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 3.
1. Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State Bulldogs
Fresno State has a record of 1-1, with their loss coming to Oregon State at home. Jake Haener was nearly able to lead the Bulldogs to victory. He has passed for 737 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on 74.1 percent completion on the young season. This comes after a great 2021 season when he was able to help the Bulldogs upset some Pac-12 teams.
This week the Bulldogs travel to Los Angeles to take on USC. Lincoln Riley has the offense running well for the Trojans, so Haener will have to help the Bulldogs score some points to win the game. He has protected the football throughout his career while still taking some chances downfield and will have to keep that aggressiveness against the Trojans. If he wants to help his draft stock, a win would help him out.
2. Justin Flowe, LB, Oregon Ducks
Oregon lost the season opener to Georgia to start the season. They then beat Eastern Washington in week 2. The Ducks have some of the best linebackers in the country and will need Justin Flowe to step up this week. He has 12 tackles and one tackle for loss on the season after battling back from injuries the past two seasons.
The Ducks will host BYU in week 3. BYU has a star quarterback in Jaren Hall that can run it and throw it pretty well. Flowe can be a key in slowing him and the running attack down. If he can do that, he can help the Ducks win. After being a highly-touted recruit, Flowe needs to get some good tape out before teams can really evaluate him.
3. Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M was upset by Appalachian State in week 2 to bring their record to 1-1. They struggled to move the ball and that includes Achane. In two games played, he has 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He will need to do better in the coming weeks to help the Aggies.
The Aggies play Miami in week 3 and will need to establish the run to win. Achane has quickness and speed and Texas A&M needs to find ways to get him the ball in space. If they struggle to run the ball in between the tackles, because he is a smaller back, running on the outside could help. There is still time to work his way up draft boards in a deep running back class.
4. Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE, Washington Huskies
Washington started the season 2-0 in Kalen DeBoer’s first year at the helm. They have allowed 13 points per game so far, but haven’t faced much competition yet. Getting Zion Tupuola-Fetui back healthy has helped. The edge rusher had seven sacks in 2020, but has not found his footing since that point due to injury. This season he has three total tackles.
Against Michigan State, Tupuola-Fetui can help stop the run and maybe give the edge to the Huskies. Before he tore his Achilles he had good athleticism and the most important thing for his draft stock is to reestablish that he has that same athleticism still. It’s a primetime game, so there is no better time to show off his skill.
5. Corey Durden, DL, NC State Wolfpack
NC State is a 2-0 team after getting one blowout and one close win. They have a solid defense that features Durden on the interior of the defensive line. So far this season, Durden has two total tackles. His impact doesn’t always show up on the stat line though.
In week 3, NC State hosts Texas Tech who leads the country in passing yards. It will be interesting to see how many snaps Durden is able to play and if he can help the rest of the defense get after the quarterback. He registered 3.5 sacks in 2021, so he could make an impact himself.
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