Texas Bowl, Syracuse vs. Minnesota: NFL Draft prospect watch

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft prospects to watch Friday evening when Syracuse faces Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.

Syracuse and Minnesota are not considered powerhouse schools, but they are not immune to putting big-time players into the NFL. Syracuse has seen terrific players like Arthur Jones, Dwight Freeney and Chandler Jones around the league among others. Ryan Nassib and Justin Pugh of the Giants came from Syracuse. Former Minnesota grade Eric Decker is the big name here, but Vikings return man Marcus Sherels is another one. The point is this game is worth watching if you have the time to do so.

The highlight player in the game is clearly Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman. Despite playing in relative obscurity, Hageman has a high profile and is often mocked in the first round and has the potential to be a draft riser who sees his name called in the top 10 when the 2014 draft rolls around in May. Hageman appeared at one point on Gil Brandt's top five players on his big board, but scouts have questioned his consistency and motor. He's a player who is built like Chris Canty, but more athletic. He appeared on Bruce Feldman's annual "Freak's list" where he lists the craziest athletes in college football (last year's number one was SMU's Margus Hunt, this year is Jadeveon Clowney.

Feldman writes about Hageman:

He's certainly the most athletic. Not only does he have the 36-inch vert, but he also has bench-pressed 465 pounds and clocked an electronically timed 10-yard sprint in 1.57 seconds. For comparison sake, no DT at this year's NFL Combine jumped higher than 33 inches, and Terron Armstead, the offensive tackle who ran the blazing 4.71 40 at the combine, did a 1.64 in his 10.

Hageman is the type of athlete who will appeal to the Giants (and many other teams picking high in the first round), but can he consistently dominate at the NFL level?. Get a look today to see what you think. The Gophers also have a good safety in Brock Vereen who has a shot at being drafted.

Syracuse doesn't have the caliber of prospects they had last year when they had Pugh, Nassib, and Shamarko Thomas. This year is all about defensive tackle Jay Bromley and running back Jerome Smith, though both look like day three prospects.

Game Details

Teams: Syracuse, Minnesota

Game Time: 6 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

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