Every weekend college football showcases intriguing matchups between future professional players battling in one-on-one situations. The result of these matchups will have implications in the 2022 NFL Draft order. Although the draft is still months away, NFL teams have their sights on players to preemptively stack their boards and assign grades to players. All of these prospects are eligible for the draft and some even have the opportunity to be drafted early. These matchups will allow NFL front offices to see how they produce against the best competition. NFL scouts will have their eyes on these upcoming matchups in Week 5 to help answer questions throughout the draft process.
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral vs. Arkansas S Jalen Catalon
Saturday 12:00 PM
Ole Miss Quarterback Matt Corral is being talked about as a possible top-fifteen pick for a team looking to draft a franchise quarterback. Corral is a Redshirt Junior who has started 19 games for the Rebels over his college career. He stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 205 pounds with an athletic build for the position. Corral has shown he is an accurate quarterback in the quick passing and RPO system Ole Miss runs. He has produced a completion percentage of 69.6% this year with zero interceptions thrown so far. He is an effective runner in their offense when they use him on zone reads and QB designed runs on critical downs or in the red zone. Corral does not have an extra special arm as far as air distance goes, but he has shown very good velocity on his releases. He has the ability to throw balls on a rope to wide slants or bench routes outside the opposite hash. Corral has overall good mechanics when it comes to arm angles and release points on his throws. This weekend will feature a very good secondary player in Jalen Catalon who Corral will have to battle in a chess matchup to come away with the victory.
Arkansas has been a pleasant surprise in the top 25 ranking and has already tallied more wins than they had in 2020. Their improved defense has been spearheaded by safety Jalen Catalon who leads their secondary. Catalon is a 5-foot-10, 200-pound Redshirt Sophomore who has started 14 games in his college career. Catalon’s first year as a full-time starter came in 2020, when he had enough success to be named first team All-SEC. His excellent ball skills and instincts when covering the both the 2nd and 3rd level of the field are what make Catalon so special. He can read the quarterback’s eyes and anticipate windows that offenses will attack to close zone holes. Catalon has continued to produce with five pass break ups and two interceptions in five games this year. He will be looking to add Corral’s first pick of the season to his tally when facing the Ole Miss offense this week.
Iowa OL Tyler Linderbaum vs. Penn State DL P.J. Mustipher
Saturday 4:00 PM
Iowa has had a great streak of players being drafted — particularly good offensive linemen. And Tyler Linderbaum is regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in the country for good reason. Linderbaum is a 6-foot-3, 290 pounder who has started 21 games at center for the Hawkeyes. One of his best traits is his athleticism when blocking in space. He can engage and sustain blocks at the second level to free up big plays. Linderbaum has the strength to engage double teams and athleticism to pass on blocks to reach the 2nd level. He is an excellent athlete who has the hips and feet to make blocks all over the field. He has established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the country and is expected to be a top pick in the draft this year.
Penn State will look to be disruptive on the defensive line when facing Iowa in matchup of top 4 foes this weekend. Mustipher will be leading Penn State’s interior defensive line and will have to matchup with Linderbaum in the trenches. Mustipher is a 6-foot-4, 326-pound defensive tackle who has started 15 games for the Lions in his career. Mustipher’s best trait is his ability to quickly fit gaps and press against blocks to close run lanes. He is a long interior lineman who can win arm extension on blocks and hold his own to stalemate the line of scrimmage. Mustipher can struggle to keep his pad level low against double teams or down blocks if he stunts away from playside. He shows some pass rush ability on bullrushes, but is missing the foot motor to collapse a pocket. This weekend will be a big showcase on how Mustipher handles NFL talent when facing an athletic lineman like Linderbaum. Scouts will be watching this tape to determine how ready he is for the next level.
Alabama LB Christian Harris vs. Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller
Saturday 8:00 PM
Christian Harris will have the opportunity to face one of the best running backs in the SEC when going up against Texas A&M this Saturday. Harris is a 6-foot-2, 232-pound Junior who has started 30 games in his career for the Crimson Tide. Harris primarily plays as the Will linebacker in their odd front defense. He shows the patience that is necessary from a weak side player and is very disciplined in his assignment. He understands how to nest over his gap to read flow to then fill cutback lanes on the backside. Harris has also shown the ability to be rangy when he needs to be. He has the speed to make plays near the sideline and attack ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. He is stout at initial contact and shoots his hips through the man when wrapping up. Harris is an adequate coverage player who can reliably drop in zone coverage. This weekend he will be facing Isaiah Spiller, who will test Harris’ athleticism in space and pursuit angles when defending the run.
Texas A&M is going to have a tough battle when facing Alabama this weekend and Spiller will be leaned on heavily to be a playmaker for their offense. Spiller is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound Junior who has started 22 games for the Aggies. He had a great 2020 season when he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns to then be named first team All-SEC as a Sophomore. Spiller has continued this success by averaging 6.54 yards per carry and tallying over 100 yards from scrimmage in 4 of 5 games this season. His run style consists of a combination of power and elusiveness that allows him to press gaps and fight through contact to get north and south. He excels at keeping his acceleration through hesitation moves to make the first defender miss at the line of scrimmage. Spiller has also shown promise in the receiving game as well. He has good hands and runs decent routes to create separation from linebackers. Spiller has shown good power in all facets of the game, but struggles from a technique standpoint when pass protecting. He tends to cross his feet and throw a shoulder instead of squaring up blitzers. This weekend will be a good tell as to how Spiller produces when facing a tough front seven who will be relentless at the line of scrimmage.