, 2022
- Dec 08, 2022