There are a handful of potential future NFL players performing in Thursday's Fiesta Bowl game between Kansas State and Oregon. Here is a quick guide.
Today's Fiesta Bowl between Kansas State and Oregon is a much better and more interesting college football game than it is a game have on 2013 NFL Draft prospects. There are, however still a few really good players to watch.
The game is on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Quarterback Colin Klein was No. 3 in Heisman voting because he has had a fantastic season and a very nice career for Kansas State. Klein might have a place in the NFL, but he's more like Tim Tebow than anything else. A big guy who loves football and was a really successful college quarterback with leadership (and he's also very religious), but he just can't throw the ball well enough to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Klein is the biggest name but the best NFL prospect on Kansas State, without a doubt, is linebacker Arthur Brown. Brown is a great linebacker prospect who makes plays all over the field. The easy comparison to make is LaVonte David from last year. Both are undersized, but do everything you want on the football field. David had a very nice year as a rookie. I like Brown slightly more as a prospect and would have no qualms about taking him in the late first round. It would be great if he was available for the Giants in the second.
Other players to watch on Kansas State are wide receiver Chris Harper who brings good size (listed at 6-foot-1, 228 pounds), and looks like an earlier day three pick. Linebacker Meshak Williams, cornerback Nigel Malone, and fullback Braden Wilson are all guys who could find homes on Sunday as well.
When you think about the Oregon Ducks you think about a school that is becoming a powerhouse in college football, yet that has not translated to NFL success. There is, however, a player who could change that this season,.
The best prospect in the game is linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan. Jordan is an unusual breed. At 6-6, 243 pounds Jordan has terrific length and amazing speed. Jordan is so physically gifted he can cover many college wide receivers. Jordan is appealing because he could really develop into a terrific pass rusher, but also players of his ilk (not many exist) could be the solution to the problem of covering the Jimmy Graham/Rob Gronkowski tight ends of the world. A guy who is 6-6, 243 and can run with tight ends is very appealing. Jordan is a fringe first or second-round player at this moment, but if he showcases the speed and fluid change of direction skills many expect could be selected as high as top five. There are just not many human beings born with Jordan's skill set.
Oregon has two other prospects who could be selected in the first two days of the draft. The first is offensive tackle Kyle Long. Long has a lot of size at 6-7 and 311 pounds. Long was initially a defensive end at Oregon before switching over to offensive tackle. He has flashed a lot of potential there. He also has great bloodlines, his father is Howie Long.
The other is running back Kenjon Barner. Barner might be hurt by the other Ducks backs who have entered the NFL, but not had success. Barner has made a million big plays while in college, but he doesn't have great size at 5-11, 190 pounds.
The other prospect I would watch is inside linebacker Kiko Alonso.
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