Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Each of the six games played today will have at least one NFL draft pick and many of the games feature potential first or second round picks. Whether it is Johnathan Banks in the Gator Bowl, John Jenkins in the Capital One Bowl, or Montee Ball in the Rose Bowl, there will be incredible amounts of talent on the field at all times.
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern - Gator Bowl
Johnathan Banks, cornerback, Mississippi State - Banks came into the year as a projected first round pick and boy did he not disappoint. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, he has ideal size to be an NFL corner and he has shown lockdown ability. He also has shown the ability to make the big play and has picked off many passes. He is great in run support as well. He is projected as a top twenty pick in the draft.
Chad Bumphis, wide receiver, Mississippi State - At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Bumphis projects as a slot receiver in the NFL. He does not have great speed but he is very shifty and is a great route runner. He also has great hands and rarely drops anything. He is projected as a Day Three pick and he could be a big steal.
Darius Slay, cornerback, Mississippi State - Slay is the lesser known Bulldog corner but he is a baller as well. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he also has good size and has shown the ability to be a lockdown corner. He does not make the plays on the ball that his teammate makes but he is a sound tackler and a smart player. He is projected as a Day Three pick but I would not be surprised if he went in the third round.
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State - Hearts of Dallas Bowl
Quinn Sharp, punter, Oklahoma State - Sharp, a do-it-all special teamer for Oklahoma State, is projected to be the first punter taken in the draft come April. He has a big leg and has shown the ability to pin balls inside the 20.
South Carolina vs. Michigan - Outback Bowl
DeVonte Holloman, safety, South Carolina - Holloman, at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, is a safety in a linebackers body. He is a massive hitter that can deliver painful blows with just one step of acceleration. He is great in run support but slightly limited in pass coverage and because of that he is projected as a third or fourth round pick. He reminds me a lot of Jets strong safety Laron Landry.
D.J. Swearinger, safety, South Carolina - Swearinger, at 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, is the free safety for South Carolina and is more highly rated than his strong safety counterpart Holloman. Swearinger has great covering abilities, makes big plays, and is very technically sound and is rated as a second or third round prospect because of all these abilities.
Devin Taylor, 4-3 defensive end, 3-4 outside linebacker, South Carolina - Taylor is massive at 6-foot-8, 270 pounds but is also a great athlete. He was highly rated coming into his junior season but has battled injuries the past two seasons and has seen his stock fall because of it. However, with his great athleticism and big potential, he is still likely to be a third or fourth round draft pick and a team will hope they can coach him up.
Denard Robinson, quarterback, wide receiver, Michigan - Robinson, at just 6-foot-0, 200 pounds, does not have the size to be an NFL quarterback. However, with his unbelievable athleticism and great quickness, I could see him catching on in a similar way to Bills wide receiver Brad Smith. Robinson could learn to be a wide receiver and play slot and also have a package as a quarterback. He is currently projected as a fifth or sixth round pick.
Georgia vs. Nebraska - Capital One Bowl
John Jenkins, nose tackle, Georgia - Jenkins is massive at 6-foot-3, 360 pounds. He uses his size to be an unblockable force in the middle and has been a real force in the run game. However, he is not totally immobile and actually can move pretty well for his size. He is currently projected as a first round pick but he has to make sure to stay in shape so his stock does not fall.
Tavarres King, wide receiver, Georgia - King, at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, has good size and also possesses good quickness and top end speed. He is a polished route runner with good hands to go along. However, he is not much of a blocker and also does not have elite production. He is projected as a fourth or fifth round pick but I could see him going as early as the third round.
Bacarri Rambo, safety, Georgia - Rambo, standing 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, is a highly touted safety prospect projected to go in the second round. He has very good athleticism and good closing speed. He takes mostly good angles and is a solid open field tackler. He also has a knack for making good plays. I would say his big weakness is sometimes he seems to over-pursue and gives up the big play because of it.
Shawn Williams, safety, Georgia - As Rambo's coutnerpart, Williams has put together an incredible season and his stock has risen because of it. At 6-foot-1, 217 pounds, he has the desired size of an NFL safety and he also possesses the speed and athleticism to cover slot receivers. He is a big time hitter and makes a ton of big plays. He has to work on form tackling and just making the simple play sometimes but as a projected third or fourth round pick, he could be a major steal.
Rex Burkhead, running back, Nebraska - Burkhead is a super productive running back who can do-it-all. At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, he has the necessary bulk to be a three down back in the NFL. He is a great receiving threat and has great cutting ability. His top end speed is adequate but not elite. He is projected as a third or fourth round pick but I could see him rising to the second round when scouts take another look at him.
Baker Steinkuhler, defensive tackle, Nebraska - At 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, Steinkuhler has a great combination of size and strength. He is disruptive in the middle of Nebraska's 4-3 defensive and he projects as a 4-3 under tackle at the next level. He has some injury concerns and has also had some games where he disappeared totally but he is a hard worker and could be a major steal as a projected Day Three pick.
Wisconsin vs. Stanford - Rose Bowl
Montee Ball, running back, Wisconsin - Ball, a former Heisman candidate, has had an unbelievably productive college career. He runs with great power and has a viscous stiff arm. However, there are concerns that he has been over-used, having over 300 attempts in each of the last two seasons. He also lacks top end speed. He is projected as a second or third round pick and that is likely his ceiling.
Ricky Wagner, offensive tackle, Wisconsin - Wagner has been a dominant offensive tackle for Wisconsin for the last two years. At 6-foot-6, 317 pounds, he has good size and is also buck strong. He is a dominant force in the run game but he is only average to above average in the passing game. Therefore, he projects best as a right tackle at the next level and that is limiting his stock to the third or fourth round.
Shayne Skov, linebacker, Stanford - Skov, at 6-foot-3, 242 pounds, has the size necessary to play many positions at the next level. Some project him as a 3-4 outside linebacker while others say he is best in the middle of a 3-4 scheme. This versatility is likely going to raise his stock. He is a good pass rusher with great instincts and he is a very good tackler. He has shown some ability in coverage and works very hard. He projects as a second or third round pick and he could be a major steal.
Stepfan Taylor, running back, Stanford - At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Taylor is extremely compact and runs with great cutting ability. He has great vision and also good top end speed. In some of the games I saw him play, he also showed that he is a very good blocking back as well. He projects as a late first or second round pick and I think he is going to be a three down running back at the next level and that he will be a star.
Chase Thomas, outside linebacker, Stanford - At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, Thomas has ideal size to be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He has an explosive first step and is good in every single part needed for a 3-4 outside linebacker. However, he does not have elite athleticism and he will have his stock peek in the second round. I think he will go in the top fifty picks when it is all said and done.
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State - Orange Bowl
Cornellius Carradine, defensive end, Florida State - Referred to as Tank, Carradine is extremely strong and has the size to match. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Tank has awesome explosiveness and also uses his hands extremely well. He plays with a great motor and never quits on a play. He is projected as a third or fourth round pick but I think he could rise into the second round.
Brandon Jenkins, 4-3 defensive end, 3-4 outside linebacker, Florida State - Jenkins came into the year as a possible first round pick but injuries derailed his season. At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, he is built like Steelers linebacker Lamarr Woodley and plays a lot like him as well. He is great in the run game and can also be a demon off the edge. However, he needs some coaching on his technique and is a bit of a project. He is projected as a Day Three pick and with proper coaching he could become a big steal.
E.J. Manuel, quarterback, Florida State - At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Manuel has the perfect size for an NFL quarterback. He also has great athleticism and good arm strength. However, he has horrible technique and makes horrible reads and therefore, he is projected as a Day Three pick. With proper coaching and patience, Manuel could reach his potential and become a starter but it is going to take time.
Chris Thompson, running back, Florida State - At just 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, Thompson is a minuscule back. However, he has incredible speed and is very explosive. He has great vision and is very elusive. His lack of size is going to limit his stock to Day Three of the draft but he could very quickly become a productive NFL back.