NFL Draft Prospects to Watch on CFB Week 8: Oregon vs UCLA

The battle for control of the Pac-12 features possible #1 Overall Pick.

 

It's Week 8 in college football, and out west we have nearly half the teams in the Pac-12 with a chance to go home with the Conference Championship; but after this week, the real contenders will show themselves. While the trend is that the Pac-12 is a step or two behind the SEC, BigTen, and possibly even the ACC, we won't have factual evidcence of that until Bowl Season. But for now, two of the hottest teams in the conference, Oregon and UCLA will face off with a chance to possiby establish their first foothold on representing their respective conference divisions at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. After the conclusion of this game, both teams will definitely be keeping their eyes on the results Utah vs Oregon State, which pits the leader of the South Division with the North Division's #2. When the dust settles we'll probably have a clear idea of who'll be playing in Vegas in December and who'll be praying for possible Rose Bowl consideration or an at-large bid to a presitgious bowl game. With what's at stake I expect a tight, low scoring game that features some big plays sprinkled in that will determine the victor. If Oregon can win with some style points, they may find themselves right outside of the Top 5. However, this unranked UCLA team is better than advertised, so as the cliche goes...."don't call it an upset" if they win. Hopefully the Coaches and AP Polls will finally put some "respeckt" on their name if they do.

 

 

The Packers have made 10 selections from Oregon, dating back to 1939 with John Yerby. The most recent Duck has been 2020's 6th Rounder Jake Hanson who was selected 208th Overall. 

 

The UCLA Bruins have contributed 17 players to the Packers' history, with their 2 biggest names coming from both sides of the line. Center Mike Flanagan was selected 90th Overall in the 3rd Round of 1996 and was a mainstay on the Packers offensive line for over a decade. More recently, a Bruin has anchored the defensive line and should continue for years to come, 27th Overall Pick Kenny Clark from the 2016 Draft Class.

 

 

Let's see who we should keep in eye on in this week's contest between the Ducks and the Bruins:

 

 

 

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge - Oregon

 

I hate labeling players "edge" but Thibodeaux can truly play the entire edge....and he hasn't even completely filled in yet!!!! Thibodeaux has actually been on NFL scouts watchlists since he was in High School....he's THAT good. The Packers have zero chance of nabbing him, barring some character concerns (players they never take a risk on anyway) or a huge injury that might cause him to miss the majority of his rookie year....and even then he would probably still got Top 10. Thibodeaux, reminds me of Ray Lewis....he has amazing instincts. There's not a single play where he can't find his way to the QB or the ball carrier. At 6'5/260, I'm equally horrified as I am mystified of what his eventual size could be. He could be the perfect 3-4 DE at 6'5/275 or an immediate Pro Bowl 4-3 DE if he doesn't put on anymore muscle. Regardless, Thibodeaux will be terrorizing NFL QBs for decades. Current Projection: Top-5 Pick

 

Verone McKinley III, S - Oregon

 

McKinley has been playing major snaps for the Ducks since he was a RS Freshman, he's just about seen it all on the football field. McKinley is versatile, he can play the Free Safety position, Nickel, and I wouldn't mind leaving him on the boundary in a pinch. He has better than good tackling form, doesn't overpursue, and has great football IQ. McKinley will force QBs to either throw it out of the endzone or throw to the sideline because if the throw isn't on the money, he'll take it right out of the sky or get the deflection. Current Projection: Top-25 Pick

 

Mykael Wright, CB - Oregon

 

Wright is a sticky corner, he can hang with all but probably the most elite of speedsters which is good enough for the majority of the league to play on the boundary. He doesn't have a lot of production in the stat sheet however. He does tackle though. Sometimes when it comes to defensive schemes that call a lot of man coverages, you want the CB able to either be able to deflect the ball or get the interception; Wright may not have many of those but he can keep a WR off his route and force the QB to go to his checkdown or throw it away. I have Wright listed as 5'11, so as long as that holds up at the Combine he shouldn't be considered as a Nickel only guy. This CB Class is still fleshing itself out though but I expect Wright to have his name called by the end of Round 2. Current Projection: Top-50 Pick

 

 

DJ James, CB - Oregon

 

James is the other CB for the Ducks and while he doesn't have the same extensive record as the previous mentioned defenders, he's reliable in coverage. James is a bit taller than Wright, listed at 6'0 so he should be firmly in the coversation for boundary corner. What I would also like to see out of James is more ball production, and to be a little less grabby while in phase with the WR. James is also going to have some character questions at the Combine as he's been suspended for breaking team rules. I think James will have a better pro career than college if he gets the right opportunity....which could be a Packers defense sans Kevin King. Current Projection: Top-100 Pick

 

 

Alex Forsyth, C - Oregon

 

Normally talented interior linemen like Forsyth get moved around, but I want to keep him right where he is at Center(Unless he comes to the Packers, then RG). Forsyth can get to the second level of just about any and every run play, which will have teams who run an inside zone scheme salivating at the thought of him on their offensives. Unfortunately, Matt LeFleur runs an outside zone scheme, so the Packers may not give him much consideration. But Forsyth, while I wouldn't consider him a plus athlete for a Center, has some really good strength, he gets to the 2nd level not because of athleticism, but purely because he can bowl guys over. Curreny Projection: 4th Round Pick

 

 

Devon Williams, WR - Oregon

 

Williams transferred from USC to Oregon a year ago, and has had some success since arriving in Eugene. He doesn't have great numbers, or even good numbers. But teams will fall in love with his size at 6'5. Williams has above average hands, and has some decent route running ability to boot. For teams like the Packers who love long WRs, he could possibly get overdrafted (hopefully not by the Packers). Current Projection: 5th Round Pick

 

 

 

 

Kyle Phillips, WR - UCLA

 

Phillips is the slot WR that teams long for. He's shifty, has great hands, and plays with a high IQ. He's the guy a QB loves to have because he knows if he gets it to him its a catch, and often much more. I know the Packers love their skyscrapers, but considering who's under contract in 2022, Phillips while not blazing fast, or tall at 5'10, is a guy who can earn Aaron Rodgers trust sooner than later....which means he'll also see the field sooner than later. Current Projection: 4th Round Pick

 

 

Sean Rhyan, OL - UCLA

 

Rhyan play OT for the Bruins but I think he might be better as a Guard. I wonder if he has the tools to hold up against a talented edge rusher over the course of the game. (Against Thibodeaux, we'll know soon enough). His pas pro is ahead of his run blocking, but I still don't know if he should be on the outside or not. He certainly has the experience....technique isn't too bad either. Depending on how this game plays out, we'll know something. Current Projection: 5th Round Pick

 

 

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB - UCLA

 

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, or DTR as they call him, could be the next big mobile QB in the NFL....if he's given time to develop. He has an arm, but needs to work on his touch passes. He can drive the ball when necessary, but is mechanics and footwork are sometimes out of whack. He needs to be polished or those raw skills will expose him to a lot of interceptions. Current Projection: 6th Round Pick

 

 

 

#10 Oregon takes on UCLA in the Rose Bowl at 2:30 CST on ABC. Check your channel guide for local listings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 up to that year's upcoming Draft.

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