NFL Draft: Russell Athletic 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 Russell Athletic Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.

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Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson

When: Dec 29th, 5:30 PM (EST)


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DT Jordan Phillips, SO #80 (6’6 | 334 | 5.21)

Scouting report – Massive nose tackle prospect, who is only a redshirt sophomore so he may not declare for the draft this year. If he does, Phillips has a good shot to be drafted in the first round. Phillips has unusual athleticism for a man his size and already has experience playing NT in a 3-4 which will help his transition to the pros. With his size he is going to be a force against the run, but Williams has a surprisingly quick first step which could generate some inside pressure as well.

Projection: 1st-2nd round

LT Tyrus Thompson, SR #71 (6’5 | 336 | 5.21)

Scouting report – Prototype size for an NFL tackle with a wide base and long arms, but inconsistent technique and mental lapses could drop Thompson to day 2. When he’s on his game Thompson can dominate in both run and pass blocking, but it hasn’t happened as often as it should. He had a good performance this year against Baylor and top DE Shawn Oakman, which showed Thompson’s potential if his can improve his technique. Thompson also gets bull rushed too often for a man his size. Good value as a developmental tackle if he falls to the mid-rounds.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round

RT Daryl Williams, SR #79 (6’6 | 329 | 5.36)

Scouting report – Less athletic than his line-mate Thompson, but is more consistent with his technique and blocking responsibilities. Williams is decent in pass pro, but excels as a run blocker. He projects as a starting caliber right tackle in the NFL.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round

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LB/DE Eric Striker, JR #19 (6’0 | 225 | 4.58)

Scouting report – An undersized college DE who may have to change positions at the next level. Striker plays bigger than he’s listed and a position change shouldn’t be an issue as he played all over the field for the Sooners defense. He has a lightning quick first step and gets off the line so fast it looks like he is offsides. Striker is a dangerous pass rusher with the natural ability to dip and get almost parallel to the ground coming off the edge. He should be an excellent blitzer, solid against the run, and good in coverage though he will struggle against tall targets. The biggest knocks on Striker are his weight and strength, he’s going to get swallowed up by NFL-sized blockers. It’s possible a team could look to move Striker to strong safety, but I’m not sure he has the speed for it and that takes him farther from the QB negating his best attribute. Wherever he ends up, Striker has elite pass rush ability, good instincts and is a natural football player who can be effective at multiple positions. His best position is probably as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but I think he can play on the weak side in a 4-3 as well.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round

G Adam Shead, SR #74 (6’4 | 339 | 5.34)

Scouting report – Three year starter who has been a consistent run-blocker for the Sooners. Shead has good technique in both run and pass blocking with long arms and a good anchor. Solid all around player with no notable flaws, but not a lot of upside either.

Projection: 3rd-4th round

OLB Geno Grissom, SR #85 (6’4 | 252 | 4.82)

Scouting report – Raw edge rusher who is more of an athlete than a football player. The Sooners have moved Grissom all over the field trying to find a position that best utilizes his elite athleticism. Grissom has flashed potential at OLB showing some natural pass rush ability and innate timing on pass deflections, but still makes too many bad reads and really struggles in coverage. He should be able to have an impact on special teams right away and has the tools to become a dangerous OLB with some coaching.

Projection: 3rd-4th round