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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Big Ten Championship Game

Read more on the five 2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game.

When Michigan meets Iowa at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Big Ten Championship Game, expect plenty of brute force to be on display.

Both teams have hung their hats on their physicality, as both pair powerful run games with inconsistent passing games. Additionally, both have tough defenses that make opponents' game-planning difficult.

It will be a physical game. With that said, there are plenty of potential early-round 2022 NFL Draft picks that will be on display. 

Here are five players to watch in Saturday’s battle for the Big Ten title.

Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

A player that would’ve been an early-round pick had he entered the draft last season, Hutchinson elected to return and play his senior season for the Wolverines. This turned out to be a phenomenal decision, as he rewrote the Michigan single-season sacks record.

Hutchinson has turned himself into a contender for the top pick, as he’s being mentioned alongside preseason favorite Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon. Hutchinson's an EDGE rusher who can operate both in a three-point stance and as a stand-up rusher.

The Dearborn native had three sacks in Michigan’s 42-27 win over Ohio State. He’s been on a tear lately, and can help his stock even more with a good showing on the biggest stage Saturday night.

Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The anchor to Iowa’s run game has been its physical center. Linderbaum has been among the best offensive linemen in all of college football in 2021, and could be a first-round pick depending on need.

The Hawkeyes center has been excellent on drive blocks and getting to the second level quickly. He quickly puts away defenders who are out of position with his pushes. Scouts love Linderbaum and what he can be as a potential pro. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year for his efforts this season.

David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list, Ojabo has ascended to a first-round pick in the 2022 Draft, because of his performance this season. Though Hutchinson has led the Wolverines defense, Ojabo has been right behind him.

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The Scotland native has totaled 11 sacks, right behind Hutchinson’s 13. He works on the edge opposite Hutchinson, and can cause problems in a variety of ways. Ojabo is also excellent in zone and man coverage, with his athletic ability allowing him to stay with tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.

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Jack Campbell, ILB, Iowa

Last week, Campbell made 16 tackles in the Hawkeyes’ comeback win over Nebraska. It was a solid conclusion to a regular season in which he’s been excellent. In total, Campbell has made 124 tackles from his inside linebacker position. He was named third-team All-Big Ten.

Campbell is a junior, so it’s not a guarantee he enters the draft following the season. He’s projected as a third-round pick by SI’s NFL Draft Bible, but could help his cause with a strong showing.

Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Hill is considered among the best secondary players available in the upcoming draft. He has good range and speed, and is physical enough to mix it up in the run game. The Wolverines will need this against Iowa, as Hawkeyes running back Tyler Goodson is a tough runner.

The Tulsa, Okla., native was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He is on the fringe of being a first-round selection at this moment, but is athletic enough to impress at the NFL combine. He’ll be a key player for the Wolverines Saturday, as his ability to stop the run and cover one-on-one can help push Michigan over the edge.

Other prospects to watch:

Michigan

  • RB Hassan Haskins
  • OG Andrew Stueber

Iowa

  • RB Tyler Goodson
  • CB Riley Moss