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 Military Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.
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Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech
When: Dec 27th, 1 PM (EST)
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
QB Gunner Kiel, RS-SO #8 (6’4, 208, 4.85)
Scouting report – Will most likely stay in school for at least another season, but Kiel could be tempted to come out due to multiple draft sites ranking Kiel as the 3rd best QB prospect in the 2015 draft after Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Kiel, the former #1 ranked high school QB, has all the physical traits teams look for; He’s tall, has a cannon arm, the quickest release in the draft, can run if needed, and his footwork and mechanics are surprisingly polished for a guy with just one year of starting experience. There are some question marks with Kiel though; I mentioned the small sample size already, he has missed time this year with relatively minor injuries like cramps and bruised ribs, and the Bearcats are Kiel’s 4th college team already which inevitably will lead to questions about his mental toughness. Kiel will have a shot to be the #1 player taken overall if he comes back for another season, but a high 1st round grade might be too tempting for Kiel to pass up. Virginia Tech’s talented secondary with a couple NFL prospects (next page) will be a great test for Kiel.
NFL comparison – Jay Cutler
Projection: 1st round
OT Eric Lefeld, SR #71 (6’5, 309 5.06)
Scouting report – Played well at both right and left tackle for the Bearcats in his college career. Lefeld has very good footwork in pass pro; His kickout is quick and smooth and Lefeld did a good job keeping Gunner Kiel clean his senior year. As a junior Lefeld struggled against future NFL draft picks Kareem Martin (NC) and Marcus Smith (LOU), but was more consistent his senior season. Lefeld has enough tools that he could develop into a starting tackle in the NFL, probably on the right side, but he does have some warts as well. He isn’t very aggressive as a run blocker, he needs to get stronger, and his hand technique needs to improve. Despite some flaws, his potential as a pass blocker will be enough to get him drafted at some point. Lefeld’s match-up with Tech DE Dadi Nicholas will be a tough test and will impact his draft stock.
Projection: 5th-6th round
MLB Jeff Luc, SR #1 (6’1, 256, 4.83)
Scouting report – Former 4-star recruit who transferred to the Bearcats from Florida St. Luc is a powerful run stopper known for crushing hits in the middle of the field. He has the strength to shuck blockers and the short area quickness to attack ball carriers, but doesn’t have enough speed to be a sideline-to-sideline guy and struggles in coverage at times. Luc is a classic 2-down run-stuffing MLB who is an intimidating presence inside and was very productive this year with 120 total tackles and 7 sacks.
NFL comparison: Brandon Spikes
Projection: 6th-7th round