Week Zero is here. Fire up the smoker. Crack open a beer or make a bloody mary because it’s time for some College Football.
This week’s slate of games doesn’t have any ranked teams playing and the headliner is Nebraska vs. Northwestern in Ireland.
While there may not be any games with playoff implications, there are prospects to be watched. Here are six players that Green Bay Packers fans should be watching on Saturday. Consider this a Packers fans’ viewer’s guide to this weekend’s slate of games.
Ochaun Mathis, Edge, Nebraska
Mathis, a TCU transfer, started 34 games for the Horned Frogs. Mathis finished his four-year career at TCU with 26 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. Mathis has the ideal frame at 6-5, 257 pounds and does a good job of converting speed to power, and shows great closing burst to the quarterback.
His matchup against Northwestern’s offensive tackles, Peter Skoronski and Ethan Wiederkehr will be the main event.
“He shows good lateral quickness and burst,” Brian Johannes, an analyst for Corn Nation said. “ TCU had him in a more read and react mode. I’m hopeful that once Nebraska turns him loose he’ll be able to rack up the sacks. There was plenty of time where I’d see him come off the ball slow to read what was happening and then burst forward and get a near sack. I believe he’d make the play if he was firing off the ball.”
Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State
The South Carolina transfer enjoyed a successful first season in Tallahassee. Last season Robinson recorded 84 tackles, seven tackles for loss, seven pass deflections, and four interceptions. Robinson isn’t a heat-seeking missile and he’s not the most explosive athlete, but he always seems to be in the right spot. The Seminole safety can man the slot or he can play deep. The versatile defensive back is a sure tackler in space and gets his man to the ground, rarely giving up any YAC.
Josh Downs, WR, UNC
Downs is so sudden off the line of scrimmage and creates separation with his ability to vary his route speed. He’s a shifty and explosive playmaker in space. The Tar Heel wide receiver finished last season with 101 receptions for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns. Downs may be on the “smaller” side at 5-10 and 175-pounds, but there is no denying his big-play ability. According to Pro Football Focus, Downs had 27 receptions of 15-plus yards last season.
The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling recently had Downs mocked to the Packers in the first round. From Easterling:
“Downs is an explosive pass-catcher who can turn every catch into a touchdown.”
Ben Bresnahan, TE, Vanderbilt
Bresnahan isn’t the most dynamic tight end. However, he accelerates well off the line of scrimmage and has strong, reliable hands. At 6-4, he’s a big target that’s comfortable making catches in traffic. After a strong 2022 season in which he hauled in 28 receptions for 300 yards and four touchdowns, his production took a hit last season, with just 10 receptions for 104 yards.
Eric Abojei, OL, Wyoming
Abojei has been a mainstay on Wyoming’s offensive line over the past four seasons. The Minnesota native is back for his super senior season and has tackle-guard versatility. Abojei looks the part with his 6-5, 330-pound base. He creates movement in the run game and has a lot of raw power.
“He’s just a very solid, all-around offensive lineman,” Josh Criswell, the Wyoming beat writer for Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang said. “He’s been an integral part of the rushing attack that’s ranked among the Top 20 in the country each of the past two seasons.”
Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
A two-year starter for Northwestern, Skoronski is likely going to be off the board by the time the Packers are on the clock in the 2023 NFL Draft. Like a former Northwestern offensive tackle, Skornoski is going to be viewed by some teams as a tackle and other teams as a guard. Regardless of where he lines up, the 6-4 offensive lineman could be a plug-and-play prospect at either position. Skoronski has quick feet, strong mitts, and a high football IQ. He’ll be tested on Saturday against Nebraska’s trio of edge rushers, Mathis, Caleb Tannor, and Garrett Nelson.