While the 2021 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.
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1. Shaka Toney, Edge, Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions did not play their best against Ohio State and ended up losing 38-25. Penn State did not get much pressure on the quarterback, as they registered just two sacks. Shaka Toney didn’t have that impressive of a game and it showed. He finished the game with just one total tackle.
Ohio State has one of the best offensive lines in college football, which made this a big matchup for Toney. He didn’t play too impressively, but there is still time to build up his value before the 2021 NFL Draft. Toney has two sacks this year and will need to add to that total to improve his stock.
2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State was able to play very well and they beat Penn State. Justin Fields led the offense that scored 28 points to help the team secure the victory. He finished the game at 28 of 34 for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
It was a tremendous performance by Fields, who demonstrated good throws to all levels of the field and showed he was hard to take down in the pocket. He likely won’t be able to catch Trevor Lawrence to be the first quarterback taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he has mad a nice case to be the second quarterback selected over Trey Lance.
3. Drake Jackson, OG/C, Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky’s inability to throw the ball cost them against Georgia, as they lost 14-3. They were, however, able to rush for 138 yards against a good defense thanks to their talented offensive line. Jackson played well in both the passing and running game, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
Jackson is one of the top interior line prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is currently projected to be taken on day two or three of the draft, but with more good performances his stock could be improved even more. He’ll have a few big games to play the rest of the way to aid him.
4. James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati Bearcats
The Bearcats had a dominant performance against Memphis, winning 49-10. Cincinnati used their great defense to help them get their fifth win of the season. Wiggins is a big part of the defense and it showed against the Tigers. He finished the game with four total tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one pass defended.
While Wiggins is currently a possible mid-round pick, if he keeps playing like this he can move up big boards. If Cincinnati can win some more big games and get some postseason games against solid competition, Wiggins could shine on the national stage.
5. Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
There was really no threat to Alabama losing to Mississippi State, but they still played really well. Specifically, they needed to cope with the loss of Jaylen Waddle, who is out for the season. They proved with their 41-0 win, that they can still move the ball well. Devonta Smith has played well, but really stepped up this week without Waddle. Smith finished the game with 11 receptions for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
His performance is just the latest in a great season of games for Smith this year. In six games, he has 56 receptions for 759 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith was looking like a first-round pick before this game, but this just helps him out.
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