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 12 recap.
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1. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati Bearcats
Against an eight-win SMU team Cincinnati came to play and won 48-14. They played well on both sides of the ball, but their defense was able to completely shut down the strong passing attack of SMU. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner continued his good play. He finished the game without recording a stat, but he helped keep SMU to just 68 passing yards on the day.
Gardner has had such a good college career and having a good performance against one of the best offenses in the country just adds to it. He still hasn’t allowed a touchdown catch in his college career. Gardner is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2. Travis Dye, RB, Oregon Ducks
Oregon was absolutely dominated by Utah. The Ducks lost 38-7 and were not as physical as the Utes. This changed the running game, as the Ducks had to throw because they were behind. Travis Dye finished the game with just six carries for 29 yards. He also had one catch for six yards.
Dye wasn’t to blame for the game script being thrown out or the offensive line not getting their usual push. He still had a decent number of yards per carry and competed well. Utah just wouldn’t let his speed and quickness generate any big plays. He is still projected to be a mid to late-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
3. Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC Trojans
USC were defeated handily by their rivals USC, 62-33. The defense really struggled and some of that may have been due to Jackson being limited in the game. He only really saw the field in clear pass-rushing situations. He did not record a stat, but did get a little bit of pressure when given the opportunity.
The injury doesn’t seem to be serious with him playing, but will need to be checked out. Jackson walked out of the game in tears, which may indicate that this was the last game he will play for the team, even with two games left. He is currently projected to be a first or second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
4. Thayer Munford, OG/C, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes had a great offensive performance that saw them have the lead 49-0 at halftime. They ended up winning 56-7. The offense was dominant and was fueled by the great blocking from the offensive line. C.J. Stroud barely got touched all game and Munford blocked well in both the passing and running game to help the Buckeyes have so much success.
Munford’s versatility to move inside and play guard this season is impressive. It should help his draft value, as not all interior linemen have experience playing on the outside. He’ll have to finish the season off strong, but Munford is a projected day two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
5. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama had a close one against Arkansas, but held on to win, 42-35. Their defense hasn’t been the greatest this year and they struggled in this game. Christian Harris played decently though, finishing with five total tackles, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Harris didn’t have his best game, but his stock won’t be too affected by it. He will be crucial down the stretch for Alabama as they look to make the College Football Playoff. The linebacker is currently projected to be a day two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
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