NFL Draft Prospects to Watch on CFB Week 5: Mississippi vs Alabama

Metchie and Corral highlight Battle of Ranked SEC West Heavyweights

 

 

Alabama. Ole Miss. Both of them ranked; both of them undefeated....a potential SEC Championship berth on the line. Can it get any better than this? This is the best conference in football, so it only makes sense that some of the best prospects in this year's upcoming Draft will be on full display in this game. While we're still only roughly halfway through the season, in the hostile SEC only one loss can be the difference between the SEC Championship and a surefire lock in the College Football Playoff, and being on the outside looking in and hoping for a nailbiter of a selection in the 4th spot. Fellow SEC West contender Arkansas is waiting in the wings later in the year for both of these teams, and after downing a suspect Texas A&M squad last week they'll be on the rest of the conference's radar from here on out. Alabama has already shown itself vulnerable against Florida, but for Ole Miss, this will be their first real test. 

 

The Alabama Crimson Tide, coached by arguably the greatest college coach of all time Nick Saban. Do they really need an introduction? Alabama has been pretty much a lock to produce multiple 1st Rounders every year. Unfortunately, due to Green Bay being in the back of the Draft annually, they've failed to take advantage of the surplus of NFL talent Alabama produces year in and year out. Altogether, the Packers have made 24 selections from the Crimson Tide, headlined by none other than Quarterback Bart Starr. 50 years later, Starr is still the most famous athlete from Alabama in Packers history. Contemporary notables include Eddie Lacy and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

 

The Rebels of Ole Miss have produced 10 selections so far, most recently 2021 4th Round Pick and offensive tackle Royce Newman who has made quite an impression as he competes on the offensive line. Prior to Newman, The Rebels most recent and prominent blessing was Defensive End Tony Bennett who went 18th Overall to the Packers in 1990 who turned in 36 sacks in 39 games for the Packers. Bennett sits right outside the Packers All-Time Sack Leaders at 13th. 

 

 

Now for the players to watch in this week's featured contest of Mississippi vs Alabama:

 

 

 

 

Matt Corral, QB - Ole Miss

Corral fits the mold of the modern day quarterback who threatens as much with his feet as he does with his arm. Corral has great accuracy and takes advantage of Lane Kiffin's system, which doesn't ask him to sling it too far down the field, but rather make a bunch of intermediate throws and check downs. That will be his downfall in the NFL if he can't properly read defenses at the snap and as the play unfolds. As of right now, I see Corral as a potential game manager who can occasionally make explosive plays on the run. That being said, Matt LeFleur's system is one that doesn't require the QB to do it all, so in a post Aaron Rodgers era it isn't necessarily unfathomable of a selection here.  Current Projection: Top-100 Pick

 

Ben Brown, IOL - Ole Miss

Brown possesses plus size and length as a Center, and can plug in at Guard as well. He's a smart player and a scheme diverse prospect and depending on how this Draft Class shapes up, I can see Brown getting "over drafted", if NFL Talent Evaluators fall in love with his versatility as well as his projection as a Guard. Current Projection: Top-100 Pick

 

Nick Broeker, OT - Ole Miss

Broeker has looked good occasionally, but he struggles with the premier pass rushers in college football. I imagine he'll be decimated facing even tougher competition in the NFL. Broeker's main issue is he doesn't possess the strength, and to some degree athleticism to hold up at the point of attack. I see Broeker as a RT only prospect who if he can't handle himself effectively on the edge could be moved to Guard. Current Projection: 6th Round Pick

 

Sam Williams, Edge - Ole Miss

I typically hate to label guys as "edge players" preferring to label them either as a DE, DT, or OLB. But Sam Williams really is a complete edge player, he can line up in 3-point, 4-point, and 2-down. Sam Williams can line up as 4T, 5T, and he can even drop into coverage. He lays out for the run, and he has the power to rag doll opposing linemen. Sam Williams SHOULD be a priority guy on Day 2, maybe even sneaking into 1st Round conversation with a solid bowl game, Senior Bowl, and Combine. Unfortunately, Williams has had some legal troubles off the field which will surely take him off some teams draft boards. His interview at the Combine will be everything for him. I know the Packers are probably 99% disinterested, but he would be an absolute STEAL if he fell somewhere around the compensatory picks in the 3rd Round. Truthfully, somebody who doesn't mind a player with a little bit of dirt will probably make the leap around where he should be drafted minus questions surrounding his character. Current Projection: Top-100 Pick

 

Lakia Henry, LB - Ole Miss

Henry is a former high school track star, and possesses the speed and athleticism to play in the NFL, but he's got to work to do on the mental side of the game. I see him currently as a "see ball, get ball" kind of guy, where the scheme he goes to doesn't put too much on his plate early. He could earn a living as a Dime LB, or a DPR, if the instincts fail to really develop. If there was ever a time to really test the coaching acumen of new DC Joe Barry when it comes to LBs, Henry would be the project for him. Current Projection: 6th Round Pick

 

 

 

Evan Neal, OT - Alabama

Neal will make scouts fall in love with him due to his excellent fundamentals. He started at RT during their National Championship run, and is now the LT for the Crimson Tide protecting the blindside. I wouldn't label Neal as having plus athleticism for a LT, but he's got enough to do very well in the league. With his great instincts in fundamentals, the athleticism he does have is just icing on the cake, For somebody, he'll anchor their offensive line for years. Current Projection: Top-25 Pick

 

John Metchie III, WR - Alabama

Metchie is this year's deep threat for the Crimson Tide. After the loss of Jaylen Waddle in 2020, Metchie filled in and kept Alabama's offense rolling. While Metchie is a certified deep threat, he does need to clean up his route running and be able to turn in complete games where he makes catches at all levels of the field and not just deep balls he wins with speed. I'm also concerned with how Metchie deals with press coverage on a routine basis, which he'll see alot more in the NFL. Regardless, Metchie is still in the top echelon of WRs and if Alabama goes on to repeat as National Champions the defenses Metchie beats en route to another ring will make his draft stock rise to probably the back of the 1st Round. The Packers do have a WR issue after the 2021 season with hardly anyone under contract, so MAYBE Metchie could be the 1st Round Receiver of our dreams? Current Projection: Top-50 Pick

 

Christian Harris, LB - Alabama

Harris has already been a mainstay in the Alabama defense for multiple years, so scouts are confident in what they see. Harris is a a near elite defender against the run and the pass. The only knock on him is he's a little undersized. Despite that, Harris can and should play in any scheme and be a mainstay for years. While many teams discount the ILB position, I can see somebody with a need taking Harris in the 1st Round, unfortunately, that's most likely not the Packers, as they seem to be somewhat indifferent to making the position a priority in the opening rounds of the Draft. Current Projection: Top-20 Pick

 

Jahleel Billingsley, TE - Alabama

Billingsley puts me in the mind of Kyle Pitts who went in the 1st Round this year, you're not really sure what he is, oversized WR or undersized TE. Either way, he's an excellent route runner and can be a nightmare when the opposing defense is in man coverage. Billingsley can be an X-Factor for an NFL team in the downfield passing game. With a renewed interest in move TEs, I expect Billingsley to draw plenty of interest if he decides to test at the Combine. The Packers have already parted ways with Jace Sternberger, and there's no telling when Marcedes Lewis decides to hang it up for good. Could the Packers be interested in adding yet another TE to the fold in an offense predicated on mulltiple TE sets? I certainly wouldn't be against it. Current Projection: Top-20 Pick

 

Josh Jobe, CB - Alabama

Jobe is an aggressive corner who's a willing downfield tackler in the run game. Where Jobe needs to get better is his instincts and ball skills. In the modern day NFL where nickel is the new base defense, Jobe could probably start immediately for several teams, but against top flight WRs he'll have trouble if he doesn't play with good technique and awareness.  Depending on evaluations, I could see Jobe sliding towards the end of the 3rd Round, or some may take his projection and make him a solid Day 2 selection. Current Projection: Top-100 Pick

 

Phil Mathis, DT - Alabama

Mathis is a plug and play run defender for the Crimson Tide, and should do the same at the next level. Mathis doesn't have much in pass rushing ability right now, and that's what's going to keep him firmly in the Day 2 conversation. For the Packers Mathis would be a welcome addition as a 3T/4T in base and subpackages. If Mathis can somehow put it together and put pressure on the QB, his draft stock will soar. However, Mathis can still have a lengthy and productive career in the league as a premier run stuffer. Current Projection: 3rd Round Pick

 

Jordan Battle, S - Alabama

Battle is currently my #2 S on the board. Battle has the appropriate size for a Safety, but has the speed and twitch of a Cornerback. Where Battle needs to improve is his play inside the box. Battle has shoddy tackle form, and because he's so fast, he can sometimes overpursue. Battle also needs to work on his ball skills, he's often in the right place at the right time, but he needs to make the interception, and when he's in the backfield and has the opportunity go for the strip. Despite his shortcomings, which really are meager in a sense, Battle is Day 1 starter in the NFL. I'm not sure if he'll get his name called in the 1st Round, but I can't see him making it past midway of the 2nd Round. Joe Barry could possibly be instituting his own variant of the defense he used to coach back in LA, so a 3rd Safety could definitely be added, but I'm not sure how high that might be on Brian Gutekunst's wish list. Current Projection: Top-50 Pick.

 

LaBryan Ray, DL - Alabama

Ray has been discussed in draft circles for the last 3 years, but it's now or never for him. For some reason, Ray just can't put it together consistently. He has flashed from time to time, but he's normally buried on the depth chart by other players who have risen to the occasion. Ray also has been set back multiple times due to injuries. For me, I believe Ray will still be a high quality defensive lineman in the NFL, somebody just has to have to believe in the projection and when he turns into an All-Pro, sits back and says "I told ya so!". Ray has the ability to play 4T and 5T with his massive 6'5/285 frame. Given the Packers constant struggles with the run, I'm praying Brian Gutekunst does a hail mary and finds Ray just waiting for his chance on Day 3. Current Projection: 5th Round Pick

 

 

 

 

Mississippi takes on Alabama in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday at 2:30 CST on CBS. Check your channel guide for local listings or you can stream the game on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App for free.

Joseph has been an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1997, citing an affinity for dairy products during his childhood and his favorite color, green. Born in Jacksonville, FL, Joseph currently is an Active Duty servicemember in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joseph considers himself a lifelong fan of the game of football, competing since his youth well into adulthood. When it comes to the Pack, Joseph is particularly impassioned about the NFL Draft and collegiate scouting process, and will contribute regularly on CHTV.com leading to that year's upcoming Draft.

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ImaPayne's picture

October 05, 2021 at 08:26 am

What a blow out. roll tide.

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