Prospects to Watch for in Saturday's Bowl Games

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

College bowl season begins Saturday and for many people it will be the first time they get the chance to see some of the potential draft prospects in action. We breakdown each match-up to highlight the prospects you should keep an eye on in the first weekend of the college bowl season.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Colorado State vs. Washington State

Shaquil Barrett, OLB Colorado State-

Barrett was one of the better pass rushers in the NCAA in the 2013 season putting up 12 sacks and five hurries. At 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds he projects nicely as a 3-4 OLB. He has a good first step, active hands and a great motor. He was used as both a stand-up OLB and a hand in the dirt pass rusher for Colorado State. Barrett had the chance to go against elite competition when his team played Alabama this season. He was primarily match-up against Cyrus Kouandijo (a potential top 15 pick in the 2014 draft). Barrett gave Kouandijo all he could handle putting up 1.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 1.5 TFL and 5 total tackles. Having a good game against higher level competition in the bowl game could solidify his status as a potential second or third round pick.

Weston Richburg, OC Colorado State

Richburg has NFL size at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and nice display of athleticism. In a weak class for his position he may very well be the second center taken in the draft. He excels in pass blocking showing a good ability to mirror his opponent. Richburg needs to improve his strength but could be an intriguing pick for a zone team around the third round.

Deone Bucannon, SS Washington State

The Cougars have very little talent on their roster but they have one player with serious NFL potential, Deone Bucannon. The Cougars safety possess an NFL frame at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds and he had a great 2013 season with five interceptions, 109 tackles ( 1st in the PAC-12) and he earned 2nd Team All-American honors. Bucannon isn't just a one year wonder in 2012 he had four INTs and 106 total tackles, and in 2011 he had three INTs and 80 total tackles. He possesses a good blend of size and straight line speed while being a willing (and able) tackler. In fact Bucannon is know for his hard hitting ability. However he struggles with his change of direction and is not a safety that could play man coverage against a WR in the NFL. Bucannon possess a good skill set and will likely be pick on day two of the draft.

Las Vegas Bowl

Fresno State vs. USC

Derek Carr, QB Fresno State

Derek Carr is the brother of David Carr the former first overall draft choice of the Houston Texans. He has arguably the fastest release and the strongest arm of any QB prospect this year. He led Fresno State's wide open offense amassing, 4866 yards, 48 TD, 7 INTs and completing 70 percent of his passes. Like many strong arm QBs, Carr struggles at putting the touch on the throws. He needs to show more awareness in the pocket and there are also questions about his ability read defenses coming from the offense he plays. Despite these concerns Carr is the highest rated senior QB in this class and likely a first round pick.

Davante Adams, WR. Fresno State

Adams is a redshirt sophomore measuring in at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He has put in his draft evaluation request after an eye popping second year in the Fresno State offense. He caught 122 passes for 1645 yards and a ridiculous 23 TDs. A former high school basketball star as well as football star, Fresno State athletic's website claims he runs a 4.48 forty yard dash and post a 42 inch vertical leap. The latter might be more believable as Adams is rarely challenge for jump ball. He shows an impressive ability to locate the ball and get it at its highest point and an even more impressive body control to come down in play. Adams doesn't run the full route tree at Fresno State and that might be his biggest concern. The twenty year old Adams may choose to enter the draft and if he does he is looking at being a low first to high second round pick. Maybe to the Steelers?

Marqise Lee, WR USC

USC has a few players who could be considered in different rounds of the draft but none of them are as highly evaluated as Marqise Lee. Lee won the Biletnikoff Award award and was a unanimous All-American in 2012. He toyed with the idea to enter last years draft. This year Lee was plagued with a knee injury causing him to miss three games and wasn't the explosive player he was in 2012. He had only 50 receptions, 673 yards and 2 TDs. Lee is going to need a big bowl game to repair his status as a potential top 10 pick. Regardless NFL teams understand what Lee is capable of when healthy so don't expect him to fall out of the first round if he declares for the draft.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo

No small school prospect is being evaluated as high as Buffalo's Khalil Mack. The OLB is 6-foot-3 248 pounds and athletic. He flies from side line to sideline with an amazing motor. Mack finished 2013 with 94 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 19 TFL. In his career at Buffalo he has 75 career TFLs and 16 forced fumbles both are NCAA records. Mack has an explosive first step as a pass rusher and has shined when playing against better competition. He also plays with deceptive power with the ability to drive offensive tackles back into the pocket. Against Ohio State he was all over the field posting 2.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL and 9 total tackles. If Mack shows again that he can play against any level of competition in this bowl game and at the Senior Bowl he could potential jump Anthony Barr as the draft class' best pass rusher.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Tulane vs. UL Lafayette

Ryan Grant, WR Tulane

Grant is 6-foot 192 pounds and catches the ball well. He also runs good routes but there are concerns about his overall athleticism and level of competition he faced in college. He also has dealt with issues of holding on to the football after the catch. Overall Grant is a late round WR prospect with some upside to make a roster.

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