Six-Pack of Prospects to watch for Packers fans on Week 1 Saturday

·5 min read

There are a ton of intriguing matchups to watch this Saturday during Week 1 of the college football season.

There is the top five battle between No. 5 Notre Dame vs No. 2 Ohio State. No. 7 Utah travels south to take on Florida in The Swamp. No. 11 Oregon takes on Georgia, the defending National Champions.

Here are six prospects to watch for Green Bay Packers fans this Saturday.

JL Skinner, S, Boise State

The former three-star recruit finished last season with 92 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, and seven pass deflections.

The Boise State safety packs a punch and will be a tone setter for whatever team drafts him. Skinner has the range and physicality to be a game-changer in Joe Barry’s secondary.

“JL’s greatest strengths are his length and range,” Ron Counts, the Boise State beat writer for the Idaho Statesman said. “He’s every bit of 6-foot-4 and he put on about 10 pounds in the past year to get up to 220. He was all over the field in coverage last season and really improved as a tackler as the season went on. He also evolved into a big hitter. If he shows more improvement as a tackler and gets his hands on a couple more interceptions this year, he could hear his name called early in the draft.”

Arik Gilbert, TE, Georgia

The LSU transfer didn’t play last fall, but there is no denying that Gilbert is oozing with potential. At 6-5, 250 pounds, with rare athleticism, Gilbert is a matchup nightmare. Gilbert has a large catch radius and has the potential to be an unstoppable force in the red zone. 

Gilbert will be part of a three-headed monster at tight end for the Bulldogs. Gilbert reportedly looked unstoppable during Georgia’s spring game and it will be interesting to see how Gilbert looks after sitting out last season. 

“He is a monster of a man who simply should not be as athletic as he is at his size,” Jordan Hill, the Georgia beat writer for Dawgs247 said. “He didn’t play for Georgia in 2021 but was a huge storyline this spring, as he made countless plays during practice then ended spring with two touchdown receptions at Georgia’s spring game. A former five-star recruit, Gilbert is a matchup nightmare that makes you think of Rob Gronkowski. He could be off to the NFL if things go well this season.”

Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan

A high school tight end, Hayes is an athletic offensive tackle with great length (6-7) for the position. The Michigan offensive tackle starts the 2022 season with 18 career starts at left tackle. 

The 18-game starter has good lateral quickness to match explosive edge rushers. With his length, he’s able to keep edge rushers at bay.

Dalton Wagner, OT, Arkansas

Wagner is a mountain of a man, standing at 6-9 and weighing 335 pounds. The Arkansas offensive tackle has started 27 games at right tackle and one game at left tackle.

The towering offensive tackle plays with a mean streak as a run blocker. Wagner has the size that teams drool over and could be a day three target for the Packers, a team that’s had great success drafting offensive linemen on the third day of the draft. 

Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

Foskey is one of the most talented edge rushers in the 2023 NFL Draft and will likely be off the board by the time the Packers are on the clock in the first round. Foskey finished last season with 52 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and six forced fumbles. 

Foskey is an explosive edge rusher that gives offensive tackles fits with his initial quickness. He converts speed to power and has outstanding length for the position. 

Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

The Packers don’t have a need for top-end talent at the cornerback position with Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas in place. In today’s pass-happy NFL, a team can never have enough talented cornerbacks and Forbes is a ball-hawking cornerback.

Forbes enters the 2022 season with eight career interceptions, including three pick-sixes. Forbes finished last season with 59 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, three interceptions, and eight pass deflections. Forbes is prone to give up a big play, but he does wide receiver-like things at the catch point and would bring even more juice to what’s an already loaded cornerback room. 

“His biggest strength is his ball-hawking ability,” Stefan Krajisnik, the Mississippi State beat writer for the Clarion Ledger said. “He has eight interceptions the last two seasons. He has a good sense of where the quarterback is going with the ball and finds a way to beat receivers to the spot.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire