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 8 to help answer questions throughout the draft process.
Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton vs. USC WR Drake London
This game will feature two players who have longer builds for their positions that will match up downfield in a competition of speed and range. Kyle Hamilton will be on the defensive side for Notre Dame in this matchup. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior is not just one of the best secondary prospects, but one of the best prospects period in the 2022 draft. Hamilton has a rare combination of size, range and ball skills that will make him a disruptive defensive chess piece at the next level. He has the speed and instincts to read quarterbacks then break on the ball from the hash mark to make plays near the sideline. Hamilton can line up almost anywhere on the field and find success. This season he has seen snaps as a deep safety, in the box as a buzz defender and as a slot corner. Hamilton is a versatile piece for the Notre Dame defense who will have a shared responsibility of shutting down a top receiver from the USC offense this weekend.
Drake London will be looking to prove he is a top receiver in this year’s draft when facing Notre Dame’s defense this weekend. London is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior who has been a key piece in the Trojans offense during his career. He is a very tall, athletic receiver who can win with physicality at the top of routes as well as quickness in the short passing game. He is athletic with the ball in his hands and his run after catch ability is very good with the vision to find cut back lanes and the athleticism to make moves in space. London displays a big catch radius with the ability to make receptions outside of his frame. This weekend will be a tough matchup when going up against Hamilton in the 2nd and 3rd levels of the field. This matchup will show how each player performs against a foe with their sort of athleticism and height combination.
Ole Miss Edge Sam Williams vs. LSU OT Austin Deculus
Saturday 3:30 PM
Numerous matchups with NFL talent will be taking place when Ole Miss takes on LSU this weekend. Sam Williams will be a top defensive piece for the Rebels in draft discussions this offseason. Williams is a 6-foot-4 265 pound redshirt senior who had a slight position change from a 3-4 OLB role in previous seasons to a defensive end spot in 2021. This position change has helped Williams play more naturally and use his strengths in a different way than before. His speed and quickness have translated well to the defensive line. Williams has shown good strong hand usage on the edge with the ability to engage and disengage blocks quickly at the LOS. He is a good chase player with the athleticism to pursue backside and aggressively stick his nose in gaps to make tackles. Williams shows good quickness and the strength to be an edge defender in the NFL, but he will need to prove he is flexible enough to finish rushes on the edge. He can sometimes struggle to cut corners and finish pass rush reps when aligned as a 5-tech. This weekend will be a good matchup of NFL talent when he takes on the LSU offensive line.
Austin Deculus will be on the offensive side of the ball in this matchup. Deculus is a 6-foot-7, 325-pound grad student who has started 41 games for the Tigers. He is an experienced linemen who is part of the team’s leadership council. Deculus is an explosive run blocker with the power to engage inline blocks with force. He manages to sustain blocks well with the ability to take chest and clamp tightly to maintain his assignment. Deculus has shown to be a reliable pass blocker as well. He has the experience to delay his hand strikes and counter pass rush moves with his own hand fighting. He has the feet to set an edge while keeping the inside protected. Deculus shows slightly above average athletic ability and flexibility, but uses his experience and savvy technique to get the most out of his physical tools. This matchup will feature two veteran college players who will battle it out on the edge this weekend.
Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson vs. Indiana CB Jaylin Williams
Saturday 7:30 PM
Ohio State may have the best receiving tandem in the country with receiver Garrett Wilson being in that duo. Wilson is a 6-foot, 192-pound junior who was a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2020. Wilson is a speedy receiver who has the change of direction skills to create big plays and separate at any level of the field. He shows very good acceleration to get to his top speed when breaking on his vertical routes. Wilson has the ability to suddenly burst off his release and stop, or change direction to be effective in the passing game. He shows solid run after catch ability with the ball in his hands and can break tackles with shifty footwork. Wilson has the talent to be one of the top receivers selected in the 2022 draft. Every weekend is a tough matchup for corners when facing this Ohio State receiving core.
Jaylin Williams will be on the defensive side of the ball during this weekend’s matchup between two of the best at their position in the Big Ten. Williams is a 6-foot, 182-pound senior who was a second team All-Big Ten cornerback selection in 2020. Williams has started 18 games in his career for the Hoosiers and primarily plays as an outside corner, though he has seen occasional snaps in the slot. He shows solid athletic ability and hip fluidity to maintain man coverage. Williams has above average ball skills with the ability to flip back to the ball at the catch point to make a play. This weekend will be critical in the evaluation of Williams’ draft stock. Scouts will be eyeing this game to see if he has the speed and change of direction to make impact plays against NFL talent.