December 29th NFL Draft Bowl Prospects Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Texas A&M Aggies
12:00 CST on ESPN

Wake Forest Prospects
TE Cam Serigne
DE Duke Ejiofor

Texas A&M Prospects
RB Keith Ford
WR Christian Kirk
DE Qualen Cunningham
DE Jarrett Johnson
DT Zaycoven Henderson
CB Priest Willis
SS Armani Watts

Whether it was because the Aggies didn’t have as good of a season or the fact that the quarterback play was underwhelming, but Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk (#2 WR) is hardly talked about. Kirk has good speed and quickness and uses it to create separation in and out of breaks to get open underneath while also running past defenders downfield. Defensively the Aggies have talent but only safety Armani Watts (#10 S) stands out as an early round pick. Watts has the ability to change direction well and the speed to close gaps and react to the ball in the air. Watts can play both free and strong safety which makes him all the more valuable. For Wake Forest their best prospect is defensive end Duke Ejiofor. Ejiofor is an explosive pass rusher who thrives by attacking offensive tackles and then using his heavy hands to get by and wreak havoc in the backfield. Look for Texas A&M to send plenty of attention at him while trying to avoid him in the run game.


North Carolina State Wolfpack vs Arizona State Sun Devils
2
:00 CST on CBS

North Carolina State Prospects
QB Ryan Finley
HB Jaylen Samuels
DE Bradley Chubb
DE Kentavius Street
DT Justin Jones
NT BJ Hill

Arizona State Prospects
RB Kalen Ballage
RB Demario Richard
NT Tashon Smallwood
MLB DJ Calhoun

Having Bradley Chubb (#2 Edge) in this game is enough on its own to watch this game, but luckily there are plenty more prospects that will make it well worth your attention to watch. Chubb was a good pass rusher as a junior, but took his game to a whole new level showing both power and flexibility to attack quarterbacks. He’s likely a top five draft pick in 2018. Along with Chubb the Wolfpack have one of the best defensive lines in the country with Kentavius Street providing a power rusher opposite of Chubb while inside Justin Jones is your typical three technique penetrator and BJ Hill clogs up the running lanes. They’ll be looking to slow down the Arizona State running backs lead by Kalen Ballage (#6 RB) who was grossly underutilized. Ballage has good size at 6’3 and is a talented pass catcher, but was used a traditional back up to Demario Richard rather than moving him around to take advantage of his skill set. One player that wasn’t underutilized is NC State RB/FB/TE/WR Jaylen Samuels (#1 athlete).  Lacking many weapons, the Wolfpack moved Samuels around utilizing his good hands and quickness to change directions creating separation while running routes and finding lanes as a runner. Samuels is a true Swiss Army Knife.


Kentucky Wildcats vs Northwestern Wildcats
3
:30 CST on ESPN

Kentucky Prospects
WR Garrett Johnson
OLB Denzil Ware
OLB Josh Allen
ILB Courtney Love
ILB Jordan Jones

Northwestern Prospects
RB Justin Jackson
C Brad North
DT Tyler Lancaster
S Kyle Queiro
S Godwin Igwebuike

While there may not be any major prospects playing in this game there is still plenty of under the radar talent that will be going on day two and early day three and making an impact in the NFL. Kentucky’s strength is at linebacker where they have Josh Allen providing a long outside linebacker that looks like a poor man’s version of Leonard Floyd. Opposite of him is Denzil Ware who is a straight line pass rusher using quickness off the line. They’ll really look to put pressure on the Northwestern offense and force QB Clayton Thorson (returning for SR year) into some bad decisions. For Northwestern their best prospect is safety Godwin Igwebuike (#7 S) who isn’t flashy but has above average quickness and range that allows him to cover tight ends and sit back in zone.


Utah State Aggies vs New Mexico State Aggies
4
:30 CST on CBSSN

Utah State Prospects
WR Braelon Roberts
CB Jalen Davis

New Mexico State Prospects
RB Larry Rose
WR Jaleel Scott

A pair of New Mexico State prospects highlight this game as RB Larry Rose (#12 RB) is an explosive running back that can make quick changes of direction to make defenders miss and navigate throughout traffic. While Rose handles the job on the ground, WR Jaleel Scott has shown the ability to take over games on the outside. Scott earned an invite to the Senior Bowl and there he can show off his 6’6 frame and contested catching ability. Looking to slow down Scott, Utah State could use cornerback Jalen Davis to use his ball skill and increase his career interception numbers past the 11 he currently has. Davis has shown the ability to come up big as he had 3 interceptions against BYU including two that were returned for touchdowns.


USC Trojans vs Ohio State Buckeyes
7
:30 CST on ESPN

USC Prospects
QB Sam Darnold
RB Ronald Jones
WR Deontay Burnett
WR Steven Mitchell
C Nico Falah
NT Josh Fatu
OLB Uchenna Nwosu
OLB Porter Gustin
ILB Cameron Smith
CB Iman Marshall
SS Chris Hawkins

Ohio State Prospects
QB JT Barrett
TE Marcus Baugh
LT Jamarco Jones
C Billy Price
DT Tracy Sprinkle
DT Dre’Mont Jones
DE Sam Hubbard
DE Jalyn Holmes
DE Tyquan Lewis
WLB Jerome Baker
MLB Chris Worley
CB Denzel Ward
S Damon Webb

Any time you get a USC vs Ohio State matchup there is going to be large amount of NFL talent on the field and this year is no different. USC QB Sam Darnold (#2 QB) is the headliner in this game as he would be the likely number one overall draft pick if he chooses to declare. Darnold has the arm talent, leadership qualities and the much talked about IT factor that gets talent evaluators drooling. Danrold isn’t alone as RB Ronald Jones gives the Trojans an explosive back that can take a small crease and reel off bug chunk runs. Darnold and Jones will be tested in this game as the Buckeyes defense is loaded with 9 prospects that could be drafted if they all enter. Ohio State is stocked with talented pass rushers as Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Homes coming off the edge while Dre’Mont Jones (#5 DL) and Tracy Sprinkle coming up the middle. Linebackers Jerome Baker (#6 LB) and Chris Worley (#5 LB) are both good in space while cornerback Denzel Ward is one of the most fluid defensive backs in this class.

When Ohio State has the ball there isn’t as many top prospects but we do get the opportunity to see LT Jamarco Jones (#5 OT) face off against OLB Uchenna Nwosu who has really upped his game this year using quickness and speed to beat offensive tackles off the ball. Inside the Buckeyes have one of the best interior lineman in this class in C Billy Price (#2 C) who has good strength and athletic ability that allows him to get good leverage and move defenders off the ball. Against USC he’ll see plenty of their NT Josh Fatu is your traditional big space eating nose tackle.

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