NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Draft: 3 Key Matchups To Watch In Week 13

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy talks to teammates before taking a snap from center Drake Nugent against Indiana during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

There are only two weeks left in the college football regular season, and boy, we have an exciting slate of games. Headlined by Ohio State at Michigan, this week is loaded with some prime-time matchups, which means we’ll be blessed with some great battles between 2024 NFL Draft prospects.

Along with a key quarterback matchup, there are a few important wide receiver-cornerback matchups this week as we prepare for one of the best college football weekends of the season.

Key 2024 NFL Draft Matchups To Watch

J.J. McCarthy vs. Ohio State Defense

All eyes will be on the Michigan-Ohio State game this weekend — which also means all eyes will be on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy is in one of the roughest two-week stretches of his career (19/31, 201 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT in past two games combined), and it couldn’t come at a worse time for his draft projection.

For now, McCarthy can make many of those questions go away with a good performance against one of college football's best defenses.

It’s not certain McCarthy will declare for the draft, but the Michigan quarterback was right in the mix to be the third quarterback drafted prior to cooling off over his last two games.

While a poor two-game stretch will not drastically change the overall grade for a quarterback prospect, it can negatively affect it. But so can an impressive performance against a defense possessing the NFL talent that Ohio State’s defense does.

McCarthy should have some of his weapons back to take some of the weight off his shoulders. For Michigan and his 2024 NFL Draft evaluation, McCarthy needs to bounce back with a big-time performance this week.

WR Roman Wilson vs. CB Denzel Burke

What's a better way to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend than seeing two of the top four teams in the country battle it out in one of college football's biggest rivalries? One of the many matchups in this game is Michigan WR Roman Wilson against Ohio State CB Denzel Burke.

Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, is coming off a head injury he suffered last week against Maryland, but all signs point to him being ready for this game. Wilson has had a quality season for Michigan, leading the team in receiving (37 receptions, 612 yards, 10 touchdowns).

Burke has become lost in the shuffle a bit in a deep cornerback class, but his performance this year, paired with his traits, make him a prime candidate to be a top-50 selection. There will be plenty of positional battles to pay attention to in this game, but Wilson-Burke should be near the top of the list for everyone.

South Carolina WR Xavier Legette
South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) with the ball during an NCAA college football game between Tennessee and South Carolina in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

WR Xavier Legette vs CB Nate Wiggins

South Carolina WR Xavier Legette is among the many late Day 1 and early Day 2 prospects expected to declare for the draft. Legette is having an outstanding season for the Gamecocks but will face a tough matchup this week. Clemson CB Nate Wiggins will see his fair share of snaps lined up against the 6-foot-3, 227-pound receiver.

Wiggins, who is in a tight race for CB1, can make himself some big-time money if he can have another strong outing against one of the toughest wide receiver covers in the country, given Legette’s rare size and traits.

Legette and Wiggins are coming off one of their best games of the season. Legette hauled in six receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky last week. Wiggins is coming off a dominant UNC performance in which he hauled in an interception and forced a key fumble.

This will be a premier matchup of the week. NFL Draft evaluators and college football fans will all want to get their popcorn ready.