Top Prospects Key Weekend Matchups: Week 7


Each week NFL Mocks will release an article discussing the top prospect match-ups of the weekend.   We hope to show you what match-ups you should keep an eye on and what would help or hurt that prospects stock.  We encourage you to take a look at these match-ups and watch closely on Saturday to see who comes out on top.  We will discuss the results of those match-ups on Sunday.

Game: #12 Arkansas @ #7 Auburn

Where to Watch: Saturday October 16th, 3:30pm CBS

Prospects: QB Ryan Mallett vs DT Nick Fairley

Thoughts: Mallet has the Razorbacks playing well, but he has still had his struggles. Three picks against Alabama handed them a loss and he was shut out of the end zone in the second half against Texas A&M. In a 24-17 win, Arkansas scored 21 of those points in the first half and the FG came mid way through the 3rd. That kind of offensive output won’t get them a win at Auburn. Mallet’s footwork should be put to the test as Nick Fairley is having quite a season with 12.5 TFL and 5 sacks so far. He and the rest of the Tiger line will be moving the pocket and Mallet will have to make adjustments.

How they raise their Stock: Mallet just needs to limit his turnovers. Preferably none, especially on the road. While his completion percentage is looking good, he still misses the strike zone on throws and needs to show more polish on his ball placement. Fairley needs to continue to be disruptive in the backfield and I think he can get a couple of sacks on Mallet.

Game: #1 Ohio State @ #18 Wisconsin

Where to Watch: Saturday October 16th, 7pm ESPN,

Prospects: DE/OLB Cameron Heyward vs OT Gabe Carimi

Check out our thoughts on this matchup as well as other top matchups after the jump!

Thoughts: This is a big test on a lot of levels. This is the best team either has played this season so it will be a good measuring stick for where they both are nationally. Heyward and Carimi will also each use this game as a measuring stick individually as both look to have bright futures at the next level. They can get a good gauge of where each is talent wise by how well they finish their head to head match-up which should be frequent. Both have the chance to show how well they play against top talent and how their skills may translate to the NFL.

How they raise their Stock: Since there is a good chance they go against each other often there is only a couple of outcomes possible: one or the other dominates, or they have an epic back and forth showing that both are great competitors.  I am hoping for the latter. However, if I were to say which player needed to have the better game, it would be Carimi. As a defensive lineman/linebacker, Heyward can collect tangible stats to a point where he could have a bad game and make up for it later. As a offensive lineman, Carimi doesn’t have that, but he can leave a impression on scouts as a guy who shut down one of the better lineman prospects in the game.

Game: #10 South Carolina vs Kentucky

Where to Watch: Saturday October 16th, 6pm ESPN2

Prospects: DE Cliff Matthews, CB Chris Culliver vs WR/RB/KR Randall Cobb

Thoughts: Cobb is a guy not many have heard of yet, but check out his stat line in a near upset of #7 Auburn: 207 all purpose yards with 4 touchdowns, 1 receiving, 2 rushing, and 1 passing. On the year he is already over 1000 all purpose yards, averaging 182.5 yards per game. Thats pretty impressive. Now he gets a chance to do it again against another top ten team with a great defense. A defense that just shut down the former #1 team in the nation.

How they raise their Stock: The Gamecock defense played an amazing game last weekend and they need to keep that level of play consistent and not let the Wildcats sneak up on them. It happened to Auburn and if they can’t find a way to bottle up Cobb, it could be a long night and a huge let down after such a big win.

Game: Boston College @ #16 Florida State

Where to Watch: Saturday October 16th, Noon ESPN,

Prospects: LB Mark Herzlich vs QB Christian Ponder

Thoughts: Herzlich has made quite the recovery from Ewing Sarcoma to Division 1A football, but he does look like he’s still recovering. Coverage and run stuffing has been his bread and butter because he was never a big sack or pass rusher. His best season for sacks was 2008 when he had 2.5, but his tackles for loss are way down and it seems he is still finding his way back to that 2008 form. Ponder has been recovering from an embarrassing game at Oklahoma. Albeit, most of it came against lesser competition, he has bounced back. In the four games since the Sooners, he has only thrown one INT and has helped beat his opponents by over 20 points each.

How they raise their Stock: This will be a huge test in how far Herzlich has progressed. Florida State’s running game has been pretty successful, averaging 258.3 yards/gm over the last 4 games. Herlzich needs to attack the line of scrimmage. force Ponder to throw his direction, and make plays when he does. Ponder needs to continue to protect the football, but a dominate performance (for example 68% completion, 300 yards and 3 TDs) would go a long way to erasing the memory of Norman, OK.