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Saturday NFL Draft watch notes


Here are this week's NFL Draft players to follow throughout the day. Find a full preview of Missouri/Georgia from Matthew Fairburn right here.

Oklahoma vs. Texas, noon (ET), ABC

Top prospect to watch: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma - The converted safety will be tested in this game by Texas' Mike Davis, an underrated physical receiver. The two caught themselves some praise this week from the always anonymous NFL scout (from Albert Breer of NFL Network):

"It's a big-time matchup; both guys should go in the top three rounds."

Colvin is somewhere on the fringe of the top 100 while Davis is overlooked on a troubled Texas team. NFL scouts will be keenly watching these two today.

Keep an eye on: Oklahoma's Tyrus Thompson is an emerging talent at left tackle. Previously known more for punching a TCU player, Thompson is proving his worth as a powerful blocker capable of driving linemen backward. Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat is desperately in need of a big game, but will have a hard time beating Thompson around the corner. Burnt Orange Nation has a nice write-up on Jeffcoat's inability to maintain gap integrity here.

More to watch: Quandre Diggs of Texas hasn't done a lot to stand out lately, but he's still a solid nickel corner option who can tackle. Carrington Byndom played his first game for the Longhorns last week and then this happened. Byndom is a senior and another Texas player who needs to string together good games. The same can be said for Oklahoma running back Damien Williams who had just 27 yards rushing on 11 carries last week.

Florida at LSU, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Top prospect to watch: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU - A few weeks ago, Johnson was listed as a stock down player here. But he's come on the past couple weeks and showing why he's considered a first-round talent. Johnson is a nice combination of power and quickness up front. He's even capable of dropping back into short coverage. He'll have a challenge in Florida's powerful right guard Jon Halapio.

Keep an eye on: Somewhat surprisingly, Trey Burton of Florida is turning into a solid H-back/tight end. Imagine that from a former Florida quarterback. How will Burton react when and if he gets hit hard by LSU safety Craig Loston? The safety is developing a big reputation as a big hit or big miss player. NFL teams will want to see Loston be a little more disciplined.

More to watch: Can LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger continue his hot season? Mettenberger has everyone's attention thanks to his size and arm as well as his improved decision making and ball placement. Look for Florida to pressure Mettenberger  with junior Ronald Powell (among others) to throw off his timing. It will be important for Tigers left tackle La'el Collins to keep Mettenberger clean. Florida has one of the nation's top cornerback groups with Marcus Roberson returning to play alongside Loucheiz Purifoy and star freshman Vernon Hargreaves. They'll matchup with LSU wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

Oregon at Washington, 4 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Top prospect to watch: Finally, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota should be faced with some type of challenge. Mariota torched Colorado last week, accounting for seven total touchdowns. Washington has a pair of rangy safeties in Sean Parker and Shaq Thompson (the latter not being draft eligible). Mariota hasn't thrown an interception this season, but he does have ball placement issues at times. Parker and Thompson have a chance to make him pay on deep passes.

Keep an eye on: With Ohio State's Bradley Roby struggling, the top cornerback in the draft could be wide open. This could be the week that Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu begins to emerge. He might have to line up against physical Huskies wide receiver Kasen Williams (a site favorite), but Ekpre-Olomu is a good athlete with instincts. Williams will give him trouble on bump and run coverage, but Ekpre-Olomu has the speed to catch up.

More to watch: It will be interesting to see how Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins reacts after a big drop against Stanford last week. Seferian-Jenkins is our top tight end, but his grasp on that spot isn't secure. Dropping passes doesn't help. Huskies junior Danny Shelton is coming along as a run-stuffing defensive tackle. If Washington is to have a chance in this game, they may have to grind it out with running back Bishop Sankey. While Sankey isn't the biggest back, or the fastest, he's a decisive runner who does all the little things correctly. Quarterback Keith Price will also have to continue his strong play to start the season. Price may not have the tools to be a franchise NFL quarterback, but he's still a draftable player.

More to watch:

Is Johnny Manziel under the radar? It sure seems like it. As an NFL prospect, Manziel hasn't hurt himself this season. He's showing a stronger arm and can fit the ball into tighter windows – especially when receiver Mike Evans is the option. But Manziel still likes to run around too much. That's something that won't fly at the next level. Against Ole Miss today, Manziel may not be able to freelance as much against a talented defense.

Don't look now, but Pittsburgh's Tom Savage may just be the next Troy Aikman. Wait, what? That's according to Gil Brandt, the legendary former Cowboys scout and current analyst. Now, I'm not one to call Mr. Brandt's opinions into question, but this one is a little strange. Savage showed solid tools at Rutgers before transferring (twice). Virginia Tech's defense will again be without Antone Exum, but it should challenge Brandt's claim.

Za'Darius Smith of Kentucky will get his greatest test of the season against Alabama. He should face off with Tide left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio most of the game. Some have said Smith is raw, and that's true. But that didn't stop Ziggy Ansah from rocketing into the first round in this year's draft.

Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson is starting to generate some buzz amongst the NFL Draft community. I'm not not yet full on board. A good game against Michigan State, with a good secondary featuring cornerback Darqueze Dennard, will boost him.

It's always fun to watch how top defensive players react to playing Georgia Tech and the traditional option offense. Kyle Van Noy of BYU will get to show his discipline and patience against the Yellow Jackets.

Lastly, Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play against Arkansas today. If you tune into this game, don't necessarily look for sacks and tackles for loss from Clowney. Instead, watch how he's double-teamed and how fast he still gets off the line. Clowney's inside swim move is Watt-esque.

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