College football bowl season is under way. If you are like most NFL fans, you know some players on the top college football teams but that is about it. As a Bears fan, my NFL season has been over for weeks so I’ve gotten an early start on my scouting for next year’s NFL draft.
I love watching football even if it’s games I have no rooting interest in, so over the holidays I end watching a lot of random bowl games. One thing that makes the bowl games more interesting for me is to keep an eye on players who will be drafted next season. This year I will breaking down the players who have a shot at getting drafted for most of the remaining bowl games. If you end up watching the Duck Commander Independence Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.
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Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Miami vs South Carolina
When: Dec 27th, 3:30 PM (EST)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
MLB Denzel Perryman, SR #52 (6’0, 242, 4.7)
Scouting report – Total package at MLB. Perryman is a tough, sideline-to-sideline run stopper with great play recognition and instincts. He has good short area quickness, closes on the ball well, and has shown the ability to shed blockers in traffic. Coming into the season his pass coverage skills were in question, but Perryman improved significantly in coverage to the point where it’s no longer considered a weakness. At only 6 feet tall, he will always be at a disadvantage against tall TEs, but that is the only weakness I can find in Perryman’s game. He’s my #1 ILB this year and a first round lock.
NFL comparison – Ray Lewis
Projection: 1st round pick (hopefully by the Bears!)
OT Ereck Flowers, JR #74 (6’6, 324, 5.33)
Scouting report – One of the most improved players in the nation this year, Flowers has developed into a well-rounded LT prospect. He has great feet in pass pro, prototype LT size, and the quickness to neutralize edge rushers. Flowers has been solid in the run game as well, consistently opening up holes off tackle for Duke Johnson. Even more impressive is that Flowers played most of the season with a torn meniscus and also played his best games when matched up against DEs with an NFL future. With a strong performance in today’s bowl game and pre-draft workouts Flowers could lock up a 1st round grade.
Projection: 1st-2nd round
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
RB Duke Johnson, JR #8 (5’9, 206, 4.42)
Scouting report – A threat to take it to the end zone every time he touches the ball. Johnson is one of the most exciting backs to watch in the country; He has elite acceleration and change of direction ability. Johnson is also a smooth receiver out of the backfield with good hands and ridiculous moves in the open field. He’s also a dangerous kick and punt returner. The main knock on Johnson is his size, which will probably limit him to a time-share in the NFL, and his injury history. Johnson missed half of 2013 with a broken ankle and plenty of snaps in 2014 with a variety of minor injuries. His elite play-making ability will get Johnson drafted no later than day 2 and he should make an impact as a rookie.
NFL comparison – LeShon McCoy
Projection: 2nd-3rd round
TE Clive Walford, SR #46 (6’4 258, 4.70)
Scouting report – May not play in today’s bowl game due to a knee injury suffered late in the season. Before his injury Walford was having an excellent year, leading the Hurricanes with 44 catches, 676 yards and 7 receiving TDs. Walford is primarily a receiving TE with good acceleration off the line, the size to create mismatches, and generally reliable hands. He doesn’t have the strength to be much of a run blocker, but his above average athleticism and receiving ability could get Walford drafted on day 2.
Projection: 3rd-4th round