As we near the end of the second tier of bowls we get a good group here with six Power 5 schools facing off each other with some very notable prospects playing. Whether it’s the number one running back in the draft, a couple of sleeper quarterbacks, a high end receiver and a dominant run defender. Our December 28th Bowl Prospect Preview takes a look at the top 2019 NFL Draft prospects playing in today’s bowl games.
December 28th Bowl Prospect Preview
Purdue Boilermakers vs Auburn Tigers
12:30 CST on ESPN
QB David Blough
C Kirk Barron
TE Cole Herdman
DT Lorenzo Neal Jr.
LB Markus Bailey
SS Brennan Thieneman
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) October 10, 2018
The big name in this bowl is Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham who will be playing his final game for the Tigers before he leaves for the NFL Draft. There was a lot of buzz around Stidham coming into the season with his arm talent garnering some first round talk. However Stidham struggled throughout his second season with Auburn. While Stidham is likely going to be a better pro than college player, a big game here before the Senior Bowl would be huge for his stock. The also Tigers have two talented run stuffers in the middle looking to clog lanes. Derrick Brown is the best defender on Auburn’s team showing elite strength at the point of attack and can physically manhandle opposing offensive lineman. Dontavious Russell is a good run defender also, but unlike Brown he just seems to clog up lanes and lacks the playmaking ability that Brown has. Purdue’s program is on the rise, but at this point most of their top players are underclassmen and they only have a couple of draftable prospects. Quarterback David Blough is a former Elite 11 quarterback and has had up and down success with the Boilermakers. However he is coming off a good season and will be at the East/West Shrine Game. Purdue’s best prospect is likely junior Markus Bailey whose built like the modern day linebacker at 6’1 235 with the ability to read and react to the ball. Bailey lead the Boilermakers in sacks and tackles and should be somebody that goes off the board on day three.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs Syracuse Orange
4:15 CST on ESPN
West Virginia Prospects
WR Marcus Simms
WR David Sills (#7 WR)
TE Trevon Wesco
RT Colten McKivitz
NT Kenny Bigelow
DB Dravon Askew-Henry
SS Toyous Avery
QB Eric Dungy
WR Jamal Custis
TE Ravian Pierce
RT Koda Martin
DT Chris Slayton
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) October 10, 2018
No Bowl gave has been hit worse for players sitting out the games to prep for the NFL Draft than this game as West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, left tackle Yodny Cajuste and receiver Gary Jennings have chose not to play. This does put a hamper on the game because Grier is one of the top five quarterbacks in this class and Cajuste has the potential to be a first round draft pick. But that doesn’t mean that this won’t be a shootout and the Mountaineers still have draft talent playing in this game. Receiver David Sills is the top prospect playing and he reminds me a lot of Cooper Kupp because of his size (6’3), his ability to get in and out of breaks and able to make tough catches. Not having Cajuste will be felt, but keep an eye on right tackle Colten McKivitz who is a prospect in his own right. Syracuse has a quarterback/receiver tandem in Eric Dungey and Jamal Custis. Dungey isn’t overly accurate but is a good athlete and has that Baker Mayfield level competitiveness. Custis is a height/weight/speed prospect who at 6’5 can win with his physical traits alone and has finally put it all together this year.
Iowa State Cyclones vs Washington State Cougars
8:00 CST on ESPN
The Alamo Bowl is always one of my favorite Bowls just because of the City of San Antonio and they always get good teams and exciting players. This year is no different with top ranked passing attack of Washington State and an Iowa State team that is very talented and has a couple of prospects that could be one of the top prospects drafted at their position. Washington State’s offense starts with Gardner Minshew who came out of nowhere to throw for the second most passing yards in the nation. Minshew thrives with plus ball placement and anticipation skills that allow him to make up for an average arm strength. While Minshew gets all the attention his left tackle Andre Dillard is the Cougars top prospects. Dillard is an excellent pass protector with plus lateral agility and foot quickness that allow him to mirror any pass rusher. For Iowa State their offense has two elite weapons in running back David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler. Butler has been a playmaking machine for Iowa State using his straight line speed and size (6’6 225lbs) to win at the catch point down the field. Butler may struggle to separate, but there is no denying his size and catching radius. As for Montgomery he runs with good burst and lateral agility but his contact balance is elite allowing him to bounce off defenders and keep runs going.
Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler showing off his body control and catching radius to turn back and make the back shoulder fade, come down and accelerate into the end zone #NFLDraft #Cyclones pic.twitter.com/EeZuTPXb1D
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) November 10, 2018