Here we are, Giants fans. The Grandaddy of them all: The Rose Bowl. The Florida State Seminoles, undefeated and undaunted, take on the explosive light speed Oregon Ducks. No amount of hype is truly enough for this game. It's for all the marbles as the winner goes on to take on Alabama or Ohio State for the National Title Game. As expected, there's a boatload of prospects so let's get right to it.
When you've got FSU facing off against Oregon, how can you not start off with the obvious? Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston: head to head. Sure, they aren't really going to be on the field at the same time, but that would ruin headlines. Both of these players are considered the top of the line prospects at the QB position and both have the upside to become dominant pros. They both are held back by other things, off the field issues for Winston and scheme questions for Mariota, but it's clear that their talent shines brightest. It will be fun to see both together in the same game on the brightest stage. They aren't the only prospects, however, so let's first start with what FSU has to offer.
Eddie Goldman, the disruptive defensive tackle, is probably their best prospect outside of Jameis. He's got length and he's got the same brutish strength as Timmy Jernigan did for the Seminoles a year ago. He's got a better first step than Jernigan, however, so I wouldn't be surprised if he were the second defensive tackle taken (after Leonard Williams). His team mate on the defensive line is edge player Mario Edwards Jr., who is a freak in his own right. He's got a chiseled 6-foot-3, 290 pound frame and projects as a monstrous 5 technique in a 3-4 defense.
FSU also has some elite corner prospects. P.J. Williams is a huge corner at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and many consider him to be another Justin Gilbert type player. Some have him going in the top half of the first round. His team mate opposite him is Ronald Darby, who's biggest strength is his discipline and speed. Both are strong bets to be gone by the end of round 2.
The entire interior of FSU's line is rated highly as well. Cam Erving was originally a tackle, but moved in season to center, where he's been dominant. He could be the first center off the board. Josue Matias and Tre Jackson could both be off the board by round 4 as well. They get a lot of push.
FSU has some really strong receiving prospects as well. Rashad Greene is the main attraction here. He's a slippery receiver that would probably be best in the slot. Some are very high on him. I am not because I don't see a big enough catch radius. I see him as a rich man's Jerricho Cotchery, which would probably put him in the late day 2 conversation. The other receiving threat is tight end Nick O'Leary, an accomplished pass catcher who really, really improved his blocking. He's in the mix for the top tight end off the board.
Finally, the last prospect is Robert Aguayo, the team's kicker. He's actually one of the best kickers to come out in years in all of college football, so it would not shock me if a team spent a 3rd or 4th on him.
Moving on to the Oregon Ducks. Aside from Mariota, their best prospects are their two defensive ends, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Both are juniors, so both might not declare for the draft, but if they do, they are monstrous players. I anticipate both going near the 40-50 range as they both play disruptive football. They play angry and have very active hand usage.
There are two offensive linemen to watch on the Ducks as well. Left tackle Jake Fisher has some great upside at 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, he's lean and has very good length. He's a true left tackle candidate. Hroniss Grasu is arguably the top center in the country and worth mentioning. He plays quite a bit like our Weston Richburg.
Ifo Ekpre-Olumu would've been playing, but he tore his ACL, so needless to say, he's out. Two outside linebackers worth mentioning are Tony Washington and Derrick Malone Jr. They are athletic and could be late round steals.
Teams: (2) Oregon Ducks vs. (3) Florida State Seminoles
Odds: Oregon (-8.5)
Game Time: Thursday, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. EST