There are a host of bowl games today featuring a high number of 2013 NFL Draft prospects. Here is a brief rundown of each game:
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, 11:45 (ESPN)
Rice vs. Air Force
There is one draftable prospect in this game, tight end Vance McDonald. The guys I know who focus on schools like Rice like him as a day three prospect. I have not seen him play so we'll all be discovering him together. Two other Rice players names who get floated around are wide receiver Sam Mcguffie and tight end Luke Wilson. It's unlikely either of these guys ever play in the NFL and may not even be training camp invites.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl 3:15 (ESPN)
Syracuse vs. West Virginia (at Yankee Stadium)
This is an exciting game from a draft prospect point of view.
For the Orange it's really all about tackle Justin Pugh and quarterback Ryan Nassib. Pugh could easily be a day two pick before all is said and done, though he has yet to declare. Nassib is not flashy, but has a nice overall skill set. He reminds me of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick isn't a guy you want as a franchise player, but he could be an excellent backup/spot starter. Nassib looks like a round four or five player right now to me, some like him more than that.
Safety Shamarko Thomas is a really nice prospect as well, he's looking at early day three. Wide receiver Alec Lemon has had a breakout year and should be drafted, wide receiver Marcus Sales has an outside shot at hearing his name called in April.
The three players you are watching on West Virginia are Geno Smith -- good chance to be a top 10 pick this year-and his wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Both Austin and Bailey are really nice players. Austin is Percy Harvin except he's not quite as talented, and he is not surrounded with the "character concerns" that followed Harvin prior to the draft. Both are undersized guys who can really run.
If you're watching this game also try to pay attention to offensive linemen Jeff Braun and Ryan Madsen, kicker Tyler Bitancurt and full back Shawn Alston.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: 4. p.m. (ESPN2)
Navy vs. Arizona State
Arizona State always has a few intriguing prospects and this year is no different. There is no player like Vontze Burfict on the team this year who is polarizing for many of the wrong reasons, but there are some names to watch. The best player in this game is defensive tackle Will Sutton. Suton is very talented, the issue is he'll have to prove that there's a position for him in the NFL. He's 6'1 and about 270 pounds, that's not big enough for an every down defensive tackle and he lacks the length desired in defensive ends. You hope he can get bigger, and be a better version of Tennessee Titans' Karl Klug.
The other player to really keep an eye on is linebacker Brandon Magee though he looks like a late round flier type player.
Running back Cameron Marshall is the only other guy I think as of today could be drafted.
There are not any good prospects on Navy.
Valero Alamo Bowl 6:45 (ESPN)
Texas vs. Oregon State
Texas has some really nice prospects. The first is defensive end Alex Okafor who is a round 1 or round 2 type player. Texas also has another coveted defensive end prospect in Jackson Jeffcoat, who got hurt and might try to return to school for his senior season. One of my favorite prospects in the draft is Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro is a safety prospect who is really terrific in coverage. Vacccaro could be used like Antrel Rolle is for the Giants as a guy who can play deep (I think he's more of a natural safety than Rolle is) or come up and support the run game. A really nice versatile player who is a late round one or round two pick as of today. Cornerback Carrington Byndom has not declared and didn't have the great year he was hoping for so he might head back to school.
Also pay attention to wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and D.J. Monroe.
Oregon State. Perhaps the most under appreciated prospect in the nation plays for Oregon State. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton is not that well thought of yet, but he will be by the time the draft comes around. Wheaton has good height at 6'1 and 182 pounds and has put up good numbers this year. Wheaton had 88 catches for 1207 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. Wheaton is in the mold of Mike Wallace/Torrey Smith/Robert Meachem and has the potential to be a major big play threat in the NFL.
Cornerback Jordan Poyer is very well thought of, he has good size (6'0 about 190 pounds), can play press coverage well and has plus ball skills. He looks like a potential late first round pick, and definitely a day two pick as of now.
Lastly, senior defensive tackle Andrew Seumalo might get a look in April.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 10:15 (ESPN)
TCU vs. Michigan State
Michigan State is the team with the better prospects in this game. Running back Le'veon Bell was pegged as a first round pick by Mel Kiper prior to the season, but I never saw him as one. Right now his stock is generally considered around round 3 or 4. He reminds me of Legarrette Blount without the fisticuffs Bell has yet to declare.
William Gholston looks like he belongs on the Giants with his length and athletic prowess. Gholston, I've compared to Calais Campbell before. He has the frame to put more weight on, but as it stands now he is 6'7 about 280 pounds. Gholston is very athletic and has a high ceiling. He has yet to declare
Tight end Dion Sims has great size, good athleticism, but no production. He's an interesting player to watch and could develop nicely in the NFL. He also has yet to declare.
Cornerback Johnny Adams was once considered a guy who would develop into a first round type player, but that never happened. Adams is very aggressive and very physical. He's been a leader on the Spartans defense and is a nice 3rd or 4th round prospect to me, 5th or 6th round prospect to most.
Other draftable Spartans (from most likely to least likely):
DT Anthony Rashad White
OL Chris McDonald
K Dan Conroy
LB Chris Norman
CB Mitchell White
For TCU guard Blaize Foltz has a reputation has a workout monster in the weight room and looks like a late round prospect, kind of similar to Mitch Petrus in that regard.
Their best prospect was quarterback Casey Pachall, but he checked himself into a drug and alcohol facility and it was decided he would not play in 2012. He could enter the draft, however, and was considered by many to be more talented than Andy Dalton.
Follow me on twitter @NFlmocks and enjoy the bowl action today.