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 2.
1. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky opened up the season with a win over Miami (Ohio). Other than an interception thrown in the red zone, quarterback Will Levis played well. He finished the game with 303 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 65.6 percent completion. Expectations are high for Levis this season and he’ll need to deliver in week 2.
The Wildcats will match up with the Florida Gators in week 2. Florida just upset the no. 7 team in the country, Utah. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson showed he could help the Gators put up points, so Levis will need to match him. What will make things tougher for Levis is that star running back Chris Rodriguez will be out for this game with an undisclosed suspension. Levis will need to carry the load to get the Wildcats to victory. He has been mocked in the first round, but can use this game to show he has improved his decision-making and accuracy.
2. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas Longhorns
Robinson has been tabbed as the best running back in the 2023 NFL Draft class. In week 1, he rushed for 71 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries against UL Monroe. He was used lightly as Texas had the game at hand, but that will likely not be the case in week 2.
In week 2, the Longhorns play Alabama, which will be the best defense that Robinson will play in his college career. He showed some good mental processing and cuts in week 1, but needs to show that again vs. Alabama. It will be tough for him to be productive. A good game though will cement his status as the top running back in the class.
3. Siaka Ika, DL, Baylor Bears
Ika started his career at LSU before transferring to join Dave Aranda, his former defensive coordinator with the Tigers, at Baylor. In 2021, he had six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Against Albany in week 1, he registered two tackles.
The week 2 matchup will have the spotlight on Ika. The Bears will play BYU, a team that has a good offensive line. Ika will need to show he can take up multiple blockers and still be disruptive against an offensive line that has future NFL players on it. A good performance could help Ika make his case as the best nose tackle in the class.
4. Blake Freeland, OT, BYU Cougars
Freeland is in his fourth season as a starting offensive tackle for BYU. He has been named to the All-Independent First Team by multiple publications and has protected Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall. In week 1, Freeland helped the Cougars dismantle USF.
Week 2 will present a bigger challenge, with the Cougars taking on Baylor. Baylor has a very talented and deep defensive line. For BYU to win, Freeland will need to give Hall time to throw and can help his draft stock in the process. The 6-foot-8, 305-pound Freeland is a projected mid-round pick currently.
5. Habakkuk Baldonado, EDGE, Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh was able to win a close game against West Virginia in week 1. Edge rusher Habakkuk Baldonado chipped in with four tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. He had a very good 2021 season with 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks.
If the Panthers are going to win in week 2, they’re going to need to get pressure on Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Baldonado has good strength and needs to show flexibility to get around the edge in this game. He is currently projected to be a day two pick at best, but can increase his stock in week 2.
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