• Kool-Aid McKinstry and Tre Harris duke it out: The Alabama cornerback has an opportunity to further boost his draft stock against the Ole Miss wideout.
• Bo Nix battles Shedeur Sanders: Sanders is one of the highest-graded quarterbacks in the FBS, and Nix isn’t too far behind.
• Check out PFF's 2024 NFL Draft big board: Click here to see 150 of the top draft prospects that college football has to offer.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
This is the best week yet in the 2024 college football season in terms of ranked matchups and draft prospect battles. Whether it’s wide receivers against defensive backs, offensive tackles against edge rushers or top quarterbacks facing off, you’ll have no trouble finding future pros to scout this week.
These are our top draft matchups to watch for Week 4.
QB BO NIX, OREGON VS. QB SHEDEUR SANDERS, COLORADO
There are a handful of must-watch games on the college slate this weekend, and Colorado against Oregon is near the top of the list because of the two quarterbacks who will be facing off.
Sanders is one of the highest-graded quarterbacks in the FBS, sporting a 93.6 passing grade, 10 big-time throws and three turnover-worthy plays. He also has an 81.4% adjusted completion percentage. Nix isn’t too far behind with an 88.1 passing grade, eight big-time throws and three turnover-worthy plays. Nix has a slightly higher adjusted completion percentage (84.7%), but Nix’s average depth of target is 6.7 yards compared to Sanders at 9.3.
Though quarterback wins isn’t a real stat, the performances in this game could go a long way in determining the 2024 quarterback draft order.
QB CAM WARD, WASHINGTON STATE VS. QB D.J. UIAGALELEI, OREGON STATE
Ward might not get the attention of some of the more notable quarterbacks at the top of the 2024 draft list, but his big arm makes for a fun watch every time he takes the field. He has a 77.5 passing grade on the season with four big-time throws and four turnover-worthy plays. But his play under pressure has been an issue, as he has yielded just a 57.6 passing grade when pressured.
On the other side of the field, the college football world may have given up on Uiagalelei after he transferred from Clemson, but he sure didn’t give up on himself and is playing well this year. He has a near-identical passing grade to Ward (77.6) with five big-time throws and just one turnover-worthy play. Uiagalelei’s biggest issue right now is consistency, exemplified by an adjusted completion percentage of just 68.3%.
QB K.J. JEFFERSON, ARKANSAS VS. QB JAYDEN DANIELS, LSU
Jefferson and Daniels are two of the most notable SEC quarterbacks in the potential 2024 draft class. Daniels has an 87.4 passing grade with eight big-time throws and one turnover-worthy play this season. His ability to not put the ball in harm's way was his biggest strength last season and continues to be this year.
As for Jefferson, he is on pace to earn a career-high passing grade, currently sitting at 90.5. Jefferson has to play better under pressure, though. His 40.7 passing grade under pressure is one of the lowest marks in the FBS, and all four of his turnover-worthy plays this season have come when under duress for a 13.3% turnover-worthy play rate when pressured. Can Daniels give us more high-end passing plays, and can Jefferson keep the ball out of harm’s way?
OT JOE ALT, NOTRE DAME VS. EDGEs J.T. TUIMOLOAU & JACK SAWYER, OHIO STATE
Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt has been on a tear this season. He has earned an 87.3 overall grade with an 88.5 pass-blocking grade and has yet to let up a sack. Alt also leads the team in positively graded run-blocking snap rate. This is all why he’s in the top 10 of PFF’s 2024 big board.
Alt will have the chance to go up against Ohio State's J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer, both former five-star recruits who have been getting after the quarterback at the highest clip in their college careers. Each sports an elite pass-rushing grade thus far, with Tuimoloau at a 90.8 mark and Sawyer at a 91.9 mark. Both also have pass-rush win percentages above 20%. Every scout will watch this game when evaluating all three of these players.
WR TRE HARRIS, OLE MISS VS. CB KOOL-AID McKINSTRY, ALABAMA
Harris transferred to Ole Miss from Louisiana Tech and has been a star for the Rebels thus far. His 91.9 receiving grade is the highest not just on his team but also in the SEC. He has eight receptions this year, and seven of them have gone for 15 yards or more. He also boasts 188 total receiving yards with 70 yards after the catch and 45 yards after contact. If he plays in this one, he’ll be a major factor with an insane 44.0% wide receiver usage rate this year.
He’ll face off against a player who is making a case to be the first cornerback drafted next April in Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry. McKinstry has earned a 75.8 coverage grade so far this season. He’s allowed seven receptions but just 66 total receiving yards. He does not have a forced incompletion or interception yet after recording 18 forced incompletions last season.
Kool-Aid McKinstry | 2023
CB NATE WIGGINS, CLEMSON VS. WRs KEON COLEMAN & JOHNNY WILSON, FLORIDA STATE
Wiggins is another cornerback who is trying to climb up the 2024 big board, perhaps even to the top cornerback spot. He currently has a 72.3 coverage grade with one forced incompletion and one interception. He possesses very good movement skills and ball skills, but he’ll have a tough test against Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson, one of the best, if not the best, wide receiver duos in the country.
Coleman at 6-foot-4 and Wilson at 6-foot-6 present tough tests physically. Coleman has 10 contested catches on 12 contested targets. Meanwhile, Wilson leads the team in threat rate (33.9%).
CBs D.J. JAMES & NEHEMIAH PRITCHETT, AUBURN VS. WRs MOOSE MUHAMMAD & AINIAS SMITH, TEXAS A&M
James and Pritchett might be the best cornerback duo in the country. When healthy, they at least have a case. James has played all three games this year and has earned an 84.1 coverage grade to go along with an interception and three forced incompletions. Pritchett has not played this season due to injury, but there is a chance he will make his debut this week.
On the other side, Texas A&M has two draft-eligible receivers in Moose Muhammad and Ainias Smith. Smith has a 72.6 receiving grade, and Muhammad has a 65.5 receiving grade. Both are reliable, with no dropped passes between them, but have much different usage profiles. Muhammad's average depth of target is 4.6 yards, while Smith's stands at 13.3 yards.
CB KALEN KING, PENN STATE VS. CB COOPER DeJEAN, IOWA
Though King and DeJean won’t line up against one another, Iowa versus Penn State features two of the best cornerbacks the 2024 NFL Draft class has to offer. On the Nittany Lions’ side, King is struggling more this year, earning a 59.4 coverage grade through three games. He recorded an elite 90.6 grade in that category last season. The biggest difference for King is the ball production; he had 16 forced incompletions last season but has tallied only one this year.
As for DeJean, he was one of the top coverage players in college football last year and continues to be this year. He’s earned a 78.2 coverage grade this season with two forced incompletions and just 37 receiving yards allowed on 118 coverage snaps.
If you’re into coverage play, you’ll have someone to pay attention to no matter who has the ball.