December 28th Bowls NFL Draft Prospects Preview

December 28, 2017

Virginia Cavaliers vs Navy Midshipmen
12:30 CST on ESPN

Virginia Prospects
QB Kurt Benkert
WR Donovan Dowling
DE Andrew Brown
ILB Micah Kiser
FS Quin Blanding

Navy Prospects
WR Tyler Carmona
RG Evan Martin
ILB Micah Thomas
OLB DJ Palmore

Normally Service academies don’t offer much for NFL Draft prospects but this year is a bit different as both RG Evan Martin and OLB DJ Palmore offer some hope. Palmore was will be attending the East/West Shrine Game and has a team high 12.5 sacks this year and has the athletic traits that translate to the NFL. For Virginia they have an intriguing quarterback prospect in Kurt Benkert who flashed at the end of the season, but their best prospects are on defense. DE Andrew Brown is a versatile defender who can rush both outside and inside. MLB Micah Kiser is a do it all linebacker but doesn’t excel in any area, while FS Quin Blanding is at his best when he’s coming down and helping in the run game.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs Oklahoma State Cowboys
:15 on ESPN

Virginia Tech Prospects
LG Wyatt Teller
MLB Andrew Motuapuaka
ILB Tremaine Edmunds
CB Brandon Facyson
CB Greg Stroman
CB Adonis Alexander

Oklahoma State Prospects
QB Mason Rudolph
WR James Washington
WR Marcell Ateman
RT Zachary Crabtree
FS Tre Flowers

A strength on strength matchup seeing the Oklahoma State passing attack against a good Virginia Tech secondary is a dream come true for NFL Draft fans. Oklahoma State brings in a much hyped QB and WR trio featuring QB Mason Rudolph (#7 QB) who when in rhythm can really be deadly deliver the ball to his receivers both in short areas and attacking down the field. Rudolph has two different WRs at his disposal as James Washington (#11 WR) who is a deadly a downfield threat with his combination of speed and ball tracking ability while Marcell Ateman is a big bodied receiver who wins with the ball in the air on intermediate throws helping move the chains. Virginia Tech will look to slow this attack with their three good corners. They’ll see a talented Hokie secondary featuring the ultra-athlete Adonis Alexander (#11 CB), technically sound Greg Stroman (#16 CB) and the tall and long Brandon Faycson. With three different types of corners the Hokies should be able to match up with the Cowboys and cover man to man. Outside of the WRs/CBs facing off another player to watch is Virginia Tech LG Wyatt Teller (#5 G). Teller plays with good leverage despite being 6’5 and is able to slide laterally to cut off defenders while also being used on the move to block in the run game.

Stanford Cardinal vs TCU Horned Frogs
:00 CST on ESPN

Stanford Prospects
RB Bryce Love
TE Dalton Schultz
LG David Bright
C Jesse Burkett
DT Harrison Phillips
OLB Peter Kalambayi
CB Quenton Meeks

TCU Prospects
QB Kenny Hill
RB Kyle Hicks
TE Cole Hunt
LT Joseph Noteboom
C Austin Schlottman
DE Matt Boesen
SLB Travin Howard
CB Ranthony Texada
S Nick Orr

This will be a fun game of two very distinctive styles as Stanford brings their physical pound the ball against a TCU defense that is used to seeing the spread the ball out and speed of the Big 12. TCU has some defenders in LB Travin Howard and S Nick Orr (#9 S) that are worth checking out. Howard is a smaller linebacker but is at his best when he’s coming downhill and making plays on the ball. That will be crucial as the Cardinal are sure to feed RB Bryce Love (#4 RB) early and often. Love is an explosive runner who can be patient allowing blocks to develop before bursting through the offensive line. Keep an eye out for Orr who could have a good game because of his his ability to come down and make open tackles. When TCU has the ball their best prospect is RB Kyle Hicks who is a smooth rusher that can navigate through tackles and gain extra yards because of his balance and tough running. This side of the ball also gives us a chance to watch LT Joseph Noteboom (#7 OT) face off against OLB Peter Kalambayi (#9 Edge). Kalambayi is a pure speed rusher who wants to beat tackles off the ball while Noteboom uses good lateral burt to attack pass rushers and then lock on with his good hand strength.


Washington State Cougars vs Michigan State Spartans
:00 CST on Fox

Washington State Prospects
QB Luke Falk
RB Jamal Morrow
RT Cole Madison
LG Cody O’Connell
DT Hercules Mata’afa

Michigan State Prospects
RB LJ Scott
C Brian Allen
DE Demetrius Cooper
SLB Chris Frey

An intriguing matchup between two different teams as the Spartans are loaded with young talent while the Cougars are more senior laden. The top prospect in this game is Washington State DT Hercules Mata’afa (#6 DL) who is a human wrecking machine up front using explosive quickness off the ball to get into the backfield and blow up plays. While Mata’afa lines up mainly at the 3 technique going against guards, he does kick inside to the 1 technique and will see C Brian Allen (#7 C). Allen isn’t the most physical blockers but uses good technique. This matchup will allow us to get a good look at Allen’s lateral quickness to see if he can cut off and limit Mata’afa. Michigan State RB LJ Scott is also someone to keep an eye as he’s run with good power this year and is at his best when moving north and south. Washington State QB Luke Falk (#14 QB) has had an up and down season but still has some fans in the draft media. Falk is very accurate in the short to intermediate throws, but a lack of good arm strength really affects him the deeper his throws get. Up front the Cougars have two quality offensive lineman in Cody O’Connell (#4 G) and RT Cole Madison. O’Connell is a massive man at 6’7 351lbs but can move laterally in short bursts making it hard to get around or move him.

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