2016 NFL Draft: Week 13 Scouting Preview, led by Ohio State vs. Michigan


The regular season finale weekend scores big with many Top 25 matchups for state bragging rights and opportunities to snag a spot in conference championship games. The special rivalry Saturday brings many pro prospects to a national stage to display their talent against some of the tougher teams in college football. Here are some players to watch and matchups to highlight this weekend with a focus on draft-eligible players.

By: Christian Page

No. 8 Ohio State at No. 10 Michigan // Saturday at Noon on ABC

The Jim Harbaugh-Urban Meyer Bowl finally kicks off Saturday morning. With potentially Big Ten Championship hopes on the line this game makes for an even more exciting matchup.

Many analysts across the nation will state that the game is won within the trenches. If that is the case here, we have many players to identify and credit for that type of success. Junior defensive line prospect Joey Bosa (#97) of Ohio State receives most of the praise for his blend of size and speed to constantly put pressure on the quarterback (22 hurries in 2015). Bosa receives the majority of the glory but senior tackle prospect Adolphus Washington (#92) is deserving of some notable credit. The former highly-touted recruit has had a solid senior season being a gap filler and an effective interior pass rusher. Being a versatile defender across the line, Washington seemingly has the advantage every time off the snap.

Not having a unanimous number one tight end in this year’s draft, Jake Butt (#88, Junior) has the ability and talent to snatch that top billing if he decides to turn pro. Butt’s long frame and excellent route running gives the Wolverine offense, and quarterback Jake Rudock, something to work with as Butt can threaten the seam with adequate speed and winning the mismatches with smaller safeties and slower linebackers. Butt will test a strong secondary most likely having to deal with safety Vonn Bell (#11) and possibly outside linebacker Joshua Perry (#37).


No. 2 Alabama at Auburn // Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS

Hopeful to see another 2013 high-caliber matchup this preseason, college football happened and the Tide comes in at 10-1 and the Tigers are a surprising 6-5. Nick Saban’s squad has had its difficulties dealing with the up-temp Auburn offense at times, forcing them to make tackles on the perimeter and standing their ground at the line of scrimmage. Though the Tigers are in a rough patch and the Tide have been dominant, the game still invites intriguing matchups to highlight.

Normally a strong point for the Tigers, Auburn’s offensive line struggled toward the beginning of the season not meshing well and not creating the appropriate run lanes that are key in the offense. Since then, the offensive line has held its own providing gapping holes for a couple of solid running backs and producing in pass protection. The Tigers sport a couple of solid bookend tackles with Shon Coleman (#72) and right tackle Avery Young (#56). Coleman, whom we have formerly noted, has put together a second-day-caliber season, but Young was seen as the more attractive prospect at the start of the year. Young is a dominant run blocker but can at times be stiff with not great bend for the position. Young’s stock could skyrocket after a nice showing versus Alabama’s tough defensive line.

The Tide is a bruising defense that excels on all cylinders. One area that the Tigers have managed to somewhat control in the past is the secondary. Auburn’s Nick Marshall, with the help of wide receivers Sammie Coates and Duke Williams, torched the Alabama secondary last season with three touchdowns and 456 yards targeting Cyrus Jones (#5) and Eddie Jackson (#4) multiple times. Jones’ recent comments on Auburn’s receivers make you question his past experiences in the Iron Bowl, but with hot and cold games in his career, Jones looks forward to regaining his potential second day draft quality. Auburn does not have a dominant receiver this time around, but Ricardo Louis (#5) can test a defense in many different aspects.


No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 9 Stanford // Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on FOX

Stanford is the Pac-12’s final hope at a playoff bid and this win is vital for the conference to gain back credibility after an underwhelming season. After an injury-riddled season, Notre Dame still hangs onto a playoff ticket if the cards are played right. A win here would sure help the Fighting Irish’s strength of schedule.

If you look up any big board online, Notre Dame fills the top 50 with many draft-eligible prospects, starting with offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and Jaylon Smith. Shifting the focus away from those top two prospects, defensive line prospect Sheldon Day (#91, Senior) has been just as productive. Day is a perfect 3-4 defensive end prospect, showing tremendous athleticism for his 6-foot-2 285 pound frame tracking down ball carriers in the backfield and reading and reacting well. With a smash mouth style offense in Stanford, which also relies on Kevin Hogan’s arm, Day’s run stopping and pass rushing skills will both be highly tested tonight.

Big Game Hogan has another chance to be mentioned with some of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 draft class. Quietly slipping out of many top 10 lists, Hogan (#8) has been just fine this season with a 19-7 touchdown/interception ratio, 2,231 yards and a 67 percent completion rate. Many want to dock his play having a long delivery and occasionally failing to be productive on his progressions, but no other senior quarterback has helped his stock more than Hogan. Notre Dame will be without star cornerback KeiVarae Russell, which will help Hogan’s chances of dialing up versus a solid Irish secondary.

Arrow to top