Let me start by saying, with all due respect to Bowling Green, and most of Pitt for that matter; as far as the NFL draft is concerned, the Little Caesars bowl is really all about two guys.
They are Pittsburgh's defensive tackle Aaron Donald and wide receiver Devin Street
Devin Street (WR, senior)
Street is a tall, lean wide receiver prospect, listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He's a natural hands catcher who is willing to go over the middle and fight for the ball despite lacking the girth you would expect to see from a player his height. He also doesn't have blazing speed, though his long speed is deceptive. What he does have, apart from natural hands, are quick feet and excellent body control. Street shows an ability to twist and contort his body, adjusting to the ball (both jumping and on the ground), placing himself between the ball and the defender, usually giving himself an opportunity to make a secure catch.
In a less-stacked wide receiver class Street would likely be a solid Day 2 pick. As it is, he stands a chance of sneaking into the 3rd round. However its also entirely likely that the incredible depth at the position makes him a Day 3 pick, at which point somebody is going to be getting a good wide receiver at an incredible value.
Aaron Donald (DT, senior)
If we're being REALLY honest, Donald is the real reason most people are watching this game. Donald is an undersized defensive tackle prospect at 6-foot, 285 pounds. However, a stick of dynamite doesn't have to be very big to cause a lot of damage. Donald has been one of the, if not the, top defensive players in the country this year. He is the:
- Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (Nation's Most Outstanding Defensive Player)
- Chuck Bednarick Award winner (Defensive Player of The Year)
- Outland Trophy winner (Nation's Top Interior Lineman)
- First Team All-ACC
- First Team All-American
For reference, the other finalists for "Nations Most Outstanding Defensive Player" were: Darqueze Dennard (CB, Mich St.) CJ Mosley, (LB, Alabama), Michael Sam (DE, Mizzou), and LaMarcus Joyner (DB, FSU).
Donald posses an explosive first step, which combines with his natural leverage to help him make his living in the backfield. Of his 54 tackles this year, half (26.5) have been for a loss. Donald leads the country in tackles for loss, and lead the country in sacks for the first part of the college football season (fading to 13th on the season, but still tops among defensive tackles with 10).
His size means that if his initial burst is contained by an offensive lineman, he is likely to be tied up that play, but Donald also possess a non-stop motor and he is always active in pursuit.
Donald might be the most under-appreciated players in college football by the main-stream media, but he is a firecracker who absolutely bears watching. It should be fun to watch, in any case.
Game Time: 6 p.m. ET