NFL Draft: National University Holiday Bowl

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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 National University Holiday Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.

More from Chicago Bears Draft

National University Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC

When: Dec 27th, 8 PM (EST)


DE Randy Gregory, JR #4 (6’6, 245, 4.79)

Scouting report – A natural pass-rusher who has all the tools to be a double-digit sack guy in the NFL right away. Gregory already has 3 or 4 polished pass rush moves and has the instincts to know when to use them. He has a quick first step, has shown the ability to shed blocks and can run down QBs in pursuit. As a pass rusher Gregory is the total package, but his run defense could be a weak spot early in his NFL career. He doesn’t have the strength to hold his position when teams run right at him, so he will need to get considerably stronger to become an all around force at DE.

NFL ceiling – Julius Peppers

Projection – Top 10

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

RB Ameer Abdullah, SR #8 (5’9, 195, 4.48)

Scouting report – Doesn’t have a standout trait athletically and his measurements are pretty average across the board, but Abdullah is a special runner. He’s patient, reads his blocking very well, has great vision, changes direction with almost no loss of speed, and has a variety of moves including a Walter Payton-esque leg kick that you don’t see much anymore. Despite not being a big back, Abdullah runs with power, keeps his pad level low, and runs through arm tackles. He is also a polished receiver who often lined up in the slot and ran multiple different routes. He’s a complete back who may not get the attention he deserves because it is such a deep RB class, but I think he will end up as a 3-down starter in the NFL.

NFL ceiling – Jamaal Charles

Projection: 2nd-3rd round

WR Kenny Bell, SR #80 (6’1, 185, 4.52)

Scouting report – The Cornhuskers don’t throw the ball much which has limited Bell’s production, but he has led the team in receiving for 4 straight seasons. Bell has average measurables across the board, but is a polished route runner, has good hands, and is one of the best blocking wide receivers in college football. He is already close to a finished product and should be ready to play right away at the next level. Bell’s lack of upside will probably push him to day 3, but his intangibles, blocking, and reliability will ensure he gets drafted at some point.

Projection: 5th-7th round

SS Corey Cooper, SR #6 (6’1, 215, 4.62)

Scouting report – Good size for a safety and has been a consistent presence in the Nebraska secondary the last two seasons. Cooper is a solid in-the-box safety who has improved his pass coverage as a senior. He’s a big hitter and displays good tackling form, but needs to improve his anticipation and angles in pass coverage. Cooper could provide solid depth and special teams play off the bat with the potential to develop into a league average starter in a year or two.

Projection: 6th-7th round