'06 NFL Draft Watch: Scouting this Saturday - 9/13

As college football moves into full swing this weekend, Saturday starts off with a classic early-season rivalry and concludes with a tremendous match-up during the evening. Several top NFL prospects will be playing in nationally televised contests. Here is a report on the top pro talent playing in two of those games.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan (ABC/12PM EST)

Coming off an impressive victory in Pittsburgh last week, Notre Dame travels to "The Big House" taking on perennial rival Michigan.  The Wolverines themselves scored a decisive win over Northern Illinois seven days ago.  This game is full of talented pass catchers and a few good men up front.

A win in Ann Arbor on Saturday will have Gold-domers believing Charlie Weiss has brought the magic back to South Bend.  The majority of the pro talent on the Irish roster is of the mid- to late-round variety.  Maurice Stovall is a king-sized possession receiver who physically beats down opponents.  A terrific third-down or red zone target, Stovall should have plenty of opportunities against the Wolverines secondary.  On the other hand Rhema McKnight complements the playing style of his teammate, and the elusive wideout is tough to catch after the reception.  Junior Brady Quinn has the physical skills needed to be an NFL quarterback and should benefit under the tutelage of his new coach.

Michigan senior Jason Avant is one of the better possession wideouts in the nation and presently holds a first-day draft grade.  Junior receiver Steve Breaston is the team's home-run hitter and a game-impacting return specialist.  If he leaves for the NFL after this season, Breaston could be a top-60 selection.  Tight end Tim Massaquoi is a bit of an enigma; sized well and flashing big play abilities, Massaquoi is marginally productive and displays limited consistency.  On defense, Gabe Watson considered entering last April's draft but made the right choice returning to Michigan for his senior campaign.  The big tackle will now contend to be a top-32 selection in 2006.  Junior LaMarr Woodley could be the Wolverines' top NFL prospect.  An explosive pass rusher, Woodley is a terrific athlete who could also play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  Woodley looks like a sure-fire first-rounder. Michigan Draft Watch.

Texas vs Ohio State (ABC/8PM EST)

Much talked about all through the summer, the eyes of the nation will all be on Columbus as the second-ranked Longhorns visit number four Ohio State.  This game has all the makings of a great contest, and five potential first-round NFL draft choices will be on the field at any given time.  

Though Texas has had trouble winning the big game, they've put plenty of players into the early reaches of the NFL draft.  The next great offensive lineman to come from this program could well be tackle Jonathan Scott, a terrific athlete that can be used in a variety of systems.  While some question Scott's effort, there are no doubts about his physical skill.  Not far behind Scott is junior Justin Blalock, a terrific looking right tackle prospect.  Quarterback Vince Young is a human highlight reel and a one-man show.  He also has the potential to be a very early draft selection if he learns to become a passer and complete signal caller.  Rodrique Wright is a defensive tackle highly considered by NFL scouts.  Another good athlete who flashes game-impacting skills, Wright should be a top-32 selection next April.  Defensive back Michael Huff is an underrated prospect and a safety with tremendous cover skills.  Likewise, cornerback Cedric Griffin has the size and speed NFL scouts covet and would greatly improve his draft ranking with a productive senior campaign. Texas Draft Watch.

Ohio State has a bevy of first-day prospects on the defensive side of the ball, starting with linebacker A.J. Hawk.  A potential first-round choice, Hawk is an intense player constantly making plays in run defense or pass coverage.  Bobby Carpenter possesses mouth-watering size/speed numbers yet does not always play to them.  Presently rated as a third-round pick, many in the scouting community feel he has top-45 potential.  Safety Nate Salley is a solid centerfielder who likes to mix it up.  Another top-75 choice, teams which employ a two-deep system will be clamoring for his services next April.  The Buckeyes have placed many a talented cornerback into the NFL, and junior Ashton Youboty is next in line.  A shutdown cover man, this early-season test against the Longhorns' Vince Young will be a good one. Ohio State Draft Watch.

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