Tulane vs. SMU Preview: Draft Prospects To Watch Include Michael Pratt, Patrick Jenkins, and Jarius Monroe

There are a number of under-the-radar 2024 NFL Draft prospects set to play one another in the AAC championship clash between Tulane and SMU. Who tops the list?

What 2024 NFL Draft prospects will be on the field for the American Athletic Conference championship showdown between the Tulane Green Wave and the SMU Mustangs? Let’s take a closer look.

AAC Championship Prospect Preview

The 17th-ranked Green Wave and the 25th-ranked Mustangs will face off against one another in the American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, Dec. 2. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Tulane is 11-1 heading into this contest, while SMU is 10-2. The Mustangs suffered a blow late in the season when Preston Stone was lost to a leg injury, but hopes are high that Kevin Jennings can keep the offense humming in his stead.

Tulane Green Wave 2024 NFL Draft Prospects

Michael Pratt, QB

Unequivocally, the top 2024 NFL Draft prospect in the AAC Championship is Tulane QB Michael Pratt. Not only is Pratt a draftable signal-caller, but he’s also a Senior Bowl invitee and a safe bet to go in a similar draft range to Aidan O’Connell and Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

MORE: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Pratt lacks elite athleticism and arm talent, but he makes up for that with his competitive toughness, stellar accuracy, pocket management ability, and NFL-level anticipation and field vision. He can be a top-of-the-line backup and spot-starter at the professional level.

Patrick Jenkins, DT

Arguably the top defensive performer for Tulane this year has been former TCU transfer Patrick Jenkins. Jenkins has long had the necessary athleticism and power, but this year, he’s channeled it to become a ruthless disruptor, with 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

At 6’2″, 305 pounds, Jenkins is dense and well-leveraged, and yet, he sports a low-cut frame with imposing length and power capacity. Going further, he weaponizes that power with tenacious, unyielding energy and has the one-step burst to build momentum into contact.

Jarius Monroe, CB

Jarius Monroe is one of my personal favorite sleepers in the 2024 NFL Draft CB class, and he caught my eye multiple times this year. In a productive 2023 season, he logged 3.5 TFLs, a sack, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups.

At 6’2″, 205 pounds, Monroe has an NFL build and NFL athleticism, and he combines that with fast feet, disciplined technique, and forward-pressing physicality in run support. Monroe has all the tools to exceed his draft billing.

Prince Pines, G

The Tulane offense consistently churns out yards in both phases, and the offensive line is a big reason why. Specifically, offensive guard Prince Pines has a legitimate chance to be a draft-worthy player.

Though the 6’5″, 335-pound blocker struggles with balance and leverage maintenance through blocks at times, his athleticism and power are definite strengths. With his size and leg drive, he can pave open lanes at his own discretion.

Sincere Haynesworth, C

Teams looking for a sleeper center prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft would be wise to circle Sincere Haynesworth. He doesn’t have elite tools or size, but he’s a well-leveraged blocker at 6’1″, 310 pounds, and he’s a four-year starter and multi-year All-AAC performer.

Other Tulane NFL Draft Prospects

  • Jha’Quan Jackson, WR
  • Lawrence Keys III, WR
  • Kam Pedescleaux, S
  • Darius Hodges, LB
  • Shedro Louis, RB
  • Cameron Wire, OT

SMU Mustangs 2024 NFL Draft Prospects

R.J. Maryland, TE (2025)

SMU’s best NFL Draft prospect won’t be eligible until the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, but once he hits the circuit, tight end R.J. Maryland could be an early-round pick.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

The 6’4″, 233-pound pass catcher has 462 yards and seven scores this year and has a very complete profile at TE. He’s explosive up seams, physical after the catch, and very coordinated in making plays beyond his frame.

In PFN’s recent 2-Round 2025 NFL Mock Draft, Maryland was one of two TEs selected, and he went 53rd overall to the New York Jets.

Elijah Chatman, DT

Elijah Chatman might not wow onlookers with his size at 6’0″, 278 pounds, but he’s a documented Feldman Freak with elite lower-body strength and energy and unnatural strength in his upper body as well. Per Feldman, he can rep 225 pounds 42 times.

On tape, Chatman — who has 13.5 sacks and 32 TFLs across his five-year career — is extremely disruptive, and his strength, torque, and closing speed frequently show up as fusing elements of his game.

Elijah Roberts, EDGE

Elijah Roberts produced very little in three years with the Miami Hurricanes, but he’s now emerged in 2023 with 8.5 sacks and ten TFLs leading into conference championship weekend. Roberts, at 6’4″, 278 pounds, has an ideal power profile, and he could be a big-time sleeper in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle.

Other SMU NFL Draft Prospects

  • Charles Woods, CB
  • Ahmad Walker, LB
  • Kori Roberson, DT
  • Jaylan Knighton, RB
  • Jordan Miller, DT
  • Marcus Bryant, OT
  • Justin Osborne, G
  • Branson Hickman, C

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