2022 NFL Draft: Prospects that can make a difference on championship weekend

12/03/2021
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It’s bizarre to believe that the college football season is coming to a close. Once we get through championship weekend, it’s essentially full steam ahead towards the 2022 NFL Draft. While it excites me, I also hate to see the college football season come to a close.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of players to watch and even more tape to grind.

With championship weekend upon us, we will finally get the answers we’re looking for to the million dollar question: who will be in the college football playoff? As it sits today, it’s Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, and Cincinnati. Things could get interesting as Houston will look to spoil the Bearcats perfect season and you can never count out the Crimson Tide. Whatever game(s) you plan on watching, here are some 2022 NFL Draft prospects that can make a difference on championship weekend!

Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

Starting with the consensus top interior offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft, Tyler Linderbaum will have his hands full. Playing against the Michigan Wolverines for the first time this season, Linderbaum will have to deal with a rotation of defensive lineman that can absolutely get after it.

There’s a solid rotation of guys on the interior with Mazi Smith, Donovan Jeter, and Christopher Hinton for the Wolverines. Jeter made some impressive plays against the Buckeyes this past weekend and Hinton has good length and athleticism for the position. By far, Smith poses the biggest threat as he’s stout against the run, plays with consistently low pad level, and has a knack for working his hands faster than the opposition.

Can Linderbaum handle the task? He absolutely can. Listed at 6-3 and 290 pounds, he plays much bigger. He’s a smooth operator in space, climbs consistently to the second level, and is always square upon and through contact on a defender. There are chances that he’ll have to match up against David Ojabo or potential first overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson. If the Hawkeyes are going to have any success on offense, it’ll start up front and it all starts with a presumptive first-round pick in Tyler Linderbaum.

Abram Smith, RB, Baylor

Earlier this year, the Baylor Bears and Oklahoma State Cowboys met in a defensive battle that only had 38 total points scored. The Cowboys won 24-14 thanks to the 10 points they scored in the fourth quarter.

Despite a strong showing in the final minutes of play, the Baylor Bears can easily win this game and potentially punch their ticket to the college football playoff. The key to their game plan should be to feed Abram Smith as much as possible. Considered one of the top running backs in the country and potentially one of the five best running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft, Smith only had 10 carries in his first meeting against the Cowboys.

Since then, Smith has averaged over 21 carries per game. In his last six games, he’s had 18 carries or more and has had over 100 yards rushing or more in five of those six games. With over 1,300 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the season, Smith has solidified himself as a draftable prospect.

The former linebacker turned running back has a physical running style that teams are going to love. He runs downhill and initiates contact with any defender that gets in his way. While he doesn’t have breakaway speed, he has enough speed in space to make a difference at the next level. Furthermore, he could make the biggest impact of any player on championship weekend.

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

It’s no secret how talented Williams is for the Crimson Tide. The former Ohio State Buckeye had limited production in Columbus but has since seen his draft stock soar in Tuscaloosa.

Since Week 6n, Williams has tallied 44 receptions for 897 yards and 10 touchdowns. Clearly he’s built rapport with quarterback Bryce Young and I think that will continue for more success on Saturday against Georgia.

Williams is explosive and shifty before and after the catch. Get the ball in his hands and magic can happen. He’s got terrific size at 6-2 and 189 pounds and it’s starting to feel like he’s just now scratching the surface. He’ll need to get better through some contact from more physical defensive backs but that will come in time. Maybe he’ll take a step in the right direction with that on Saturday against Georgia.

Don’t be surprised if we start talking about him more as we approach the 2022 NFL Draft. There are a plethora of talented wide receivers in the draft but he could really separate himself or at least put himself in the first-round conversation with another strong performance to close out the season.

Keep in mind, we should never count out Nick Saban. He always knows how to get his players ready for big games like this. While Georgia has a stacked defense with incredible talent at all three levels, there’s one player that can make a difference to help Alabama punch its ticket to the playoff. That player could be Jameson Williams.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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