Oregon vs Stanford: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Pac-12 Showdown

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Oregon vs Stanford: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Pac-12 Showdown
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal will be playing in a big Pac-12 matchup on Thursday night, and there will be a number of NFL draft prospects to watch for.

Recent NFL players to come out of these two schools include Kiko Alonso, Dion Jordan, Kyle Long, Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener and, of course, Andrew Luck.  This season, there are more than a few big prospects, including some potential first-round picks.

Let's take a look at some of these top prospects to watch for on Thursday night, with a breakdown of each player and where they could possibly be selected in May.

 

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Not only is Marcus Mariota a front-runner for the Heisman trophy, but he's also projected to be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the NFL draft.

So far this season, Mariota has put up almost 2,800 total yards with 29 total touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.  He leads an Oregon team that averages 55.6 points per game, the second-most in college football behind Baylor.

What makes Mariota so special is his versatility and explosiveness.  In a league where teams are starting to move toward more mobile quarterbacks, NFL teams are quickly falling in love with both Mariota's arm and his legs.

At the moment, it's a tight race between Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota for the No. 1 quarterback selected in May, but Mariota will likely be a top-five pick regardless, assuming he decides to go pro.

 

Trent Murphy, DE/OLB, Stanford

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

There are a ton of athletic pass-rushers that are picking up a lot of hype this season, but one player that hasn't got as much credit as he probably deserves is Trent Murphy out of Stanford.

Murphy currently has 9.5 sacks this season, already eclipsing his total of nine in 2012.  He also has one interception, which he returned 30 yards for a touchdown.  The fifth-year senior was also a member of the All-Pac-12 team last season and was a Butkus Award semifinalist.

At 6'6'' and 260 pounds, Murphy is a monster on defense.  He isn't the most explosive player coming off of the snap, but he makes up for that with some long legs and flexibility to get by offensive linemen.  

While other plays like Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Tuitt getting all of the attention, Murphy is still one of the best players at what he does, and he should be an early second-round selection.

 

De'Anthony Thomas, OW, Oregon

When it comes to dynamic offensive playmakers, there isn't a better one in college football than De'Anthony Thomas.

While Thomas has shown in previous seasons how explosive he can be, he hasn't played a lot this season due to an ankle injury.  In four games, he's run for 369 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry.  During his college career, he's put up 2,790 total yards and 39 total touchdowns since the 2011 season.

While some wonder where Thomas will be able to play at just 5'9'', others firmly believe that he can succeed as an offensive weapon, making plays as both a running back and wide receiver.  Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller gave his thoughts on the talented player.

Due to his unique skill set, Thomas should find a way to sneak into the late first round or, at worst, end up in the second.  He's one of the most explosive players in the country, and NFL teams will find a way to use him.

 

 

 

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