Good evening New York Giants fans!
The first really big bowl game of the year, with the 10th ranked team taking on the 12th ranked team. And of course, the Peach Bowl has historically been one of the “New Year’s Six” bowl games and one of the most prestigious games in the whole Bowl Season slate.
As you can probably tell, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl isn’t being played on New Years this year, but it hasn’t lost any shine. This promises to be a good game and there should be future NFL players on the field.
Feel free to use this as your open thread for the evening.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
(12) Michigan State vs. (10) Pittsburgh
7pm - ESPN
This year’s Peach Bowl could have featured two of the best players in the country at their respective positions. Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett has ascended draft boards and is in contention to be the first passer off the board in April’s draft.
Pickett is a junior but declared his decision to enter the 2022 NFL Draft — as well as his decision to skip this bowl game. Likewise, WR Taysir Mack also announced that he is opting out of the game to concentrate on preparing for the draft.
Pittsburgh will also be without offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, who resigned to take the same position at Nebraska.
Michigan State will be without star running back Kenneth Walker III, who also opted out of the game to concentrate on his draft prep.
The decisions by Pickett and Walker to opt out of the game really leaves it without star power. That said, these are still the 10th and 12th ranked teams in the country, and they didn’t get there because of one guy. There will be some mid to late round prospects on the field — and as Giants fans well know, those are the players teams need to hit on to make the jump and be consistently competitive.
Starting with Pittsburgh, keep an eye on LT Carter Warren, who was named second-team All-ACC this year. The Panthers also got a break-out season from tight end Lucas Krull, who nabbed 37 passes for 443 yards and 6 touchdowns this year. Krull has prototypical size for an NFL tight end at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, and is regarded as having solid athleticism to go with reliable hands. Krull could be an option if the Giants look for a tight end on Day 3.
Junior receiver Jared Wayne hasn’t declared for the draft yet, but the departure of his quarterback and offensive coordinator could make that decision easier than it might be. Wayne has good size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and has a tendency to flash on tape. He was used in the slot and out wide and shows good route running and reliable hands.
Over on the Michigan State side of things, running back turned tight end Connor Heyward is certainly intriguing. At 6-foot, 230 pounds he doesn’t have the frame to be an NFL tight end. However, he could be a good candidate to transition to H-back. There, he could put his varied skillset to use in a similar manner as Kyle Juszczyk on the San Francisco 49ers. Safety Xavier Henderson isn’t likely to be a target for the Giants, though he’s an impact player for the Spartans. Henderson does his best work near the line of scrimmage, and is a factor in run defense as well as pass coverage.