Bengals: 2 must-see college football games this weekend
By Glenn Adams
Welcome to Week 2 of the college football season! Potential future Cincinnati Bengals are playing all over the country this weekend.
I know you are busy, so let’s keep it simple this week. Here are the two games that will go a long way in determining how the Bengals will evaluate the 2022 draft!
Ohio State vs. Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux’s 2021 campaign got off to a great start last week against Fresno State.
Unfortunately, in that game, he rolled his ankle. While he will probably play against Ohio State, he will not be 100%. And that is a shame. Fans and scouts alike were salivating at the idea of seeing him go up against Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) and maybe Thayer Munford (LG).
Petit in French means small. Frère means brother. At 6’5, 315 lbs, this is what the French would call an oxymoron (“oxymore” is actually what they would say).
There is another premier matchup to watch. Oregon corner Mykael Wright will face off against the great wide receiver tandem of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Olave and Wilson are expected to battle it out for best receiver in the class. They both could be potential top 10 picks.
Also, they will more than likely be long gone before the Bengals select in the second round. Furthermore, the Bengals should not be in the market for a wide receiver early in the draft. We hope.
Right now, Wright is projected to go in the second round. He has a chance to stake his claim as one of the top defensive backs in this class if he can slow down the talented Buckeye receivers. A good showing could put Wright on the Bengals radar in the second round. Maybe even the first.
Ohio State linemen Petit-Frere and Munford had their own competition. After starting at left tackle last year, Munford was beaten out for that job in camp by Petit-Frere. Now Munford is starting at left guard.
Cincinnati native, Petit-Frere, has a chance to be the next elite, cornerstone left tackle for an NFL franchise. Munford has displayed the versatility that so many NFL teams covet. He has also shown that he is a good teammate and team player. They will both go off the board in the first round. That is if Petit-Frere declares for the draft.
Both could be very high on the Bengals’ wishlist.
Other players to keep your eyes on are:
- Haskell Garrett (DI)
- Taron Vincent (DI) (Junior)
- Zach Harrison (EDGE)
- Sevyn Banks (CB)
- Marcus Hooker (S) (Junior)
- Jeremy Ruckert (TE)
Enjoy this highlight of Harrison with the strip-sack and Garrett with the scoop and score here.
- C.J. Verdell (RB)
- Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (OG) (redshirt Junior)
Washington Huskies vs. Michigan Wolverines
The biggest matchup in this game is Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson going against Washington offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland.
Kirkland is Pro Football Focus’ 15th best ranked overall player. Mike Renner writes:
"If Kirkland had played more than four games last season, he might be preparing for his first training camp right now. He allowed only two pressures in his first season at left tackle after two years starting at guard."
Kirkland has already shown the versatility that teams like the Bengals want in their linemen. As of now, consider him to be a first-rounder.
Hutchinson is ranked 29th on PFF’s top prospects list. Of Hutchinson, Renner writes:
"Hutchinson is a powerful base end who looks about as sure a thing in the class against the run. He’s got the kind of length to consistently two-gap in the run game, where he earned an 88.8 grade on 149 snaps before he got hurt last year."
Hutchinson is known more for his run-stopping ability, but he does have 4.5 career sacks thus far.
This matchup could go a long way in determining how NFL teams see these two prospects. Who will come out on top? We do not know, but it is going to be fun to watch.
Washington’s Trent McDuffie is PFF’s 13th ranked player. Of McDuffie, Mike Renner writes:
"While I don’t often bring up tackling for a cornerback, McDuffie’s physicality when bringing down ball carriers deserves some love. He’s missed two tackles on 64 career attempts and is exceptional in run support. He may not be an island man corner, but he’s very instinctive and smooth in his own right."
McDuffie will be facing a young and inexperienced receiving Wolverine receiving group. Michigan’s top target Ronnie Bell will miss the rest of the season due to injury. McDuffie has a chance to dominate against a young Wolverine receiver group.
Other players to keep your eyes on in this game:
- Cade Otton (TE)
- Luke Wattenberg (C)
- Christopher Hinton (DI) (Junior)
- Donovan Jeter (DI)
- Daxton Hill (S) (Junior)
- Brad Hawkins (S)