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 3 recap.
For the preview: click here
1. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida Gators
Elam’s Gators surprised many by keeping the game against Alabama close. They lost 31-29 and the Florida defense really stepped up after the first quarter of the game. Elam contributed with two total tackles and three passes defended. Alabama wasn’t afraid to test him, but Elam held up well against the Crimson Tide.
The game is a good case for Elam to be a top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He held John Metchie in check and allowed no catches. Elam did have a defensive pass interference called on him, but it was a generous call at best favoring Alabama. He did leave the game with an injury, but returned and it doesn’t look like it will impact him long-term. If he plays this way the rest of the season, Elam could be the first corner selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2. John Metchie, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
As mentioned, Alabama was able to get away from Florida with a win, but it was close. Metchie did not have his best performance in the game. He finished the game with six catches for 49 yards, which was a relatively light day for him.
Metchie specifically struggled to separate from Elam in this game. His matchups again top corners will now be watched closely the rest of the season. Alabama needs Metchie at his best if they are going to win the National Championship. For Metchie’s draft stock, he will have plenty of time to play better, but it may be hard for him to be an early first-round pick like fans are accustomed to seeing out of Alabama.
3. George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue Boilermakers
There was some hope that Purdue could go into South Bend and get a win against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was able to pull away late, but Purdue was able to hang with them for most of the game. Karlaftis had a great game with two total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Notre Dame has had some issues on their offensive line and Karlaftis showed his talent to be able to take advantage. Karlaftis can be a versatile defensive lineman at the next level, as he can rush from the outside or inside. If he continues to play this well, he will likely be an early first-round pick.
4. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati needed a win over Indiana on the road and they were able to get the job done. It was an overall sloppy game and that extended to the quarterback play. Desmond Ridder did not have his best showing. He finished the game 20/36 for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Ridder played much better in the second half, but the game did no favors to his draft stock.
During the game against the Hoosiers, Ridder often showed accuracy and decision-making issues that have been present, but improving throughout his career. While some had Ridder as a potential first-round pick, he is more likely going to be a mid to late-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft unless he can really show improvement in Cincinnati’s game against Notre Dame in two weeks.
5. Carson Strong, QB, Nevada Wolf Pack
Nevada came into the weekend at 2-0 and had a good opportunity to leave undefeated traveling to Kansas State, who was without their starting quarterback. The Wolf Pack lost 38-17, but Carson Strong was able to show flashes of why he is generating some buzz as a quarterback. He finished the game 27/40 passing for 262 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Strong was forced to throw a lot, as Kansas State was leading and the Wolf Pack couldn’t get anything going on the ground. He was able to show off his deep accuracy, as he had some long passes completed in the game. This was his last game against power five competition, but Strong has already taken advantage of a relatively weak quarterback class at the top. He could be the first quarterback selected if he finishes the season well.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more content like NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football week 3 recap!