College football bowl season is officially underway. If you are like most NFL fans, you know some of the top NFL draft prospects but that is about it. Since the Bears season has been over for awhile, I’ve been looking forward to the draft for a few months now and have 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 most bowl games to give you an idea who to watch. I’ve tried to list at least one player on each team who has a shot at hearing their name called in the draft or at least getting a training camp invite.
If relevant, I’ll discuss how the player may fit in the Bears future plans. So if you end up watching the New Era Pinstripes Bowl, here are some players to keep an eye on.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Pittsburgh vs Northwestern
Wednesday, December 28, 2 p.m., ESPN
#69 T Adam Bisnowaty (6’5 | 300 | 5.04)
Part of arguably the best left-side o-line in college football, Bisnowaty has the long arms and quick feet that NFL teams are looking for on the left side. He’s light for an NFL tackle but plays with a mean streak and physical style that should ease concerns over his weight. Bisnowaty is not a finesse blocker and should only improve after an offseason or two in an NFL strength program.
Bisnowaty fires off the ball in the run game and has a stronger punch than expected for his frame. HIs quick feet and long arms give him the tools necessary to be a solid pass blocker at the next level, though his technique will need some fine-tuning if he’s going to stay on the left side.
The Bears have zero depth at tackle and could be looking for a mid-round pick to add a swing tackle or possible replacement for Bobby Massie on the right side. Bisnowaty has the skill-set to play on either side and could be an ideal target for the Bears.
Projection: 2nd-3rd round
#53 G Dorian Johnson (6’5 | 300 | 5.20)
Part of a dominant left side of the line with Bisnowaty that has helped Pitt average 447.5 yards per game. Johnson’s strength is run blocking due to an explosive burst off the line and enough strength to drive defenders off the ball.
Johnson’s skill-set plays well in Pitt’s power blocking scheme, He’s got good burst moving forward and the athleticism to pull and trap. He can do it all in the run game, but his pass protection needs some work.
Johnson lacks ideal bulk and arm length for an NFL guard, which could lead to struggles to set a strong base and control pass rushers at the next level. He’s a scheme dependent player who could have day two value for teams with power running schemes and day three for others.
Projection: 3rd round