College Football Week 10: Next-level prospects to watch

There are several next-level prospects and matchups to watch for in Week 10 of the college football season.

Though there are few games of national prominence today, several contests could affect conference standings. Regardless, there are several next-level NFL Draft prospect matchups to watch in Week 10 of the college football season, especially during the early contests.

College Football Week 10: Next level prospects to watch

The Panthers and fast-rising quarterback Kenny Pickett should have an easy time against a disappointing Duke squad in a game that kicks off at noon. Yet, the Duke defense has four next-level prospects in their back seven Pickett must keep an eye on.

All-purpose defender Shaka Heyward presently carries a fifth-round grade on my board and leads the Blue Devils in tackles, tackles for loss, as well as forced fumbles. Heyward is an athletic linebacker who covers a lot of area on the field and shows ability in coverage. Additionally, cornerback Leonard Johnson carries a fifth-round grade on my board. Meanwhile, Josh Blackwell and Jeremiah Lewis are listed as priority free agents. All three are talented corners who have combined for 4 interceptions and 9 PBUs this season.

This week, during the Between the Hashes podcast, we reviewed Auburn’s victory over Mississippi, highlighting the battle between pass rusher Colby Wooden and left tackle Nick Broeker.

Wooden and his Auburn teammates will be up against it again this weekend when they face Texas A&M. This time, Wooden will be battling the Aggie duo of left tackle Jahmir Johnson and guard Kenyon Green. Johnson has been moving up draft boards since transferring from Tennessee. He was so good, Green, who was initially penciled in as the team’s left tackle, moved into guard.

Several prospects expected to enter the 2022 NFL Draft

I previously reported on the podcast Wooden and Broeker are expected to enter the 2022 NFL Draft. In the past few days, I’ve been told Green will make the jump to the NFL after the season as well.

Opinions on North Carolina State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu are all over the place. Many outside of the scouting community grade him as a top-45 overall prospect at left tackle. However, most inside the scouting community have him as a Day 3 guard — right where I place him.

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Saturday’s contest against the resurgent Florida State Seminoles will go a long way in determining who is correct. Ekwonu will face Seminoles pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II in the midst of a breakout campaign. Johnson is having a sensational season posting 11 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, and 4 QB hits. The Georgia transfer also sits second on the FSU defense with 49 total tackles in eight games.

If Ekwonu can contain the speed and quickness of Johnson, scouts may rethink the opinion he’s incapable of handling the left tackle spot on Sunday.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @TonyPauline.

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