Before the season started, there were high hopes for both the Clemson Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners. Some bad losses later, and they find themselves facing off against each other in the Russell Athletic Bowl. They've got some pretty good prospects to look at, however, so those draftniks out there should be paying attention.
The best prospect among these teams is the electrifying Vic Beasley from Clemson. At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, he's a whirlwind off the edge, with perhaps the best first step and overall speed among all the pass rushers in the country. Obviously at his weight, he's going to be a strictly 3-4 OLB. While his bend and speed off the edge elite, there are questions about how he can hold up setting the edge in run defense and if he can succeed backpedaling into coverage. Watch for that.
Oklahoma has a blur at edge rusher themselves with the aptly named Eric Striker. There's a plethora of questions regarding Striker as well. He gets his sacks (he's got 10.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks) but he's only 220 pounds soaking wet. Teams have to decide whether he is built enough to handle linebacker duties at the next level or whether a move to safety is in order.
Oklahoma also has a pair of bookends that should be getting plenty of interest this offseason. Tyrus Thompson is their left tackle, and I've seen him all over the place in terms of his draft range. Most have him as a fourth-round pick or later, but I've seen enough brute strength and a nice kick slide to put him in the second-round range for me. The other is a mauler at right tackle by the name of Daryl Williams. A monstrous 6-6, 340 pounds, Williams reminds me of Phil Loadholt. He should be a day 2 pick at this point.
Clemson has defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who at 298 pounds is a three technique through and through. He actually reminds me quite a bit of Jay Bromley, a pocket pusher that sometimes loses pad level, but has uncanny strength to penetrate into the backfield. He hasn't had the greatest year rushing the passer, so it'll be interesting to see if he can push the pocket. A Day 3 guy.
Others that will be playing include linebackers Geneo Grissom from Oklahoma and Stephone Anthony from Clemson as day 3 picks to look out for.
Teams: (17) Clemson Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Odds: Oklahoma (-3)
Game Time: Monday, Dec. 29th, 5:30 p.m. EST