The Houston Texans don’t play until Sunday, but between now and then there are several key college football matchups to keep an eye on with potential NFL Draft implications to come. Here’s a look at four key matchups in Saturday’s games:
Texas A&M vs. Miami
OG Layden Robinson vs. DL Akheem Mesidor
- Dane Bruglers preseason top interior lineman prospect and former Kenyon Green teammate Layden Robinson hopes to continue turning heads this weekend. On the slate for this week is the canes most talented interior defender in Mesidor. Recently getting a clean bill of health after getting nicked up earlier at the start of the season Mesidor is fresh and will be looking to make his presence felt. Keep an eye out for how much or how little ground Robinson gives up this game because similar to Kenyon Green power and strength are some of his biggest calling cards to win reps. While not the flashiest opponent, if Robinson can help keep the pocket clean and continue paving the way for tailback Devon Achane to run then we may have a clear run away candidate for the top guard in this upcoming draft.
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
OT Anton Harrison vs. DE Ochaun Mathis
- Anton Harrison entered this season propelled by big hype from avid draft analysts mesmerized by his pro-tier physical tools. This season is all about slowing the game down and truly taking the next step to take advantage of those tools for Harrison. Testing him this week will be TCU transfer Ochaun Mathis who, much like Harrison has very appealing athletic traits but is simply lacking nuance and refinement. The explosiveness is evident to see but Mathis is far from unblockable. If Harrison can continue his growth and figure out how to shut down Mathis’ rushes consistently it will be a great feather in his cap to prove he can reach a high ceiling.
Georgia vs. South Carolina
C Sedrick Van Pran vs. DT Zach Pickens
- Last week Pickens struggled dealing with Arkansas’ top flight center in Ricky Stromberg. However this week’s matchup will be another tall task as he will be lined up across from one of the better young centers in the nation Sedrick Van Pran. While Stromberg was more of a bulldozer who hangs his hat on power, Van Pran is more of a compact agile athlete who can hold an anchor however not to the same degree as others. This should be a slightly better matchup for Pickens stylistically at least in a week where the Gamecock could really use a big game to elevate his stock. Pickens has failed to meet some fairly lofty preseason expectations this year, and back to back poor showings against NFL caliber centers would make it hard to keep him in the discussion for the top interior defensive lineman.
Syracuse vs. Purdue
CB Garrett Williams vs WR Charlie Jones
- Probably the matchup I’m most excited for this week is almost everyone’s preseason darling Garrett Williams attempting to guard Boilermaker Charlie Jones who is having a fantastic year. A disgruntled transfer from an Iowa team that wasn’t throwing a lot of balls his way, Jones has already eclipsed his previous seasons receiving totals in just 2(two!!!) games. After putting up some solid reps against another highly regarded corner prospect Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State, Jones is hoping to continue his solid campaign against fluid athlete Garrett Williams. Shutting down Jones’ hype could greatly benefit the Syracuse defensive back who at times has been caught playing complacently against lower competition. A focused, in command Williams showing up on Saturday will go a long way in keeping Williams name closer to the top of cornerback discussions