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Draft Quack: Pac-12 Premiere Edition

Where are the conference’s top prospects playing on Week 1 of the season?

NCAA Football: Arizona at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

#6 Washington vs. #9 Auburn 3:30 PM ABC

- The Huskies travel to Atlanta and take in the sights of a beautiful traffic crazed city. And also there’s a football game to be played apparently, Washington finished the 2017 season with a 10-3 record after losing to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. Auburn finished up with a 10-4 record after losing the Peach Bowl to the reigning national champion University of Central Florida. The Tigers were SEC West Champions last season. Can the Tigers unlock a supposedly dominant defensive unit? Will the Huskies defense stifle the progress of future NFL QB Jarrett Stidham? Atlanta is a pretty interesting city this time of year as college football fans mingle with DragonCon fans.

Washington prospects to watch

1. Greg Gaines 6’1 332 DT / NT RS Senior

- The next man up in the Huskies’ recent trend of standout interior defensive linemen. He’s a classic space eating type of 3-4 nose tackle. A monster in the middle when rushing the passer. Lack of athleticism like his predecessors will hurt his stock a bit. Look for him to have a big year.

2. Myles Gaskin 5’9 191 RB Senior

- Gaskin has been a mainstay for the Huskies’ running game for three years now. He broke out as a true freshman and hardly left the scene. Undersized runner that excels catching passes out of the backfield. Football IQ is above average. Knows how to work angles and cutback lanes to his benefit. Tree trunk legs. Plus speed and lateral agility.

3. Myles Bryant 5’8 180 CB Junior

- Washington’s other Myles is no slouch, himself. Size wise, he compares to the Rams’ standout cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. He plays a lot bigger than what he’s listed at. Due to size, he won’t be CB1 but will still play a bit as the third cornerback at the next level. Lateral agility is a plus and instincts are as well. Popped off the screen when I was watching Washington stuff from the past season. Versatile athlete with great speed. Should test well at the Combine and Pro Day next year if he chooses to declare early.

4. Taylor Rapp 6’0 212 S Junior

- One of the better safety prospects in the entire class. Think former Arizona safety Dane Cruikshank with a tad less athleticism. He’s seriously talented.

Auburn prospect to watch

1. Jarrett Stidham 6’2 214 QB RS Junior

- Stidham is one of the top ranked quarterbacks in a class in which the perception is generally down. He has a lot of arm talent and can make virtually any throw asked of him. Physically looks the part. The biggest flaw is the program that he chose. Auburn’s offensive system is very poor in terms of development for the next level. Fundamentally poor as the reads are so simple that a high school QB can thrive in Auburn’s system. Will need a ton of development time as a backup before he can start. Oblivious to pressure and will give up unnecessary sacks to elite defenses.

BYU at Arizona 10:45 PM ESPN

- The Cougars travel to Tucson after going through a rough 2017 campaign that didn’t see a coaching change. Arizona went through a coaching change after former head coach Rich Rodriguez was relieved of his duties for inappropriate off field conduct. Former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was hired after a famous Twitter campaign led by QB Khalil Tate to avoid certain candidates. This game has Pac12AfterDark potential but expect a blowout by the Wildcats.

BYU prospect to watch

1. Sione Takitaki 6’2 231 LB Senior

- It could be argued that Takitaki was the best defender on BYU’s team last year. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s very good at reading and reacting to the play. Versatile athlete in that he’s been played both as a defensive end and outside linebacker. Lined up everywhere. Very good athlete. Due to size, he gets lost in the wash rather easily.

Arizona prospect to watch

1. Khalil Tate 6’1 215 QB Junior

- Tate returns to Tucson after an inconsistent sophomore campaign last season. It remains to be seen how much he has improved as a passer under a new regime. An electrifying runner. Needs to improve pocket awareness. Can make something happen with his feet on any given play. Has the arm talent to make a lot of the pro level throws.

Bonus Games to watch

Cincinnati at UCLA 7 PM ESPN

- The return of former Ducks head coach Chip Kelly back to the coaching ranks.