Well, here we go. The path to the 2019 NFL Draft is on.
Though to be fully honest, it’s been on for a week but I full comfortable absolving you of any culpability for having missed last weekend’s Duquesne at UMass or Thursday’s Savannah State-UAB scuttlebutt.
No, the sincerity of the college football season’s debut is to be had today.
The top 25. Ranked-on-ranked matchups. The mighty North Texas Mean Green. Ah yes, it is finally here.
A couple of things to watch for Los Angeles Rams fans.
12:00pm ET, ABC
Ohio St. is one of the best teams in the country, and unsurprisingly then, they’re loaded with NFL talent. But a scandal-ridden last month has left them without Head Coach Urban Meyer for the first three games. They should be able to handle business against the Beavers and against Rutgers in Week 2, but a Week 3 game against #16 TCU looms large. Winning today alone won’t quell Buckeye fans’ concerns if (a) it’s not overwhelming or (b) it’s slow to develop.
With potential 2019 NFL Draft #1 overall pick DE Nick Bosa and fellow first-round prospect DT Dre’Mont Jones managing things up front, the D-line should control things early on to help OSU settle into a running game powered by RB J.K. Dobbins who could be the country’s heir to Penn St. product Saquon Barkley.
12:00pm ET, FS1
These two are facing off to start the year for the second time running. Last year, things kicked off with a 51-41 win for Maryland that immediately derailed Texas’ hopes of then-first-year Head Coach Tom Herman pulling a Sean McVay and turning things around immediately. This year, it’s a bit of a must-win. But even then, it won’t suffice. If Texas’ season is defined by this game, it’s a problem. They have to head to the Terrapins’ backyard and do what they couldn’t last year just to avoid a pitfall.
WR Collin Johnson will be the focal point for evaluators to start the season. A lithe 6’6” wideout, he’ll draw tons of attention from opposing secondaries. Perhaps of more intrigue to Rams fans could be DE Breckyn Hager. Recognize that last name? For good reason. He’s Rams ILB Bryce Hager’s younger brother. It’s not one of the more talented UT teams we’ve seen, but it is incredibly experienced. And keep an eye on Maryland G Damian Prince. He’s got NFL skills.
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech in AT&T Stadium...
12:00pm ET, ESPN
What the hell is this?
#6 Washington vs. #9 Auburn: HOOK IT TO MY VEINS
3:30pm ET, ABC
A top 10 v. top 10 on opening weekend. It’s so pure.
There’s a bit too much draft here to cover. For Washington, people will gravitate toward QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin, but LT Trey Adams is probably the best 2019 draft prospect on this roster even if he’s not 100% back from the ACL injury he suffered last year. And keep an eye on S Taylor Rapp. He could surpass Adams over the course of the season.
For Rams General Manager Les Snead’s alma mater, this squad is loaded. The offense is balanced, though it will absolutely run through QB Jarrett Stidham. The defense is even better. And their November schedule might be the hardest in the country, so uh...good luck!
#14 Michigan and #12 Notre Dame will bring you closer with your parents
7:30pm ET, NBC
Seriously. This is a game to watch with someone over the age of 50.
Rams fans absolutely need to watch this one. DL Rashan Gary is a top first-rounder, but LB Devin Bush could be at the top of Rams fans’ boards next year. S Khaleke Hudson could be close behind. And CB Lavert Hill could be an undersized depth option. Oh, and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is entertaining. Ole Miss transfer QB Shea Patterson is entertaining. I don’t know if this is an addition thing or multiplication thing but the math here is clear = entertaining!
One of the easiest teams to hate in the country is even easier to hate this year. Head Coach Brian Kelly plus one of the nation’s best defenses? Yeah, that’s what people wanna see! Still, Rams fans are going to be drawn to ILB Te’von Coney. And CB Julian Love. And if they can replace G Quenton Nelson and OT Mike McGlinchey who both went in the top nine of the 2018 NFL Draft (and if they can get through this one)...sorry, folks. We’re going to have to watch Notre Dame football.
Here’s your watch guide with full schedule, TV listing and stream options.