Whew doggie! If you're a College Football fan this might be the best day of the entire the year. Today features six marquee games with a wealth of future potential New York Giants. I'm going to try to give you enough information on 2013 NFL Draft prospects to whet your appetite, without overwhelming you.
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl on ESPN 2 at Noon
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
This is not a terrible game, but it's exciting that it might be the worst game of the day. In this game if you're talking draft prospects you're talking cornerback Jonathan Banks. Banks is a good athlete with good size and talent. He is a first round talent at cornerback and could definitely be in consideration for the Giants with the 19th pick (though I prefer Xavier Rhodes personally--and we'll get to him when we talk about Florida State), Banks wasn't lockdown at all times this year, but he has a reputation as a good worker and can be coached through some of his issues with technique in man-he's already very good in zone. The next best player on either team in terms of players likely to be available to draft is offensive guard Gabe Jackson (but he has not yet entered the draft). The Bulldogs are also looking like they'll get cornerback Darius Slay selected in the middle rounds. Defensive tackle Josh Boyd, linebacker Cameron Lawrence, running back LaDarius Perkins and wide receiver Chad Bumphis all have a shot at getting drafted. Personally I'd like to have a player on my favorite team named Chad Bumphis, so we'll see if that happens. Northwestern is not a hot-bed for NFL prospects.
Heart of Dallas Bowl on ESPNU at Noon
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
The best player in this game is without question defensive tackle Kawaan Short. Short does a good job of penetrating the defense and offering a pass rushing presence. He's a player that looks like he could very well be drafted in the first round and top 20 (the Giants pick 19th) is not out of the question.
Oklahoma State's best prospect is running back Joseph Randle (who has yet to declare). He's shifty and versatile. A very nice player who looks like a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Maybe the best punter in the nation is Oklahoma State punter Quinn Sharp. Cornerback Brodrick Brown, offensive linemen Lane Taylor might also be drafted (don't confuse him with Oklahoma offensive linemen Lane Johnson--who could be a 1st or 2nd round pick).
Outback Bowl on ESPN at 1 p.m.
South Carolina vs. Michigan
The best player in this game plays for South Carolina and he plays defensive end. If you want to see the next Mario Williams (potential defensive end drafted first overall) watched Jadeveon Clowney. But he is not draft eligible this year. In terms of 2013 NFL prospects the best player in this game is offensive linemen Taylor Lewan. This is a guy you should watch closely. I know the Giants haven't shown anything that makes you hope they'll take an offensive linemen in the first round, but if Lewan is available at 19th overall you would hope the Giants take him into serious consideration.
The biggest name player is probably athlete Denard Robinson. Robinson hurt his throwing arm and had to play running back in a game and looked pretty good there, which is where his future lies in the NFL as a runningback/return man/ wide receiver. A player I really liked heading into the season was defensive end Craig Roh, but he did not perform up to my expectations. He'll likely be one of my favorite sleepers if he's available on day three. A defensive end with a good motor and good size, he's played all along the defense for the Wolverines and his good motor coupled with his good functional strength should make him a valuable asset on a NFL team.
Other Wolverines to watch:
Safety Jordan Kovacs
Wide receiver Roy Roundtree
Linebacker Kenny Demens
For South Carolina the player that most screams "Giants" is defensive end Devin Taylor. Taylor is a big athletic freak of a defensive end, and he's probably a round two or round three pick because he hasn't always played with consistency or been as productive as you would hope. Another player that is liked here on Big Blue View by some of our residential draft gurus is safety D.J. Swearinger who is a day three pick. Versatile DeVonte Holloman is a safety/linebacker every man. However, often not having a true defined position is a knock in the NFL. What you have to decide for yourself is can Holloman shed blocks enough to play linebacker, or does he have enough speed to be trusted to play in the secondary?
Really though watch this game for Clowney.
Capital One Bowl on ABC at 1 p.m.
Georgia vs. Nebraska
After years of drought the Nebraska Cornhuskers finally saw some of their players end up high selections as Prince Amukamara and Suh were recent first round picks. They, do not, however have that kind of desirable prospect this year. The most intriguing prospect is running back Rex Burkhead. Burkhead is a running back that is considered not enough of an athlete to play in the NFL. Burkhead has always come up big in big moments and is a guy who catches the ball well and has better wheels than he gets credit for having. He had a huge year last year, but got moved down the depth chart this year, It'll be interesting to see how he works out in the pre-draft process. Right now he's a day three pick. There are other names who are late round prospects for the Cornhuskers in this game. Safety Damion Stafford, defensive end Eric Martin, linebacker Will Compton, and defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler.
Georgia is really where the money's at. There are two big names to watch as Giants fans: defensive tackle John Jenkins and linebacker Alec Ogeltree. With Seattle's success using players along their 4-3 front who are generally considered more of 34 type defensive linemen, and the Giants struggles against the run this year, a player like the massive Jenkins could be in consideration for them (he is listed at nearly 360 pounds).
The other player to watch, and one of my personal favorites, is linebacker Alec Ogeltree. Ogeltree is a former safety who is now playing linebacker. Ogeltree has length, explosion, and fluid hips to cover. He really reminds me of an early Urlacher. The question for me is can he add size, without losing speed and learn to tackle as well as Urlacher has? I think Ogeltree is a great fit for the Giants under Perry Fewell and is a first round pick. In the Giants system I prefer Ogeltree to Te'o. I think Ogeltree would excel in a system that is reliant on cover two, and Ogeltree can become a terrific blitzer.
Linebacker Jarvis Jones is a pass rushing sensation who could get look as a SAM for the Giants. Jones is considered a top five pick, except for the caveat that he has a scary medical history. Jones has a degenerative spinal disease that could push him down in the draft and into the Giants arms.
Safety Bacarri Rambo is another day two type pick.
One of my other favorite sleeper prospects is wide receiver Tavarres King. King has a habit of making a lot of big plays. He is talented, but is generally considered a day three pick. I think he's better than that. Safety Shawn Williams, linebacker Cornelius Washington, cornerback Sanders Commings are just a few of the better and draftable Bulldogs. A really quality defense, with a ton of talent.
Rose Bowl presented by Vizio on ESPN at 5 p.m.
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
Wisconsin is always a place you can find offensive linemen and this year is no different. Ricky Wagner is a right tackle in the NFL and could be a nice value in round three for the Giants. The other headliner for the Badgers is running back Montee Ball. The opinion and value of Ball is ALL over the world. A lot of people think he can only run because of the great offensive line ahead of him, others think that because of his insane production he's a great running back. Make your own judgement tonight.
Stanford has a few really interesting players. Again the Cardinal have two of the nation's best tight end prospects in Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo.
The other two interesting prospects are linebacker Chase Thomas and linebacker Shayne Skov. Thomas is a relentless pass rusher and could be this year's Shea McClellin. Thomas has good length, good explosion, and really is a nice player. I think he'd be a good fit for the Giants as a SAM linebacker if they can get him in the 2nd round.
Inside linebacker Shayne Skov will carry the "character concern" label because of an off the field incident, but he's a good linebacker prospect. He flies to the football and makes plays all the time. He's listed at 6'3 242 pounds, which is good size for an inside linebacker in today's NFL. He's a really nice prospect.
Lastly, watch running back Stepfan Taylor who could make a nice compliment to the explosive David Wilson.
Discover Orange Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State
Based on talent these two teams don't belong on the same field. Northern Illinois has one player, defensive end Sean Progar who might get drafted. Florida State has five players who might have gone in the first round if they all had stayed healthy.
Bjoern Werner is a German sensation, a guy I've seen compared to a better run stopping Osi Umemniyora, I'm not sure I'm with them there, but I could kind of see the comparison. Werner could be selected in the top 10. I'm not sure he has the length the Giants are looking for in defensive ends, however.
Xavier Rhodes looks like a safety, but has the hips to be able to play cornerback. Rhodes is 6'1 217 pounds and if he can run a good forty yard dash (he has the speed to) could be selected before the Giants even pick. Rhodes is terrific in run support and one of my favorite players to watch in football.
Pass rushers Brandon Jenkins and Cornellius Carradine both had injuries that will hurt their stock. Their pre-draft workouts will be key to see where they are selected. Both had 1st round potential.
E.J. Manuel is a terrific physical specimen at the quarterback position who plays like Tony Romo half the time and Tony Romo the other half the time (bazinga!). He has 1st round ability, and sixth round decision making.
Also watch defensive linemen Everett Dawkins who could be a late day two or early day three pick. There are a number of other late round type players on the Seminoles as well.
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