College football bowl season starts this Saturday. If you are like most NFL fans, you know some of the top NFL draft prospects but that is about it. As a Bears fan, I’ve been looking forward to the draft for a few months now, so I’ve gotten an early start on my scouting for the 2017 NFL draft.
Like last season, I will be breaking down the potential NFL players in every bowl game to give you an idea who to watch. I’ve listed at least one player on each team who have a shot at hearing their names called in the draft or at least getting a training camp invite. So if you end up watching the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico vs UT-San Antonio
Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m. (EST), ESPN
#7 RB Teriyon Gipson (5’8 | 190 | 4.42)
His lack of size may keep Gipson from hearing his name called during the draft, but he’s explosive enough that he will get a chance in some team’s training camp. Gipson is a fun back to watch and a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.
He’s leading the nation in yards per carry with 9.2 which is a full yard more than the next best player. Gipson has also but up 1,209 yards and 12 touchdowns in just ten games.
The Lobos run a triple option offense will be much different than what he’s going to run on the next level, which won’t help his draft stock. Gipson also hasn’t caught the ball much with just eight catches this year.
Gipson has the speed and vision to help a team as either a change-of-pace back or more likely a return man. He lacks the size to be an every-down back, but is so explosive with the ball and naturally elusive that he could be a weapon at the NFL level if used right.
Projection: 6th-7th round
#2 RB Jarveon Williams (5’9 | 200 | 4.47)
Another small back, but Williams is more of a well-balanced receiving back than a homerun hitter like Gipson. Williams does a little bit of everything, he can take it between the tackles, catch the ball outside the hashes, and has enough bulk to break a tackle or two in traffic.
Williams isn’t a burner, but has good enough speed and soft hands out of the backfield to be a Theo Riddick type player at the next level. There are no blatant flaws in his game, besides maybe his lack of height and his numbers being down this year (4.1 ypc) compared to 2015 (6.0 ypc).
His yards per carry may be down, but Williams has almost doubled his yards per catch (11.8) from last season. I don’t expect Williams to get drafted, but if he runs better than expected pre-draft a team could like his receiving ability and overall versatility enough to take him late on day three.