The showdown between Ole Miss and TCU should be a good one. And from a Giants perspective, there are plenty of prospects to keep an eye on.
Both of these teams are talented and were each ranked in the top-4 in the nation. Since TCU finished the season as the better team, we'll start there.
The TCU product who will probably interest Giants' fans the most is linebacker Paul Dawson. He is a bit undersized at 6-2, 230, but he is very instinctive and a fluid athlete with a tendency to leap off the screen. He is a tackling machine and a playmaker for the Horned Frogs, with 127 combined tackles, 5 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.
He projects to a weakside or inside linebacker at the next level, and can play in either a three or four man front. Right now, Dawson isn't getting much draft buzz nationally and is generally thought of as a day-3 pick, but I think he will rocket up boards and wind up being a 2nd - 3rd round pick.
The other TCU product that Giants fans should keep an eye on is defensive tackle Chucky Hunter. Hunter has a reputation as a high character team leader, which should interest the Giants, given their recent drafting trends. He has a good first step to go with quick hands and feet, as well as good balance and agility to work through trash at the line of scrimmage. At 6-1, 300 pounds he might be too small for the Giants, who have preferred their defensive tackles to be both bigger and longer.
Ole Miss is a very young team, and their two best players other than Prewitt aren't yet draft eligible. And while their star receiver LaQuan Treadwell suffered a gruesome ankle injury earlier in the year, their stud defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche will be playing. Nkemdiche is a true sophomore, but he is one of the most physically imposing players in the country. He doesn't show up on the stat sheet much, but he is a disruptive force who makes the players around him better.
As interesting as Dawson and Hunter are, the prospect Giants fans should keep the closest eye on is Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt. He is the captain of their swarming "Land Shark" defense, and possesses great size for a free safety at 6-2, 215 pounds and looks like he has long arms. Prewitt shows good range and fluidity in coverage, as well as the rare ability to see the whole field from the center-field position. His intelligence and instincts help to make him a high-volume tackler for the Rebels, as well as a playmaker with a habit of getting the ball back for their offense.
Denzel Nkemdiche, Robert's older, but much smaller, brother is a linebacker for Ole Miss, and he could bear watching as well. At 5-11, 215 pounds he might be better served transitioning to safety if he plays in the NFL.
Odds: TCU -3.0
TV: December 31st, 12:30 p.m. EST, ESPN