On Saturday, their will be five bowl games but only three will have any relevance to NFL Draft fans. However, the three games will be loaded with potential first round picks and other likely high draft picks.
West Virginia vs. Syracuse – Pinstripe Bowl
Tavon Austin, wide receiver, West Virginia – Standing just 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, Austin would not look to be a first round prospect. However, with blazing speed, unbelievable shiftiness, and incredible hands and route running ability, that is exactly what Austin has become. He also has the ability to be a halfback and take some carries as well. The only "weakness" in Austin’s game is his lack of size but he has managed to turn that diminutive stature into a strength.
Geno Smith, quarterback, West Virginia – Smith, one of the more productive college quarterbacks of the past five years, has taken advantage of Matt Barkley’s bad season to become the top quarterback prospect in the draft. He has incredible arm strength, great athleticism, and good accuracy. He is playing to prove that he is the first pick in the draft.
Alec Lemon, wide receiver, Syracuse –At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Lemon has the size that NFL scouts look for in a WR. He also has proven to be an above average route runner and has shown good hands as well. One weakness in his game is the lack of top end speed and that will likely limit his draft value. He is currently projected to go between the third and fifth round and I don’t see this game changing much.
Ryan Nassib, quarterback, Syracuse – Nassib has had two incredible seasons in a row and is seeing his draft stock reflect that. At 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, he has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback and he has all the tools needed without being exceptional at anything. He is currently projected as a second round pick but he has the opportunity to rise with a good offseason, starting with this bowl game.
Justin Pugh, offensive tackle, Syracuse – Pugh has done an unbelievable job protecting Nassib’s blindside and has shown that he has the tools and skill set to be an NFL left tackle. However, his stock is limited because he seems to lack the strength needed to be a dominant run blocker. He is currently projected as a Day three pick in April.
Texas vs. Oregon State – Alamo Bowl
Alex Okafor, 4-3 defensive end, 3-4 outside linebacker, Texas – Okafor was at one time projected to be a first round draft pick because of his unbelievable athleticism and great size. However, his stock has fallen slightly and he is currently projected to be a Day Two pick. With a great offseason, he could easily see his stock rise back into the first round.
Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas – Vaccaro, at 6-foot-1, 218 pounds, has turned in an incredible senior season and now appears to be a likely first round draft pick. He is going to battle LSU safety Eric Reid all offseason to be the first safety taken in the draft. Vaccaro has shown the ability to cover slot wide receivers, make open field plays while playing center field, and make tackles in the run game.
Jordan Poyer, cornerback, Oregon State – Poyer, at 6-foot-0, 190 pounds, has had back to back phenomenal years and is now projected to be no worse than a third round pick. Poyer has shown great cover skills and has shown the ability to make plays on the ball. His one weakness seems to be open field tackling but it seems to be more of a lack of proper technique rather than a lack of effort.
Markus Wheaton, wide receiver, Oregon State – Wheaton, at 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, has incredible shiftiness and is willing to go over the middle. He has solid hands and runs solid routes as well. He is slightly undersized and struggles as a blocker because of it. He is currently projected to be an early Day Three pick but could rise to the third round with a solid offseason.
TCU vs. Michigan State – Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Johnny Adams, cornerback, Michigan State – Adams came into the year with hopes of proving that he is a first round pick. However, he has had a disappointing year and his stock has fallen dramatically. He is currently projected to go anywhere from the fifth to seventh round and the main reason is his propensity to give up big plays. It seemed every time I watched Michigan State play, I saw Adams give up a big play.