Week 9 Prospect Matchups

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

You don’t need to travel far from South Bend, Indiana to find many of the best head-to-head prospect matchups in college football this weekend. There will be at least four top-100 selections facing off as well as several assorted mid-round picks taking on higher-rated prospects.

North Carolina State vs. Notre Dame

NBC -- 3:30 p.m. EST

A titanic battle between two underrated teams offers several top prospects facing off against one another on the line of scrimmage. Notre Dame has played better than expected this season, while the underrated N.C. State Wolfpack could stake their claim to a top-10 ranking with a win Saturday.

The Wolfpack boast one of the best defensive lines in the nation. Only ACC foe Clemson has more talent, as we rank the N.C. State defensive line ahead of Alabama’s. Meanwhile on our board Notre Dame has the highest-rated offensive tackle and offensive guard.

I’ve gushed over Bradley Chubb for more than a year and believe he’s a better version of Derek Barnett, who was selected by the Eagles last April with the draft’s 14th pick. Chubb is large, strong and athletic. He can bend off the edge around blockers or beat them with a bullrush. Had he entered the 2017 draft, Chubb likely would have ended up a top-12 pick. As it presently stands, we grade him as the third-best prospect in the nation.

Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey would’ve competed to be the first offensive tackle selected in last April’s draft had he declared. McGlinchey is smart, technically sound and very efficient. He lacks the athleticism and agility of Chubb, which he must guard against. 

Chubb versus McGlinchey will be one of the best face-to-face battles between a top-rated defensive end and offensive tackle this season. 

It doesn’t end there for McGlinchey, as he’ll have his hands full with fast rising Kentavius Street, who can also get after the passer.

Moving inside, B.J. Hill is a player I’ve praised since his sophomore season. He’s not flashy but is very efficient, fundamentally sound and well-rounded. Hill has the athleticism to shoot the gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage and the girth to occupy blockers and allow teammates to get to the ball.

He’ll have his hands full on Saturday against Quenton Nelson, our top-rated guard. Nelson has been a dominant lineman over the past three years who does just about everything well. 

He has the power edge over Hill and the brute force to contain the Wolfpack senior. Scouts stamped Hill as a sixth-round prospect entering the season, while I gave him a third-round grade. His battle against Nelson could help determine which is correct.

Nelson will also battle Justin Jones on occasion. Jones is a legitimate mid-round pick who does not have the size of his teammate Hill yet is slightly better making plays down the line of scrimmage and outside the box.