While the 2020 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 five NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football conference championship week.
1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Burrow has elevated his draft status from possible mid-round pick to probably first quarterback selected. Some of that has to do with Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, but a lot of it has to do with how efficient he has been this season. He is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, but Georgia is one of the best defenses he has played in his college career.
Georgia’s defense allows 10.4 points per game, which is one of the best marks in the country. The Bulldogs rank seventh in the country in pass yards per game allowed. Burrow could cement his status as the first quarterback selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, if he hasn’t already, with a good game in the SEC Championship.
2. Richard LeCounte, S, Georgia
Georgia’s defense has been great this season and a lot of thanks for that goes to Richard LeCounte. The junior has 53 total tackles, two interceptions, three passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He’s an impact player, who could be one of the keys to slowing down Burrow and the LSU offense.
With a good game on one of college football’s biggest stages, LeCounte can get more draft buzz. His physicality could change things in this game against LSU. He is currently looking like a mid-round pick, but with strong performances down the stretch, LeCounte can start getting the draft talk he deserves.
3. Zack Moss, RB, Utah
The last three seasons, Zack Moss has rushed for 1,000 yards each year for Utah. This year, his running ability has led to Utah being in contention for the College Football Playoff. Moss has carried the ball 200 times for 1,246 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has added 22 catches for 317 yards and four touchdowns in the passing game.
Moss will now have the tough task of going up against Oregon’s defense. The Ducks allow 15.8 points per game. They have NFL-level talent on their defense and will be properly motivated to slow down Moss. A good game could help his mid-round draft status.
4. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Troy Dye is the leader of the Oregon defense. His play on defense has made them formidable, but he has dealt with a thumb injury this year. So far this season, he has 67 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and four passes defended. He’ll have to be at his best for the Ducks to stop Utah.
Dye will have to chase around Zack Moss and Tyler Huntley. If he is successful, not only will he help the Ducks win the Pac-12, but his draft stock will also rise. Dye could play himself into being one of the first linebackers selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
5. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Oklahoma has just one loss on the season and has a lot to play for. Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb have been getting the press on offense, while Kenneth Murray has been getting the love on defense. Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore has been playing well in his own right. The senior has 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks this season.
The Sooners will put up points against Baylor, but their defense will also have to step up. If Gallimore can take on double teams and get pressure, the Sooners can win the Big 12 again. Gallimore should be one of the first interior defensive linemen selected in this year’s draft.