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Week 7 Players to Watch

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of ABC57.


Draft 412 is ready for Saturday’s games and wants to make sure you are as well. Each week, we will go through the games and the players to watch, on our way to the draft in April 2024.


Here is our preview for - Week 7:


#8 Oregon (5-0) at #7 Washington (5-0) 3:30 pm ABC (SATURDAY)


Line- Washington (-3)


Draft 412 Prediction - Washington 35 Oregon 27


The PAC 12 has 3 teams in the top 10 (Washington, Oregon, USC), and the only other conference who can match that is the Big 10 (Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State). This is the first of several matchups that will help separate the top teams in the conference. This matchup will feature several high end draft prospects.


Oregon - Quarterback - Bo Nix


The ex-Auburn signal caller has re-established himself in Eugene over the past two seasons. He has been near flawless in 2023, completing 80% of his passes and only throwing 1 interception. Nix has to prove to the NFL scouts that he can perform the same way in an NFL offense and not just the high powered, gimmicky Oregon offense. This will be a good matchup against a solid Washington defense that has some NFL talent. The knock on Nix has been he is slow to process pre-snap reads, and his decision making has been questionable in the past at Auburn. He is still better at throwing outside the pocket and may never be the traditional pocket passer.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile of Bo Nix…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-bo-nix


Washington - Quarterback - Michael Penix Jr.


If it wasn’t for USC quarterback Caleb Williams, we may be talking about Penix as the #1 overall pick and the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. He has already thrown for 1,999 yards, which is 2nd in the country and has thrown 16 touchdowns. The biggest question mark on the ex-Indiana transfer was his injury history, but he is now working on back to back elite seasons while staying healthy. He does an excellent job of distributing the ball around the field and looks off safeties, creating separation in zone coverages. Penix will need to be at the top of his game to keep up with Oregon and their high powered offense.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Michael Penix Jr.

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-michael-penix-jr


Oregon- Running Back- Bucky Irving


Bucky Irving will be called on early and often to keep the Husky defense on their heels this Saturday. He is a big part of what keeps this offense churning and teams from just focusing on the pass. He is both a weapon running the ball and also has 18 receptions, forcing teams to account for him in the passing game.


Washington’s defense has been susceptible to formidable running games this season and Oregon will look to Irving and his 7.9 yards per carry to put pressure on the Huskies. Irving has the speed to stretch defenses and a big play is waiting each time the ball is in his hands.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Bucky Irving…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-bucky-irving


Washington - Wide Receiver - Rome Odunze


Arguably the best combination in college football, Penix to Odunze is a huge concern for Oregon’s defense. Odunze is averaging 19 yards on his 32 receptions and this big play receiver can beat you anywhere on the field and is exceptional in 50/50 balls. Oregon will have to figure out a way to shut down Odunze without letting Ja’Lynn Polk have his way on the Ducks' defense. Polk is also averaging 18 yards per catch this season.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Rome Odunze…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-rome-odunze


Others to Watch


Washington-DE- Bralen Trice

Oregon- DE- Brandon Dorlus

Washington- WR- Jalen Polk

Washington- CB- Dominique Hampton

Oregon- DB- Evan Williams

Oregon- WR- Troy Franklin



Pitt (1-4) at #14 Louisville (6-0) 6:30 PM CW (SATURDAY)


Line- Louisville (-8)


Draft 412 Prediction - Louisville 31 Pitt 13


The Louisville Cardinals sit atop the ACC standings at 6-0, coming off an upset win over Notre Dame last weekend. Pitt has done nothing but struggle in the early going but Draft 412 is excited to see former Penn State transfer Christian Veilleux take over the reins at quarterback. The athletic quarterback will be making his first collegiate start.


Louisville- Running Back- Jawhar Jordan


Jordan was named a Draft 412 six-pack winner from week 6 after shredding a solid Notre Dame defense for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns in Louisville’s 33-20 upset victory. He is 9th in the country with 653 yards on the year with a 7.5 yards per carry average. Draft 412 looks forward to seeing if the 5’10” junior running back is the real deal this Saturday.


Pittsburgh- Defensive Back- Donovan McMillon


Louisville comes into Acrisure Stadium averaging 192 yards per game on the ground and will look to attack the Panthers' defense. Pitt safety Donovan McMillon is the team's leading tackler and has been a physical presence in the secondary since taking over as a starter in week 3.


McMillon is an aggressive defender who plays downhill and is not afraid to put a hit on the ball carrier. He diagnoses plays quickly and is a very versatile asset for Defensive Coordinator Randy Bates and the defense. Draft 412 thinks McMillon is one of the few Panthers players trending in the right direction.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Donovan McMillon…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-donovan-mcmillon


Pittsburgh- Tight End- Gavin Bartholomew


Another Panthers player trending in the right direction despite not being used nearly enough is tight end Gavin Bartholomew. Bartholomew is averaging 21.5 yards per reception and even though he only has caught 12 passes he has shown scouts that he has strong hands and body control and can stretch the seams of the defense. His blocking is still a work in progress but in today’s NFL an athletic tight end with dependable hands is much more coveted. The question now is, with new quarterback Christian Veilleux under center, will Gavin Bartholomew see more targets? Draft 412 thinks the answer is yes.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Gavin Bartholomew

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-gavin-bartholomew


Louisville- Quarterback- Jack Plummer


The 6’5”, 6th year quarterback has Louisville 6-0 but it has not done much to improve his draft stock. He has thrown 6 interceptions in 6 games and still has problems with his mechanics and footwork. He struggles to drive the ball in tight windows and even though he has the prototypical NFL size he is not blessed with a strong arm. Draft 412 has him projected as an UDFA, as he will need to improve his play to climb into the later rounds.


Others to Watch


Pittsburgh- RB- Rodney Hammond

Pittsburgh- LB- Shayne Simon

Louisville- WR- Jamari Thrash

Louisville- DL- Ashton Gillotte

Pittsburgh- QB- Christian Veilleux



#10 USC (6-0) at #21 Notre Dame (5-2) 7:30 PM NBC (Saturday)


Line- Notre Dame (-2)


Draft 412 Prediction - USC 38 Notre Dame 20


Notre Dame is coming off a 33-20 upset loss to Louisville and the Trojans of USC have been putting up electric offensive numbers on their way to a 6-0 start. USC did escape a harrowing triple OT win against Arizona, which has people scratching their heads.


Caleb Williams will have his first real test of 2023 against a Notre Dame defense that is littered with future NFL talent. Notre Dame will need a big game from Sam Hartman, who is coming off a poor performance against Louisville.


Notre Dame - Quarterback - Sam Hartman


Sam Hartman started 2023 on fire, throwing 14 touchdowns without an interception in his first 6 games. That all changed last weekend against Louisville. Hartman threw 3 interceptions and made some other poor decisions in a game that Notre Dame was supposed to have won. He reverted back to some of his old habits from his time at Wake Forest and looked unsure in the pocket all game long. This will be a huge chance for Hartman to redeem himself against an athletic USC defense. Hartman is still at best an early day 3 pick.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Sam Hartman…

https://www.draft412wwwcom/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-sam-hartman


USC- Quarterback- Caleb Williams


Caleb Williams has done everything expected of him and then some to start the 2023 season. He has over 1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns and is well on his way to his 2nd Heisman Trophy. This Notre Dame defense brings a unique challenge to Williams however. They are fast, talented and for the first time Williams will play against a competent unit. Notre Dame will bring looks and pressure that teams like Colorado and Arizona couldn’t. This is a game many scouts have circled on their calendars to see how he will perform on a big stage—on the road in a raucous stadium.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Caleb Williams…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-caleb-williams



Notre Dame - Linebacker- Jack Kiser


Notre Dame’s defense will have to make plays and control a USC offense that is putting up huge numbers for Notre Dame to have any chance to beat the Trojans. Linebacker Jack Kiser is an athletic player in the middle of the defense who makes plays all over the field and has a non-stop motor coupled with big play ability. He will have Caleb Williams in his sights all night long and will have to put his coverage skills to the test. Kiser is an undersized linebacker who can help his draft stock against a team loaded with future NFL talent.


To see more on Draft 412’s profile of Jack Kiser…

https://www.draft412.com/post/nfl-draft-prospect-preview-jack-kiser


USC- WR’s- Tahj Washington, Brenden Rice, Mario Williams


The USC Trojans have by far and away the most talented wide receiver room in the country. In fact, Draft 412 thinks some NFL teams may think about trading theirs for the Trojans. The trio of Washington, Rice and Williams have already combined for 59 catches for 1,096 yards and 13 touchdowns. What makes the Trojans receivers so special is they can beat you short, long, or after the catch. The pressure they put on the Notre Dame defense will help running back Marshawn Lloyd to have a big night at running back.


Others to Watch


USC- DE- Solomon Byrd

USC- WR- Dorian Singer

USC- S- Jaylin Smith

Notre Dame - TE - Mitchell Evans

Notre Dame - DL- Howard Cross III

Notre Dame- T- Joe Alt

Notre Dame- RB- Audric Estime

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