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 7 to help answer questions throughout the draft process.
San Jose State DL Cade Hall vs. San Diego State OT Zachary Thomas
Friday 10:30 PM
This Friday will feature a good matchup between two Group of Five NFL draft prospects. Cade Hall has received national attention after being named an All-American and the Mountain-West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. Hall is a 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior who has been a three year starter. He is an explosive athlete who has violent hands on the edge. He provides versatility in his alignment and defensive scheme. He has the ability to play anywhere from a 2i to a wide 5 technique while being effective. Hall is seeing a lot of attention from offensive lines this year after his 12.0 TFL’s and 10.0 sack season in 2020. His production has been down this year in comparison to last season but he has displayed top talent for the position. Look for him to be a disruptive force when facing Zachary Thomas and the rest of the San Diego State offense.
San Diego State will have Zackary Thomas hunkering down the left side of the line as their starting tackle this weekend. Thomas is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound redshirt-senior who has started the last seventeen consecutive games for the Aztecs. He originally started his career at guard to then bounce to right tackle and then stick on the left side later in his career. Thomas is an athletic tackle who is a very good zone blocker. He is quick enough to pursue downline and wash defensive linemen out of gaps. Thomas shows good foot speed on his pass sets as well. He is missing some stoutness to his anchor but has the ability to counter with athleticism and explosiveness. The matchup between Thomas and Hall will be one NFL scouts are focused on to see how they both do against top-tier talent in their conference.
Oklahoma Edge Nik Bonitto vs. TCU OT Obinna Eze
Saturday 7:30 PM
Oklahoma will be looking to stay undefeated as they take on TCU in a Big-12 matchup this weekend. Nik Bonnito will be leading the Sooners defense against a high scoring TCU offense that has scored 27 or more in all of their games this year. Bonitto is a 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt-junior who has started 24 games in his career. He is an extremely athletic edge defender who can be useful in all facets of the game. He has the agility and athleticism to drop into zone coverage. He is an extremely effective pass rusher who can use speed and power to set the edge and cut his rush angle to the quarterback. He displays very violent hands and demeanor during block destruction too. Bonitto is a player scouts will have their eye on this year as a top edge defender this upcoming draft.
Obinna Eze will be the offensive side of this matchup going against Bonitto this weekend. Eze is a 6-foot-8, 334-pound redshirt-senior who transferred from Memphis after starting thirty-one games for the Grizzlies. Eze is an extremely long tackle who is very good with his hand placement and quick with his strike on pass sets. He is at his best in the run game when zone blocking. This allows him to use a strong first step and engage defenders with momentum. A weakness of his is his foot quickness when setting vertical or quick in pass protection. Eze is so large that he is missing some athleticism in his feet to be considered an athletic tackle. He makes up for it with strong hand placement that devours the chest of defenders and locks them up long enough to maintain his block. This weekend’s matchup with Bonitto will test the athleticism of Eze and how he will handle NFL talent in the future.
Indiana Edge Ryder Anderson vs. Michigan State OT A.J. Arcuri
Saturday 12:00 PM
This Big Ten matchup will feature Ryder Anderson on the defensive side of the ball for Indiana. Anderson is a 6-foot-6, 266-pound redshirt-senior who originally started his career at Ole Miss but then transferred after the 2020 season. He started fifteen games during his time at Ole Miss and has started all five for Indiana this year. Anderson is an athletic edge defender who plays primarily at defensive end in Indiana’s multiple defense. He lines up anywhere from a wide-9 to a 3-technique in his alignment. He displays a fast trigger when getting off the line of scrimmage and good arm extension when engaging blocks. He is quick enough to cross-face reach blocks from linemen to flow with zone scheme reads. Anderson showed relentless pursuit when lining up on the weak side of the formation. His speed allows him to track down ball carriers from the back side and make plays when being the chase player. Anderson will have to show more flexibility and bend around the edge on his pass rush attempts to build up his draft stock in the next coming weeks. This weekend will be a good opportunity for him when facing Michigan State’s tackles.
A.J. Arcuri is responsible for solidifying the right tackle position for Michigan State this weekend. Arcuri is a 6-foot-7, 320-pound grad-student who has started twelve games at left tackle and six games on the right side for the Spartans. He is a lengthy lineman who has moderate foot quickness and agility for the position. He is at his best when kick stepping at a 45 degree angle to take away the edge to then power step inside and wash defenders down the line. He is good at blocking in space in the run game. He has the ability to initially chip defenders and work to the second level to make play-extending blocks. Arcuri is a knee bender who can engage with leverage when blocking in space. He is missing some power and pad level initially to be a dominating in-line blocker. He can struggle gaining ground when facing head-up defensive linemen in the run game. NFL scouts will be watching the matchup between Anderson and Arcuri to see how each player handles length and hand fighting on the edge.