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College Football Watch List: Bills fans can monitor Sam Darnold taking on stingy Stanford

The college football train has a full head of steam, and it rolls into Week Two with plenty of intriguing games loaded with NFL draft prospects.

Here is a look at the games most pertinent to the Buffalo Bills' future draft plans.

This isn't simply a list of this weekend's contests that include NFL prospects. It's a Bills-centric rundown.

For example, at this point, you would not expect Buffalo to use a first-round pick on a running back in 2018, so Derrius Guice and Saquon Barkley aren't listed here.


  • Oklahoma State at South Alabama, 8 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Prospects to watch: Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph, WR, James Washington

Rudolph is tall, experienced, and ridiculously productive. The 6-foot-4 quarterback has 31 touchdowns dating to the start of the 2016 season and has tossed only four interceptions in that time fame. Friday's outing marks his 31st appearance for the Cowboys. Washington, his go-to target, is one of the most dynamic field-stretchers in the nation and is solidly built at 6-foot and around 200 pounds. If the Bills will be in the market for a quarterback and wideout in the 2018 draft, they'll want to fully examine these two Oklahoma State stars.


  • Oklahoma at Ohio State, 7:30 pm (ABC)

Prospects to watch: Ohio State DE Tyquan Lewis, DE Sam Hubbard, LB Jerome Baker; Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews

Lewis won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016 and had a pair of sacks to start the season against Indiana. Hubbard is a premier pass-rusher, too, with NFL size. Baker is the latest in a long line of super-athletic off-ball linebackers Urban Meyer has coached at Ohio State. The Bills could use more edge depth, and clearly Sean McDermott loves the smaller, faster linebackers. Andrews looked like the best tight end in college football against UTEP. He had seven grabs for 145 yards with one touchdown and frequently made defenders look silly in the open field. Most 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight ends can't do that.

  • Stanford at USC, 8:30 pm (FOX)

Prospects to watch: USC QB Sam Darnold, LB Cameron Smith; Stanford RB Bryce Love

Darnold will be looking for a rebound performance after a shaky opening game against Western Michigan. He has to improve his decision-making and could tighten his delivery. Smith was everywhere for the Trojans in the second half against the Broncos. He's another new-age linebacker with range to go along with a physical style of play. Love seems like the ideal mid-round running back. He doesn't have an imposing build, but forces a lot of missed tackles and is ultra efficient. The Cardinal ball-carrier currently averages 7.8 yards per rush on 153 attempts in his collegiate career.

  • Florida Atlantic at Wisconsin, noon (Big Ten Network)

Prospect to watch: Wisconsin TE Tony Fumagalli

Fumagalli has over 1,000 receiving yards in his three-year career in Madison and will be the go-to target in Wisconsin's offense this season. While not specifically in the market for a tight end, Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison likes to highlight them in his offense. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Fumagalli is on track to be an early-to-mid-round selection. He had five grabs for 105 yards with a score in Wisconsin's win a week ago.

  • Iowa at Iowa State, noon (ESPN2)

Prospect to watch: Iowa LB Josey Jewell

Jewell is the tackling-machine linebacker who needs to get on your radar. In 2016, he had 126 tackles. Last year, he had 124 takedowns. Against Wyoming, he had 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. The guy is seemingly glued to the football. Something tells me Brandon Beane and McDermott aren't done adding to Buffalo's group of linebackers.

  • Wake Forest at Boston College, noon (ACC Network)

Prospects to watch: Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor, Boston College DE Harold Landry

Landry and Ejiofor are outside rushers with first-round potential. In fact, I think Landry's currently a lock to go in Round One. They're both capable of winning with speed and power around the edge and are fresh off fine 2016 campaigns. Ejiofor had 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Landry led the country with 16.5 sacks a season ago. Remember, recently in Carolina, while Beane was there, the Panthers prioritized a yearly bolstering of their defensive front.

  • Fresno State at Alabama, 3:30 pm (ESPN2)

Prospects to watch: Alabama LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB Ronnie Harrison, WR Calvin Ridley, RB Damien Harris

Any time you watch the Crimson Tide, the NFL draft comes to mind. Ridley is a polished pass-catcher. Hamilton is bound for 90-plus tackles behind Alabama's talented defensive line. Fitzpatrick fits Buffalo's new mold at cornerback -- long with impressive ball-skills. Harrison is a hybrid safety/weakside linebacker. Harris may be overshadowed by Bo Scarbrough this season, but has springy agility and quickly hits the cutback lane.

  • Indiana at Virginia, 3:30 pm (ESPNU)

Prospects to watch: Virginia S Quin Blanding; Indiana LB Tegray Scales, WR Simmie Cobbs Jr.

Blanding is a former five-star high school recruit who's been the Cavaliers' anchor for some time. He registered over 100 tackles in his first three seasons for Virginia and had a 12-tackle effort to start his 2017. Scales is always around the football, even if it's near either sideline. Cobbs Jr. is a "rebounder" at wide receiver. He's 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and racked up 149 yards and one touchdown on 11 grabs against Ohio State. The Bills will likely have their eyes on all three of these prospects all season.

  • Hawaii at UCLA, 5:15 pm (Pac-12 Network)

Prospect to watch: UCLA QB Josh Rosen, TE Caleb Wilson

For three quarters against Texas A&M, Rosen looked nothing like a first-round quarterback. Then he led the Bruins to a remarkable comeback win, although luck was on his side on more than one occasion. Rosen's favorite target in the game was Wilson, a redshirt sophomore who reeled in 15 passes for a whopping 208 yards. Rosen will likely be among the top five or six quarterbacks in the 2018 class if he declares.

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