While the 2022 NFL Draft is still far off in the distance, players that will be drafted early are on the field now. Each week presents unique matchups for draft prospects and this week is no different. Here are NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football week 0.
1. Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA Bruins
Rhyan signed on with UCLA for the 2019 season and came into college as a four-star recruit. He started in his first season on campus and was named a Freshman All-American by several outlets. The left tackle started seven games in 2020, which was all the Bruins were able to play due to the late start to the season because of COVID.
With a decent amount of experience under his belt, Rhyan is projected to have a good 2021 season. Ryan has good technical skills and is a solid athlete. In this game against Hawaii, there will be a lot of snaps because the Warriors run an air raid system. Rhyan will be heavily focused on this weekend because there are only five games on the schedule. This game could be a huge stepping stone into really improving his stock, as he has the potential to be one of the first tackles drafted if he plays well this year.
2. Travis Jones, DL, UConn Huskies
Jones is an interesting prospect for a variety of reasons. He has NFL-level size at 6-foot-4 and 336 pounds. Jones can be the nose tackle on an NFL defense with another good season under his belt. In 2019, he registered 3.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss, which are solid numbers for an interior defensive lineman.
There are a few reasons why NFL scouts will be paying attention to Jones this weekend. The Huskies play the Fresno State Bulldogs in one of the five games of the weekend. Jones also wasn’t able to play in 2020 becaue UConn canceled their season. If he can show that he has grown as a player over the last year, even when he hasn’t been able to play, his stock could rise. This will be one of the few times UConn will be a team that can be focused on, as they are not projected to have a great season.
3. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA Bruins
Dulcich has steadily improved over his time at UCLA and is now poised to have a great redshirt junior season. In his first season on campus, he redshirted, but caught one pass for six yards. As a redshirt freshman, Dulcich caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. In 2020, he hauled in 26 passes for 517 yards and five touchdowns in just seven games played.
The UCLA offense should be improved this season and Dulcich’s development as a player has a lot to do with it. At 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, Dulcich is a matchup problem. He may need to add a few pounds to his frame and improve his blocking some, but that is typical for tight ends making the jump from the college level to the NFL. The Bruins and Warriors are projected to score a lot of points in their matchup and Dulcich could benefit from that.
4. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA Bruins
UCLA has the most prospects to watch in week 0, as one of three power conference teams in action (sorry Nebraska and Illinois). Thompson-Robinson has played a lot over the past three years. He has 5,132 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and 20 interceptions on 60.2 percent completion. The senior has als rushed for 572 yards and seven touchdowns in his career.
In what should be a high-scoring matchup, Thompson-Robinson can shine with his arm and his legs. He needs to show that he can continue to improve his passing down the field to stretch defenses vertically. This will not only help UCLA, but will also help his draft stock. A big game against Hawaii could be the start of a season that really shows everyone how good Thompson-Robinson can be.
5. Paul Grattan, OG/C, UCLA Bruins
Grattan started his career off at FCS-level Villanova. He didn’t see the field in his first year, but started for the Wildcats in the three following years. In his last year at Villanova, Grattan was an All-Conference player. He decided to transfer to UCLA, where he started seven games at left guard.
UCLA will have a solid offensive line with Grattan and Rhyan. They’ll have to show some endurance against Hawaii. Grattan has played well against FBS competition, even when at Villanova, but he needs to have another solid season if he wishes to be drafted. This game is his best chance to get noticed this year.
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