CFB: Week 5 Player Matchups

After an exciting and dramatic week 4 in college football, we return for another round of intriguing games. As always that means some excellent player matchups between draft prospects. Here’s our top three.

Graham Barton vs Javontae Jean-Baptiste

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Duke could be a tricky opponent for Notre Dame on the back of a close loss to Ohio State. One player who flashed throughout that game was edge rusher Javontae Jean-Baptiste. Although he is yet to get home and record a sack this season, he has the speed to cause problems off the edge. He has been physical in the run game since landing a starting spot for the Irish.

Before that, the former 4-star prospect was a bit-part player for the Buckeyes. He recorded 8 sacks in his Ohio State career but transferred to win a starting gig. His athleticism and speed could cause problems for Duke left tackle Graham Barton.

Once again Barton has proved to be an excellent blocker for the Blue Devils, who remain unbeaten. That has allowed Riley Leonard to thrive in both the passing and run game. Barton, has conceded only one sack through four games and earned a pass-blocking grade of 80.3. While I feel he will be more suited on the interior at the next level, he certainly has the potential to be a day two prospect.

Devin Neal vs Jaylan Ford

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Devin Neal and Jalon Daniels form one of the most productive QB-RB tandem’s in college football. The duo have propelled the Kansas Jayhawks back to being a force in the Big 12. Neal, has already racked up 394 rushing yards and five touchdowns at 6.9 yards per attempt. He also offers a threat in the passing game, having been targeted 12 times and averaging 13.2 yards per reception.

That ability as a receiver makes for an intriguing matchup with Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford. He has already contributed two interceptions this season, with a coverage grade of 74.6. It will be intersting to see if Daniels looks to test the middle of the Longhorns defense.

You can expect Kansas to try and establish the run through Neal who has top-end speed. He is equally adept at breaking to the outside or using his lateral agility to open gaps up the gut. That will not only test Ford’s sideline-to-sideline range but also his physicality. 

If Neal can pull off some early chunk runs, the Jayhawks could worry Texas and look to derail their playoff ambitions.

Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint vs DJ James

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A back injury to wide receiver Ladd McConkey has allowed another receiver to step up at National Champions Georgia. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint has been the most explosive receiving threat, behind tight end Brock Bowers. Rosemy-Jacksaint has 182 receiving yards at an average of 16.5 yards per attempt. 

He offers a more traditional outside threat that Georgia hasn’t really had since George Pickens. If teams try and limit Bowers, it should allow more one-on-one matchups for Rosemy-Jacksaint. In those situations his long frame and excellent catch radius make him a difficult cover.

Stepping up to the plate on Saturday will be DJ James. Defense hasn’t been the major problem for Auburn this season. The more pressing issue has been transfer QB Peyton Thorne failing to find his feet. You expect James and the defense to get plenty of snaps against the Bulldogs offense.

The former Oregon cornerback has impressed for the Tigers, last year recording six pass breakups and two interceptions. He already has one pick against California this year and will relish facing the best the SEC can throw at him. At 164lbs, the physical contest between him and the imposing Rosemy-Jacksaint is set to be one of the best battles of the weekend.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at