Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro vs. No. 24 TCU
Thursday night offers the entire country the opportunity to catch a glimpse of one of the more exciting tight end prospects. Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro features the size and speed to create mismatches all over the field.It’ll be interesting to see how TCU tries to defend Amaro. They have highly talented cover-man Jason Verrett, but his lack of size and bulk would make it tough for him to matchup against Amaro. However, Verrett features excellent quickness and has a great feel for the position. Even if TCU doesn’t use Verrett on Amaro the entire game, I hope we get to see at least a few occasions where they’re battling for the ball.
Fresno State’s Derek Carr vs. Colorado
Fresno State has started the season with two straight wins and has a chance to continue that streak this weekend. However, they’re facing an improved Colorado team that has found a way to put a ton of points on the board. This game is going to come down to how well Fresno State’s Derek Carr performs. He needs to continue to protect the ball and make good decisions. His surrounding cast isn’t great, but Carr needs to prove he’s a winner to help improve his draft stock.
Mississippi State’s LaDarius Perkins vs. Auburn’s Tre Mason
The 2014 running back class is still developing but Mississippi State’s LaDarius Perkins and Auburn’s Tre Mason have shown a ton of talent. Both players have a real chance to work their way into the first round of the draft. Perkins and Mason are extremely explosive players who can score from anywhere on the field. The difference between the two comes down to build. Mason has a thick lower half that allows him to be more effective between the tackles. This game will be a great opportunity to see two of the more explosive players in all of college football.
Alabama’s C.J. Mosley vs. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel
Alabama vs. Texas A&M is the marquee matchup in college football this weekend. It pins two talented teams who are fighting for shot at a National Championship. For NFL Draft purposes, this game also features a long list of prospects. I’m going to spend most of my time watching to see how the Alabama defense tries to stop Johnny Manziel. It’s possible that a lot of that responsibility will land on the shoulders of linebacker C.J. Mosley. Alabama must keep Manziel in the pocket and using Mosley as a spy might be the best strategy. Mosley is an explosive athlete who plays with discipline and anticipation. He’s one of the few defenders in all of college football that has a shot of slowing down Manziel.
Penn State’s DaQuan Jones vs. Central Florida
Right about at the start of the college football season, Gil Brandt put out a tweet stating that he felt Penn State’s DaQuan Jones was the best senior defensive tackle available for the draft. Jones is a multi-talented player who can both stuff the run and make plays in the backfield. His play last season was hurt by inconsistency and playing a slightly different role. With Jordan Hill in place, Jones focused more on occupying blockers rather than penetrating the pocket. This season Penn State is giving Jones much more freedom. Keep an eye on him this weekend as Central Florida offers a tough matchup for the Nittany Lions. Penn State could improve to 3-0 if Jones and the defense can generate pressure on Blake Bortles and limit the effectiveness of Storm Johnson.