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 9 recap.
1. Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia easily defeated their rivals Florida, 42-20. Their defense played pretty well throughout, making life tough for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. Jalen Carter and the defensive line had a pretty good day. Carter’s impact didn’t show up in the stat line, but he wreaked havoc. He finished with just one total tackle.
For defensive lineman, specifically ones on the interior, the stats don’t tell the whole story. Carter is still a very disruptive player and one of the best in the 2023 NFL Draft class. He is still projected to be a top 10 pick, even without massive stats.
2. Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse Orange
Syracuse had a tough day against Notre Dame and lost 41-24. Williams played in the game and recorded three total tackles, but it was hard to judge his play, as he had to leave the game on crutches.
Williams needs to get healthy first and foremost. There is still plenty of time to get healthy or to come back and get more good tape out. He is still projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
3. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State won the game without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who was once again sidelined with a hamstring injury that has lingered throughout the season.
Smith-Njigba is still considered a probable first-round pick, but the injury is a little concerning.
4. Parker Washington, WR, Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State was able to play Ohio State tough for most of the game before the Buckeyes pulled away late. It seemed Penn State made it part of their gameplan to get the ball in Washington’s hands early and often. He had 11 receptions for 179 yards and a touchdown as Penn State’s best player on the day.
Washington showed some of his big-play ability on his touchdown catch, as he hauled in the pass and was able to run for awhile before finding the end zone. He also has great hands and made several tough catches, with only one being high and skipping off his hands. His stock improved in this game and he is likely going to be a day two pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
5. Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati dropped their first AAC game in over two seasons when they lost to UCF 25-21. They had a good defensive effort, but were going up against a backup quarterback after starter John Rhys Plumlee left with an injury. Pace Jr. has been one of the most productive players in the country this season and that continued in this game. He finished with 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one pass defended.
Pace has risen up draftboards after transferring to Cincinnati this offseason. His production from the time he spent in the MAC has actually improved. Because he has adjusted so well to playing more quality teams there is some potential for growth. He is currently projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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