While the 2023 NFL Draft is still far off in the distance, players who 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 NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football week 3 recap.
1. Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois dropped a tough game to Penn State, as they couldn’t keep possession of the ball. Their defense held up well given the circumstances, with defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton having a monster game. Newton finished the game with six total tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defended.
A quick look on social media will show praise for Newton. He was constantly disruptive. Newton was a key in keeping the game close for so long, as he pushed the pocket and played a big role in stopping the run. He helped his draft stock against Penn State, who has a line full of future pros. Newton could be the first defensive lineman selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.
2. Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota played North Carolina close for most of the way, but then the Tar Heels pulled away late. Their defense tried to keep them in the game, but there wasn’t enough offensive firepower to aid them. Tyler Nubin played well at safety for the Golden Gophers, finishing with seven total tackles.
While Drake Maye passed for over 400 yards and Nubin didn’t get to show off his ball skills, he did play a part in helping the defense bend and not break for a lot of the game. He has good athleticism and range. Nubin has shown off his ball skills in other games this season and will likely be selected in the first few rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.
3. Jason Marshall Jr., CB, Florida Gators
Florida was able to get a big win over their rivals Tennessee at home this week. They ran the ball well, but their defense also shut down a Tennessee offense that was expected to be impressive this season. Marshall helped their defense, although he did get beat deep a few times. He had three total tackles in the game.
Marshall has struggled against good competition and with players who have the speed to stretch the field vertically. His stock has dropped since his good freshman season. He still could be a mid to late-round pick in the 2024 draft. If he wants to improve that stock, he’ll have to play better in big matchups th rest of the way.
4. Antwane Wells Jr., WR, South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina kept it closer than many of the experts expected against Georgia, losing 24-14. Their offense showed some promise early, but faded down the stretch. A big reason for that was Wells played early in the beginning of the game before exiting with a foot injury that has limited him this season. He had two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown in a very short amount of time.
While he wasn’t able to play long, Wells did impress. His touchdown came on a catch and run where he displayed his elusiveness. The game will help his stock, but most importantly Wells needs to get healthy to help his stock. He will likely be one of the top 10 receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft if he is medically cleared.
5. Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky had a tall task taking on Ohio State on the road. The Hilltoppers fell to the Buckeyes 63-10. Their offense showed some nice flashes though and part of that was thanks to Malachi Corley. Corley hauled in eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown.
It was a solid performance for Corley and it came against good competition. That is important because this is the best team the Hilltoppers will play all season. He was able to show off his ability to run after the catch with his touchdown catch and run on a screen. Corley should be selected on day two or early day three of the 2024 NFL Draft.
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