While we're getting ready for a week 3 matchup in Chicago, the college schedule kicked off the fourth week of the season with some sweet #MACtion last night (last night's game was neither sweet nor #MACtion-y).
Most teams are just about done with the preseason fillers (send all your medical supplies to the Florida Atlantic athletic department ASAP) and close to going all in on conference play. This week alone, we have great intraconference battles like Cal-USC, LSU-Auburn, Kansas St.-Oklahoma, Clemson-Florida St. and Arizona-Oregon (I leave out North Texas-Troy, but fear not; my 7-10 p.m. Saturday night has been assigned accordingly).
With that in mind and ahead of Upset Week 5 (just wait, though LSU-doesn't count...no second thought, send half your medical supplies to FAU and the other half to Towson), here are some of the more notable matchups that could have big repercussions on the 2013 NFL Draft when it comes to the Rams' options.
TCU #90 DE Stansly Maponga v. Virginia #78 OT Morgan Moses (12 p.m., ESPN)
Maponga's a quick, but short, end who uses his hands very well. He's off a to a slow start this year, but I doubt TCU coach Gary Patterson is all that worried; the Horned Frogs have given up all of six points so far this season in two games. While this game should be another relatively easy win for TCU, Maponga has his toughest challenge thus far with Moses, a mammoth RT who is tough to get around.
The rest of Saturday's key NFL Draft matchups for Rams fans after the jump.
Miami #77 OT Seantrel Henderson v. Georgia Tech #94 DE Izaan Cross (3 p.m., ESPN3)
Henderson, a former blue-chip recruit who bounced from USC to Miami, has yet to deliver on the recruiting hype from 2010 when he was the consensus top OT in the country. Last week, he got time at both left and right tackle. With talk that he may get the starting nod this week, it may be best for Miami and Henderson to slot him at RT with Malcolm Bunche on the left side. That would see Henderson having to deal with Cross and talented OLB Jeremiah Attaochu. Cross is nearly 300 pounds, so as a 3-4 end, he'll chip inside of Henderson often. Still, should they clash, it's a power on power battle that should be telling for both.
Missouri #34 DT Sheldon Richardson v. South Carolina #55 C T.J. Johnson (3:30 p.m., CBS)
Richardson's come out on fire this year; through three games, he's second among the Tigers in tackles. As a defensive tackle. Yikes. While he had the bigger stat line against Arizona St. last week, I though he looked better two weeks ago against Georgia. He's not the biggest 3-tech, but he works really well in tight space. It should be interesting to see him go up against Johnson then, a stout center with NFL size who can maul. I've got him mid-day 3 right now. If he is asked to handle Richardson often and does so appropriately, I'll likely bump him up to round 4-5 contention.
Cal #21 WR Keenan Allen v. USC #7 FS T.J. McDonald (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Watching how USC decides to cover Allen should be fun. I've still got him as my top WR for the 2013 NFL Draft right now (MTD prospect notes), coming off a nine catch, 80-yard performance at Ohio St. And yes, I WANT ALL TEH T.J.'S. McDonald's a rangy safety who, as you should expect from a USC safety, plays a bit overaggressive (MTD prospect notes). But DO NOT ask Lane Kiffin about him, as McDonald once stubbed his toe on a door frame, and Kiffin shall disclose nothing lest his enemies be informed. I gotta go.
LSU #18 DT Bennie Logan v. Auburn #71 OG John Sullen (7 p.m., ESPN)
Another 3-tech option here, as Logan and LSU head to Auburn in prime time. Get a good look at Michael Brockers' former linemate here when he goes up against a quality guard prospect in John Sullen. Sullen's a slower RG, but handles the power game well. Logan, on the other hand, is an explosive mover who wiggles through offensive lines way too easily for someone who's just under 300 lbs.
Michigan #77 OT Taylor Lewan - Notre Dame #89 DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
Lewan's now in his third year starting at LT for the Wolverines. KLM's been limited by injuries early on this season, but sounds like he's 100% to go. This is a good matchup to test Lewan. Given Rodger Saffold's continuously expanding injury resume, Lewan could well be in the hunt for the Rams in April. (P.S. Get a look in at Notre Dame's other DE, Stephon Tuitt. Pretty sure I don't want that guy in the NFC West)
Kansas St. CB #24 Nigel Malone - Oklahoma #4 WR Kenny Stills
Malone's got a tall task here. Stills is a hell of a wideout who can really work the sidelines and plays stronger than his frame off the line. Big, big game for both teams.
Clemson #55 C Dalton Freeman - FSU #93 DT Everett Dawkins
Florida State's defense is very, very, very good. I just want to note that out front, because I'm not as high on Dawkins as some are. I see him as a fringe draft guy (end of the 6th-UDFA range); I've seen some suggest he could be a late day 3 guy. Nevertheless, he's talented. That being the case, I am high on Freeman...at the college level. I don't know if he can cut it at the NFL level with his frame, but for a center he's very, very quick.
So that should fill up most of your Saturday. What positions are you keying in on now? Any teams impressing/surprising you? Any freshman standing out? ANYONE ELSE READY FOR THE 2017 NFL DRAFT?