College Bowl season is upon us, and while you might not want to pay attention to something as obscure as the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, there are reasons to watch nearly every college bowl game if you’re an NFL Draft fan.
Actually, day one of the Bowl season features a pretty interesting matchup between two ranked California teams in Fresno State and USC, who are taking part in the Las Vegas Bowl. Here’s your NFL Draft Intrigue.
Marqise Lee, WR, Junior
Marqise Lee is as good as gone after this season. After two seasons as a freshman and sophomore with over 1,000 receiving yards with Matt Barkley as QB, he has taken a major step back numbers wise as a junior with Cody Kessler as quarterback, cutting his reception numbers from last year in half and then some.
Still, despite the reduction in stats, scouts believe Lee will still be a first round pick. He’s not a big receiver like Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall, but he’s one of the quickest players in the country and can make plays after the catch. He can also be dangerous as a return man.
Dion Bailey, S, Junior
The 6’0″ 200 pound junior safety is having a huge season with 58 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, six passes broken up, and a team-leading five interceptions. Most expect Bailey to leave after this season, especially with the lack of top talent at the safety position in the coming draft. This is a guy with some nice upside and ball skills at the safety position. He’s an intriguing player as a former strongside linebacker.
Devon Kennard, DE/LB, Senior
Kennard missed the entire 2012 season with a pectoral injury but has always been a player thought to have immense potential. After a season of recovery, he’s finally starting to realize it. After showing flashes of brilliance in his first couple of seasons, Kennard has finally turned it up in 2013 as a RS Senior, leading the team with 13 tackles for loss and nine sacks, also adding 59 tackles and 10 QB hurries.
Morgan Breslin, LB, Senior
Former JUCO transfer who can flat out rush the quarterback. He had season-ending hip surgery for a sports hernia but there’s a chance he could play today. In his first year at USC, he had 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, and in five games this season, he racked up 4.5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss. This is an interesting player to watch as we move toward the draft, a guy who is getting pretty much no hype right now.
Fresno State Bulldogs
Derek Carr, QB, Senior
My thoughts on Derek Carr are well-documented. I think in this market, he’s a top 10 pick come May. He’s put up incredible numbers this season, and if he can lead Fresno State to a win against USC in this bowl game, he should definitely be a top 15 selection. If he’s not, it means that scouts see things on tape that indicate he won’t develop properly. I think as far as his skillset, this is an athletic kid with a strong arm that has made consistent improvements over the last few years. As a senior, he’s been dominant.
Davante Adams, WR, Senior
Adams is a stud at the receiver position, starting off his collegiate career with 224 catches, 2,957 yards, and 37 touchdowns. With Derek Carr leaving after this season, the 6’2″ 215 pound youngster filed papers to the Draft Advisory Committee and I think he’ll be gone after this year. There’s nothing more for him to accomplish at Fresno State, and his stock probably won’t ever be higher. I think there’s a good chance he’ll be picked in the first two rounds.