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2017 NFL Draft Prospects: Who to watch on Conference Championship weekend

With many of the top teams in college football playing for conference titles this week, we run down the names of top NFL prospects to watch.

CFP National Championship - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As we approach the unfortunate end of the college football regular season, we’re running out of chances to check out some of the players that are really good at playing football and scoring touchdowns and preventing touchdowns and things of that nature. We’ll be crushed when Ted Thompson doesn’t draft them, it’s a pretty cyclical process.

With some of the most important games of the season taking place this weekend, here are the players to keep an eye on during these games:

Friday Games

Western Michigan vs Ohio - MAC Championship Game

Corey Davis is the only major prospect in this game, as the WMU WR has run roughshod through defenses all season. He’s helped the Fighting P.J. Flecks to an undefeated season, and is looking to push his team into a New Year’s 6 Bowl game. He’s 6’3” 213 and is one of the best receivers in this class.

Taylor Moton, WMU’s right tackle could also be really #good, but we don’t know yet for sure. He’s a solid athlete for his size, 6’5” 328, expect to hear his name more as we approach the draft.

Another prospect to keep an eye on is Tarell Basham, an EDGE for Ohio. 6’4” and 262, he recently accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, and could be a late riser as the draft process gets deeper into Draft SZN.

Washington vs Colorado - PAC 12 Championship Game

Okay so I’m not going to thoroughly write up all of Washington’s prospects, but here’s a short list: WR John Ross (Packer fans should REALLY want him), WR Dante Pettis, CB Sidney Jones, CB Kevin King, S Budda Baker, DL Vita Vea, and DL Elijah Qualls. The Washington roster is stacked with talent, a lot of it on the defensive side of the ball.

Colorado has much less high-profile talent, but they have a couple guys worth watching. QB Sefo Liufao is a borderline NFL prospect but he’ll get looks because he’s big and athletic. He’s also a 4 year starter, which NFL teams love. NT Josh Topou is 6’3” and 325, and could definite garner looks in GB’s 3-4 scheme, you know, provided the entire coaching staff isn’t fired on a weekly basis. The other prospect to keep an eye on is CB Chidobie Awuzie. He’s a playmaker and has helped turn this program around. He’ll be a popular name going forward.

Saturday Games

Bedlam - Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State

Dede Westbrook is likely the most intriguing player in this game for Packer fans, as the speedster from Oklahoma is the man-beater that the Packers lack to stretch the defense vertically. He’s really skinny, probably weighing less than his 175 lb listed weight, but he scares defenses, something the Packer offense doesn’t do.

Alabama vs Florida - SEC Championship Game

Like Washington, Alabama has too many prospects to write up, but here’s a list of those you should keep an eye out for: TE O.J. Howard, DL Jonathan Allen, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, DL Da’Shawn Hand, LB Reuben Foster, EDGE Tim Williams, EDGE Ryan Anderson, and CB Marlon Humphrey. Woof.

Florida also has a bevy of talent, but I don’t expect them to score a point in this game, as Alabama’s defense is stifling and Florida’s offense makes the Badgers look like a Big XII offense. DL Caleb Brantley, DL Bryan Cox Jr, LB Jarrad Davis, CBs Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor, and S Marcus Maye are all worth watching. (Notice, none of them play offense).

Clemson vs Virginia Tech - ACC Championship Game

Clemson has a lot of talent as well, but offensively WR Artavis Scott and TE Jordan Leggett should get Packer fans’ attention. Scott will play in the slot in the NFL, and he’s good after the catch. He’s likely leaving early due to QB DeShaun Watson leaving early. Leggett is one of the better TE’s in this class, and could cultivate Day 2 attention. The other receiver to watch is Mike Williams (yes, there’s another one), but he will likely be gone in the first half of the first round - an area where the Packers might win their way out of by season’s end. Also, on Ted Thompson’s penchant for drafting white, non-elite athlete ILBs, Ben Boulware could also get late looks.

Virginia Tech is the Bucky Hodges show, at least as far as the Draft is concerned. Hodges (a tight end) and Isaiah Ford are the two weapons on offense for the Hokies, who Badger fans should be cheering for if they want Wisconsin to make the Playoff. Defensively, Brandon Facyson was mocked to the Packers this week in a major mock, so he’s worth watching as well.

Wisconsin vs Penn State - B1G Championship Game

Corey Clement is a Day 3 back, and Robert Wheelright is likely an undrafted free agent WR, so other than that, there’s not much on the Badger offense. The one name to watch is LT Ryan Ramczyk, a junior who transferred from UW-Stevens Point. There’s a possibility that he could declare a year early and make the jump to the NFL. On defense, EDGEs Vince Biegel and T.J. Watt headline the defensive talent. Both should be drafted in the first 3 rounds come the Draft, if Watt declares (I think he will). CB Sojourn Shelton and S Leo Musso are both undersized DBs, and likely won’t be drafted, but will get camp invites.

Penn State has two juniors in WR Chris Godwin and TE Mike Gesicki as the ones to watch, with star RB Saquon Barkley still being a true sophomore. Godwin has turned it on as of late, and Gesicki is starting to live up to the recruiting hype. Both could declare this season, Godwin being more likely to.

Other miscellaneous players to watch:

Donnell Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State - Mountain West Championship Game

Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky - Sun Belt Championship Game