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College Football Friday: NFL Draft Prospect Preview

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

An exciting slate of Thursday games was a great way to kick off a packed weekend of college football and the fun continues tonight. While tonight may only have eight games, there are two ranked teams playing today and a few other fun groups to keep an eye on. Today should be a good day for college football fans, but there are also going to be some legit NFL prospects to keep an eye on all evening.

  • Vita Vea, Defensive Line, Washington: Washington has sent quite a few very good prospects to the NFL the last few years. Just last year, they had three of their defensive backs go in the second round (Sidney Jones likely would have been a first round pick if healthy). Before that, guys like Marcus Peters and Shaq Thompson have been awesome defensive prospects to make an impact in the NFL. So it is safe to say the Huskies know how to produce defenders. After last year's appearance in the College Football Playoff, Washington returns quite a few playmakers on both sides of the ball. Arguably their best prospect is their behemoth, 6'5", 340 pound defensive lineman, Vita Vea. Vea is as massive as he is disruptive and his athletic ability allows him to move around the defensive line for Washington. They will need him this year more than ever given the playmakers they lost to the league and he will kick off his season against Rutgers (8 PM ET on FS1). Washington ran Rutgers off the field last season and this year could be the same, especially if Vea continues his dominant play.
  • Philip Lindsay, Running Back, Colorado: Colorado enjoyed a seriously good season last year, in part due to the many awesome players they had on the defensive side of the ball. However, their unsung hero was running back Philip Lindsay. At 5'9" and 190 pounds, he looks more like a slot receiver than a running back. However, he is a tough runner with good quickness, leg drive and vision. On top of his talents as a pure runner, he is also a major option in the passing game. With Colorado losing Sefo Liufau to the NFL, Lindsay will be leaned on even more than he was last year. Colorado has an in state rivalry game with Colorado State today (8 PM ET on Pac 12 Network). Colorado Sate is playing in their second game of the season which some could say would give them a readiness advantage. It will be important for Lindsay to make plays from the get-go in order for Colorado to knock of the 1-0 Rams.
  • D'Cota Dixon, Safety, Wisconsin: Last year, the Badgers fielded one of the tougher teams in college football and their defense was its staple. The Badgers had a ton of defensive playmakers, sending TJ Watt and Vince Biegel to the NFL with the former being a first round pick. Those two massively overshadowed Wisconsin's playmaker in the secondary, D'Cota Dixon. Dixon stands at only 5'10", but he is a feisty defender who makes an impact in the passing and running game. In his first season starting, Dixon picked off four passes, knocked down four more and picked up 60 tackles. As a senior, Dixon is going to be depended on as a leader on that defense, esecpially since Jack Cichy went down with a season ending injury a few days ago. The Badgers open their season against Utah State (9 PM ET on ESPN) and the Aggies are no cupcake team. With Wisconsin looking for plays from a lot of young players, it will be up to Dixon to lead the team and start his senior year strong with a winning performance.
  • Harold Landry, Edge Defender, Boston College: Depending on who you ask, Harold Landry is probably the best draft eligible defender in college football this year. The 6'3", 250 pound pass rusher had 16.5 sacks last year and a whopping 22 tackles for a loss. Landry is an athletic player with burst and excellent technique around the edge. He is the cornerstone of a consistently stingy Boston College defense and this year will be no different. Boston College is taking on NIU (9:30 PM ET on CBSSN) and while NIU is no powerhouse, the BC offense can seemingly never be depended on to win football games. Alas, the defense will need to pitch a strong game to give BC a good chance and with Harold Landry poised for a huge senior year, NIU looks like they're in trouble.

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