Now we're getting to the big games! Giants fans, you won't want to miss the Orange Bowl as Mississippi State faces off against Georgia Tech. Not only is it one of the "big bowls" and you've got two ranked teams duking it out, but there's one prospect in particular that might excite fans of the Beezer Brigade.
That is, of course, Mississippi State inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney. He's a prospect that many are split on. Not only by draft range, which goes anywhere from mid-first round all the way to the 5th or 6th round for some folks, but also on where he's most likely to succeed in the pros, at SAM backer or at MIKE. For me, personally, he's got an awesome 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame with great length and he's very athletic. He's a sideline to sideline type player and can make tackles from almost anywhere.
He does, however, struggle in space and sometimes gets lost in coverage. He also doesn't seem aggressive enough. It will be important to know whether or not he can improve on his struggles in coverage through using his superior athleticism. He reminds me of a former draft crush Akeem Ayers, only less polished. I project him to be an early day 2 pick, perhaps even late day 1.
There are two more prospects to watch out for. Dak Prescott could be coming out to the draft and he's an interesting dual threat prospect. He's like a rich man's Tim Tebow where his first read seems to be to take off and run with the ball, but he's got much better accuracy than the former Heisman winner. It will be interesting to see how he fares. The other Mississippi State player to watch out for is Preston Smith, defensive end. A big guy with average burst and average bend, he might be better suited to playing inside. Really disruptive, though.
Unfortunately, Georgia Tech doesn't have too many premier prospects, however there's a couple worth keeping an eye on. Look out for Quayshawn Nealy, the inside linebacker and Isaiah Johnson, the strong safety. Both look draftable and can really help their stocks with a good game.
Teams: (8) Mississippi State vs. (12) Georgia Tech
Odds: Mississippi State (-7)
Game Time: Wednesday, Dec. 31st, 8 p.m. EST