Today is the last day of bowl games outside of the championship game this next week. Luckily the bowl season is going out with a bang, featuring three games with top 15 match ups and another that features a ton of first round talent all over the field. For today's long day of bowl festivities, here's who to watch...
Outback Bowl: Florida vs. Iowa (1:00 PM on ABC)
- Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida: The best prospect on the field in this game will be Teez Tabor. Tabor is an incredible athlete with great field awareness and an aggressive, physical mindset. Pair that with his excellent ball skills and you have one of the best defenders in this draft.
- Quincy Wilson, Cornerback, Florida: Quincy Wilson is not the same athlete as Teez Tabor, but he is a physical, consistent technician. His 6-1, 210 pound frame helps him take on big receivers and also man an impact as a tackler. Wilson is not the overall prospect Tabor is, but he still deserves top 40 hype in this draft.
- Marcus Maye, Safety, Florida: Maye is the third musketeer of very good prospects in the Florida secondary. The six foot, 200 pound safety has very good range and ball skills over the top of a defense. He is a bit smaller and that limits his ability to stop the run, but his skills as a cover safety should see him picked high, even in this class.
- Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida: Jarrad Davis is one of the most fun players in the class. The 6-3, 230 pound linebacker has amazing speed and honey badger mentality. He wants to destroy players on ever down and that aggressiveness can reward and hurt him. He is a physical freak, but needs to temper his hair on fire style to be a better prospect.
- Caleb Brantley, Defensive Tackle, Florida: Caleb Brantley is one of my favorite players in this class. The stoutly built (6-2, 300) tackle has incredible strength, natural leverage and a non stop motor. He doesn't have great numbers but he looks like a do it all, every down defensive tackle who will be a star at the next level.
- Josey Jewell, Linebacker, Iowa: Jewell is one of the country's more underrated defenders. The 6-2, 240 pound linebacker has a good build and is a physical, intelligent playmaker. He can cover well in space and does a good job coming up against the run. His athletic ability is a question, but his playmaking ability certainly is not.
- Jaleel Johnson, Defensive Line, Iowa: Jaleel Johnson is another underrated defender. The 6-4, 310 pounder has very impressive athlete ability and despite being a bit raw, is super productive. Johnson could be an impact defensive tackle or a two gapping end in the NFL. If he can clean up his technique, the sky is the limit.
- Desmond King, Cornerback, Iowa: Not too long ago, Desmond King was getting talked up as one of the best defenders in the country after he won last year's Thorpe Award. Now the undersized (5-10, 190) corner is getting overlooked in a deep class. The reality is that he is still a physical, intelligent player with very good ball skills who should go higher than he likely will and will make a great impact for NFL teams before a lot of guys who go before him.
Cotton Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin (1:00 PM on ESPN)
- Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, WMU: This game is going to be the Corey Davis show. The 6-3, 220 pound pass catcher is the best wide receiver in the class and will have a big test against one of the country's best secondaries. Davis can do it all at the receiver position and now he can prove it against someone besides MAC defenders.
- Taylor Moton, Tackle, WMU: Moton is another key factor in the Broncos offensive dominance. Moton is a massive human being at 6-5, 330 and his long, strong arms neutralizes defenders. He is an average overall athlete, so it will be interesting to see how he does against Wisconsin's pass rush.
- Darius Phillips, Cornerback, WMU: Darius Phillips is one of the more electric players in the country. He is an undersized (5-10, 190) but athletic, playmaking cornerback with ball skills and speed. Not only that, but Phillips is an electric returner. On the year he has five returned touchdowns between kickoffs, punts and interceptions. If he touches the ball today... Look out.
- Ryan Ramczyk, Tackle, Wisconsin: Ryan Ramczyk continues a long line of impressive Wisconsin linemen. The 6-6, 314 pound transfer has been a revelation after moving up from D2 football last season. He is a tough, physical lineman who uses his size to pave the way in the running game and keep his QB clean. In a weaker class, there is a legitimate chance that Ryan Ramczyk is the first tackle taken.
- Sojourn Shelton, Cornerback, Wisconsin: I wonder if a smaller (5-9, 180) cornerback like Shelton will get the looks he deserves because he has been a big time player for the Badgers his whole career. He is a feisty, physical player with nice burst and ball skills. Though he may be very small, he could be an impact nickel player in the NFL.
- D'Cota Dixon, Safety, Wisconsin: I love the Wisconsin defense because everyone plays so fast and physical. D'Cota Dixon is no different. The rangy, 5-10, 200 pound safety has nice cover skills but also is not afraid to fly around the field and make plays as a tackler. He is a bit smaller for a safety, but he packs a big punch and is a dependable playmaker in coverage.
- TJ Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin: The brother of some NFL player named JJ, TJ Watt is a massively underrated defender on the Badgers. Watt has good size (6-3, 250) and very good speed at the outside linebacker position. He moves well in space and is also physical fighting through blocks to make plays. The pedigree makes sense when you watch Watt, because he looks like a very good NFL defender in his own right.
Rose Bowl: USC vs. Penn State (5:00 PM on ESPN)
- Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State: Nobody on the Penn State defense stands out like Marcus Allen. At 6-2, 210 pounds, Allen can be mistaken for a linebacker the way he attacks the line of scrimmage. He is an aggressive, downhill safety who does a good job covering the shallow middle of the field. While Allen is more of a pure strong safety in the NFL, he could be a damn good one.
- JuJu Smith Schuster, Wide Receiver, USC: Smith Schuster was arguably the best receiver in college last year and his production sank with a freshman quarterback coming in this year. Regardless, the 6-2, 220 pound receiver is still incredibly good. He is a physical pass catcher who does a great job getting yards after the catch. There are rumors he may return, but if he decides to come out, he is going to be a very good NFL player.
- Chad Wheeler, Tackle, USC: A cog in USC's talented offensive line, Wheeler (6-3, 320) is a very good technician and an overall dependable player. While he may not be the best athlete, his consistency at the tackle position is going to be highly coveted.
- Zach Banner, Tackle, USC: Banner is a physical specimen, standing at a hulking 6-9, 370 pounds. Banner could stand to lighten himself quite a bit, but he is a powerful blocker who can absolutely eliminate a defender's presence. His weight hurts his ability to move laterally, however, so losing weight in the NFL could be a big step towards being a legit tackle prospect.
- Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC: Adoree Jackson is among the most exciting athletes in the country. The 5-11, 190 pound corner has good NFL size and blazing, electric athletic ability. Jackson has long been an exciting athlete used on offense, defense and special teams to create points, but finally took a step as a corner this season. His impressive blend of athletic ability and savvy at the position should see him drafted very high.
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma v. Auburn (8:30 PM on ESPN)
- Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn: Carl Lawson is one of the best defenders in this class. After finally getting a healthy season under his belt, the 6-2, 255 pound pass rusher showed how good he can be. He is an excellent athlete who is relentless coming off the edge and he can also impact the running game. While Myles Garrett, Tim Williams and Derek Barnett get all the publicity, I think Lawson has a chance to be just as good if not better than most of those guys.
- Tray Matthews, Safety, Auburn: Tray Matthews is a former elite recruit and has been a solid player for the Tigers over the last two seasons. The 6-1, 215 pound safety has very nice size and athletic ability, but his awareness is lacking, especially deeper down the field. Playing underneath helps him a lot more and he can use his size to intimidate as a tackler. Matthews is a bit raw, but he is a high upside and impressive prospect.
- Montravius Adams, Defensive Tackle, Auburn: Montravius Adams is another impressive defensive line prospect for the Tigers. He has good size (6-4, 300) and very impressive athletic ability. He runs hot and cold, as many 300 pounders do, but his "on" reveals his tantalizing potential. He is scheme diverse at the next level and if you can improve his motor, he is one hell of a defensive lineman.
- Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma: Joe Mixon is one of the more talented backs in the country. The 6-1, 230 pound back has great size, is an elusive runner and an excellent receiver. He would be a potential top pick but he has massive off field red flags with a horrific assault he was involved with a few years ago that he only just apologized for. Mixon may be talented, but he has a long road ahead of him to redeem himself for his actions.
- Samaje Perine, Running Back, Oklahoma: Besides Dalvin Cook, Perine might be my favorite running back in the class. At 5-10, 240, Perine is built like a brick and is as difficult to tackle as a boulder. However, he is not just a power back. Perine has good long speed and excellent footwork for his size and can absolutely make guys miss in space. Perine is a do it all back and I bet he is a start sooner than later in the NFL.
- Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma: The Heisman finalist is one of the most explosive playmakers in the country. Though he is a bit slim (Six foot, 175), Dede Westbrook has incredible speed and route running to get open down the field. Westbrook would be a first round prospect on the field, but there are a lot of questions to be answered off of it in terms of character and injury history before a team should be comfortable with taking him high in the draft.
- Jordan Evans, Linebacker, Oklahoma: With Charles Walker out for the game due to injury, the player to watch on Oklahoma's defense is Jordan Evans. Evans may be a bit undersized (6-2, 230), but he is a rangy playmaker who makes plays in coverage and behind the line of scrimmage. Auburn's running game is a challenge for all defenders, so I am excited to see how he plays against their outstanding run game.