While the 2023 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 13.
1. C.J. Stoud, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State has had a great season and are undefeated, which gives them a great chance to make the College Football Playoff. A lot of that is thanks to their Heisman-contending quarterback C.J. Stroud and the offense. So far this season, Stroud has passed for 2,991 yards, 35 touchdowns and four interceptions on 66.4 percent completion.
In week 13, Stroud and the Buckeyes take on their rivals, Michigan. Stroud has played well this season because of his poise and touch as a passer. He will need to do the same against Michigan who has a tough defense and will also be playing for a College Football Playoff spot. Stroud is currently projected to be a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2. Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan Wolverines
Michigan made the College Football Playoff last season and have set themselves up well again this season. They are known for being physical at the line of scrimmage. Ryan Hayes has been good at left tackle over the last few years for the Wolverines and has really helped them establish the run.
Hayes sets the edge well and clears big holes, which has had running back Blake Corum have a huge year. If Michigan is going to beat Ohio State for the second straight season, they will have to win up front. Currently, Hayes is a projected day two pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
3. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame has had an up-and-down season this year, but have played well enough to be 8-3 and in play for a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Their offense hasn’t been great at moving the ball through the air, but when they do pass, the offense runs through tight end Michael Mayer. Although it is rare that a college football team utilizes a tight end so frequently, Notre Dame does it well, as Mayer has 59 receptions for 711 yards and seven touchdowns.
The week 13 matchup will be against USC for Notre Dame. USC scores a lot of points, so Notre Dame will have to be able to score as well. Mayer can block well to help the run game and is a reliable target who consistently gets open for the Fighting Irish. He is currently projected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
4. Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC Trojans
USC has just one loss on the season and are very much in play to make the College Football Playoff. Their offense has garnered headlines, but the defense has made key plays at time. The best player on defense has been Tuli Tuipulotu, who has 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
Against Notre Dame, Tuipulotu will have to help stop the run, something USC hasn’t done well all season. He is very versatile, as he can play multiple spots along the defensive line. His production has been eye-popping and his stock has risen a lot this season. He is currently projected to be a day-two pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
5. Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn Tigers
Auburn has had a rough season, but can still make a bowl game with a win in week 13. Their offense mostly moves the ball on the ground. Their best offensive player is running back Tank Bigsby. This season, Bigsby has rushed for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has 26 catches for 181 yards.
The last week of the season features Auburn against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Alabama hasn’t had the same edge defensively as they have had in recent years, so there is an opportunity for Bigsby to have a good day. If he helps them move the chains, they could pull off an upset. He is a tough runner with good contact balance. Bigsby is currently projected to be a day two pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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