Week 13 NFL Draft Prospect Battles To Watch: Cameron Ward Duels Michael Penix Jr.

Cameron Ward, Michael Penix Jr., O'Cyrus Torrence, and Jordan Addison are just a few high-profile prospects in this week's 2023 NFL Draft prospect battles.

As we enter Week 13 of the college football season, let’s take a look at the latest batch of 2023 NFL Draft prospect battles to hit the big screen.

Week 13 NFL Draft Prospect Battles To Watch

Washington State QB Cameron Ward vs. Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

The general feeling seems to be that Cameron Ward will return to school, but a strong impression in a duel against Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. could change that.

It’ll be difficult for Ward and the Cougars to keep up with the Huskies’ firepower. But Ward does have the off-script talent and arm elasticity to make this a game if he’s at his best. He’s been a potential wild card in the 2023 NFL Draft QB class for a while.

South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler vs. Clemson DEF Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee, Trenton Simpson

Coming into November, Spencer Rattler had five touchdowns and nine interceptions. Last week against top-10 ranked Tennessee, he completed 30 of 37 passes for 438 yards and six scores.

This eruption has Rattler back on the radar as a potential 2023 NFL Draft prospect, but compounding momentum against a talented Clemson pressure unit is the best way for Rattler to drive the point home.

Ohio State C Luke Wypler vs. Michigan DT Mazi Smith

There are dozens of prospects to watch in the essential Big Ten East title game this weekend, but the best ones rest in the trenches.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Mazi Smith will draw the eyes on the defensive side for Michigan. At 6’3″ and over 330 pounds, he’s a massive interior defender with surprising pass-rushing juice. He hasn’t been quite as consistent holding the line as one would expect this year, however, and that’s something a sound, athletic center like Luke Wypler could exploit.

Michigan OT Ryan Hayes vs. Ohio State EDGE Zach Harrison

Zach Harrison hasn’t always been consistent in his Ohio State career, but his two-sack, 2.5-tackle-for-loss showing against Maryland last week was undoubtedly one of the highlights. Harrison has elite explosiveness and length, and showed against the Terrapins that he could combine hand usage and flexibility into the equation as well.

Against a Michigan team that may have to pass to keep up, Harrison will be a handful for Ryan Hayes — an athletic, heavy-handed lineman whose tall play style could come back to bite him.

Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz vs. Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton

After losing to Iowa, the Golden Gophers are on the outside looking in for the Big Ten West. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth watching in Week 13. There’s a stellar prospect battle slated on the interior in this game: John Michael Schmitz against Keeanu Benton.

Schmitz is arguably the top center in the 2023 NFL Draft, with athleticism, strength, power, leverage, and an aggressive style. Benton, however, has just as enticing of a physical profile and brings violence in both phases of the game.

Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence vs. Florida State DT Fabien Lovett

The battle for Florida should be a legitimate contest this year, with a talented Gators team and an upstart Seminoles squad squaring up in late November. There’s a particularly intriguing prospect matchup on tap in the trenches, with O’Cyrus Torrence facing Fabien Lovett.

Lovett — a Senior Bowl commit — was injured for much of the year, but he’s healthy now and making an impact on the interior with his strength and flexibility. Torrence, who sports high-end power at 6’6″, 330 pounds, is his biggest test yet.

USC WR Jordan Addison vs. Notre Dame DBs Brandon Joseph (+), Benjamin Morrison

Brandon Joseph isn’t a lock to go this week, but if he’s healthy, he’ll have a chance to remind teams of his natural ability in coverage against a high-octane USC receiving group led by Jordan Addison.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

Joseph has the range, diagnosis, and playmaking ability to serve as a safety net when Addison breaks free. But the hope is that freshman phenom Benjamin Morrison — who has five interceptions and is an early 2025 NFL Draft favorite — can win his fair share of reps.

Michigan State WR Jayden Reed vs. Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

Jayden Reed has been up and down this year, but he’s started to find more consistency as of late. He’s up to 49 catches for 600 yards and five touchdowns on the year, and can solidify his stock with a strong season-ending showdown against potential first-round pick Joey Porter Jr.

Reed will be relied upon as Michigan State seeks an upset that would make them bowl-eligible. He has smooth separation ability and instincts, but he’ll have to fight past the physicality and length Porter will send his way.

BYU WR Puka Nacua vs. Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly

This game introduces two intriguing Senior Bowl talents in Puka Nacua and Kyu Blu Kelly — both of whom sometimes fall under the radar at their respective positions. Each player has ideal size and length, as well as playmaking ability at the catch point.

Nacua, in particular, has impressed this year with his ability to control his body and convert with play strength in tight situations. Kelly has the necessary twitch and physicality to match him, but coordination will be a point of emphasis.

Alabama G Javion Cohen vs. Auburn DL Colby Wooden

The Iron Bowl likely won’t be competitive between Alabama and Auburn. Nevertheless, the talent on the field is worth watching. Particularly between the Crimson Tide’s offense and the Tigers’ defense, there are plenty of matchups to know.

Derick Hall faces off against Tyler Steen, and next to Steen, Javion Cohen will take on Colby Wooden. Cohen’s raw power has occasionally been overwhelming this year. Wooden is a bit lighter, so he’ll need to take that on — but with his agility and strong hands, he could pose a threat.

Other NFL Draft Prospects To Watch in Week 13

  • SMU WR Rashee Rice vs. Memphis S Quindell Johnson
  • Purdue WR Charlie Jones vs. Indiana CBs Jaylin Williams, Tiawan Mullen
  • Illinois OL Julian Pearl, Isaiah Adams vs. Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore
  • Houston OT Patrick Paul vs. Tulsa DL Anthony Goodlow
  • Tennessee WRs Cedric Tillman, Jalin Hyatt vs. Vanderbilt CB Jeremy Lucien
  • Oregon State WR Tre’Shaun Harrison vs. Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
  • Kentucky WR Tayvion Robinson vs. Louisville CB Kei’Trel Clark
  • USC G Andrew Vorhees vs. Notre Dame DL Rylie Mills, Jayson Ademilola
  • Texas State OL Kyle Hergel vs. Louisiana DL Zi’Yon Hill
  • Auburn RB Tank Bigsby vs. Alabama DEF Byron Young, Henry To’oTo’o, Brian Branch

Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!