NFL Draft prospects to watch in bowl games: Part 2

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Terrance Williams hopes to follow in the footsteps of ex-Baylor receiver Kendall Wright, the 20th overall pick in 2012.

Terrance Williams hopes to follow in the footsteps of ex-Baylor receiver Kendall Wright, the 20th overall pick in 2012.

Breaking down the players to watch in the season's first batch of bowl games, as well as a projection as to where they'll be drafted.


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs SMU

Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State: Thomas missed the entire 2011 campaign with a severe leg injury but returned with a vengeance this season. He proved himself to be the total package at safety, displaying top ball skills in coverage (8 interceptions) and toughness defending the run (82 tackles). Thomas elevated his draft stock at least two rounds with his play in 2012. 3rd Round

Zach Line, FB, SMU: The Mustangs' hard-charging ball carrier posted 1,207 rushing yards and was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. He stood out in all areas of the game and proved a willingness to do the little things. Line projects to fullback for a West Coast offense. 4th/5th Round

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: David Carr's little brother is also displaying he has the skills to play in the NFL. The Fresno State junior possesses the arm strength to make all the passes and has shown consistent improvement the past two seasons. He rates as one of the better signal callers from the junior class. 3rd Round

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU: Hunt came to SMU from Estonia as a champion in the shot put and discus throw and also tried his hand at football. He blocked seven kicks as a freshman, and showed consistent improvement in his game the following three seasons. Hunt is a freak athlete still developing on the football field, and his best football is still ahead. 3rd/4th Round

Little Caesars: Central Michigan vs Western Kentucky

Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan: The Chippewas' left tackle has made a big jump up draft boards the past four months. He's an athletic pass protector with the ability to be used in a zone blocking system that puts him in motion. Fisher does a solid job run blocking and will only improve as he physically matures and gets stronger. 2nd Round

Jahleel Addae, S, Central Michigan: Addae lacks the measurables NFL teams want in a starting safety, but he plays productive, smart football. The senior does not make mental mistakes and shows himself to be a tough run defender who can play over the slot receiver. Addae will also add value on special teams at the next level. 6th/7th Round

Quanterus Smith, DE-OLB, Western Kentucky: Smith was moving up draft boards before being sidelined with a knee injury late in November. He's an athletic pass rusher with the ability to make plays in backside pursuit. Smith consistently disrupts the action behind the line of scrimmage, a skill which has NFL scouts intrigued. 6th/7th Round

Military Bowl: Bowling Green vs San Jose State

Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State: Otten comes off a slightly disappointing senior campaign, but is still the type of tight end NFL teams desire. He's a natural pass catcher with excellent size (6-foot-5 and 245 pounds) and the ability to create mismatches in the secondary. Otten needs to improve his overall game, but comes with a good amount of upside potential. 4th/5th Round

David Quessenberry, T, San Jose State: The Spartans' starting left tackle since his sophomore season, Quessenberry is a quick-footed lineman who blocks with sound fundamentals. He consistently shuts down quick, speedy pass rushers, but must improve his run blocking and complete his game. 6th Round

Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green: Jones' statistics are tough to beat, as the all-Conference defender has a combined 21 sacks and 33 tackles for loss the past two seasons. He's an explosive but slightly undersized interior lineman who projects as a three-technique tackle for the next level. 6th Round

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs Duke

Conner Vernon, WR, Duke: Vernon is neither big or fast, but he is incredibly productive and reliable. He plays smart, tough football and always finds a way to make the reception. Vernon has the skills and substance to be a third receiver at the next level and should lend a hand on special teams. 4th Round

Greg Blair, LB, Cincinnati: Blair did not register on the scouting radar at the start of the season but has turned heads after a dominant senior campaign. He ended the year topping the Cincinnati defense in tackles, tackles for loss and was among the leaders in pass defenses. He's a complete linebacker who plays with infectious intensity and will be a steal on the draft's final day. 5th Round

Deven Drane, S, Cincinnati: Drane has been a consistent player in the Bearcats secondary the past two seasons. The junior is well-versed in all areas of the game, displaying ball skills in coverage as well as toughness defending the run. 6th Round

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs UCLA

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor: Williams was the player on the Baylor offense opponents unsuccessfully tried to stop. He displayed better-than-advertised playing speed which complimented his dependable hands. Williams now ranks him as one of the better receivers available in April's draft. 2nd Round

Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: The former fullback made a quick transition to linebacker during his first year at the position and impacted the Bruins defense all season long. Barr showed himself to be a relentless pass rusher (13.5 sacks) and a constant nuisance behind the line of scrimmage (20.5 tackles for loss). He still needs work to complete his game, but the junior offers outstanding potential for the future. 2nd Round

Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: Franklin is another UCLA prospect coming off a career campaign. He displays versatility in his ball carrying beside the ability to produce as a pass catcher. Franklin lacks the measurables scouts want in a feature ball carrier but has the tools to produce as a situational running back. 3rd Round


AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio vs La-Monroe

No draftable prospects

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs Virginia Tech

Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers: The junior cornerback was dominant in all areas this season and looked NFL-ready. Quarterbacks who challenged Ryan came out on the short end, as he possesses top ball skills and the football instincts to match. Ryan has a polished game and should compete for a starting job in the NFL next season if he enters the draft. 1st/2nd Round

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers: Jamison is another Rutgers underclassman with top tools for the next level. His game is justifiably compared to former Scarlet Knight star Ray Rice, as Jamison is slightly undersized but quick, tough and instinctive. He performs well in all areas of the position and would inject much-needed talent into a sparse running back class if he enters the 2013 draft. 2nd Round

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech: Thomas entered the season with high expectations but struggled for most of the year. He misread defenses, forced passes and made a lot of errant throws. The consensus is Thomas would be best served returning to the Hokies for his senior season rather than entering the draft. 3rd Round

Meineke Car Care: Minnesota vs Texas Tech

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Hageman is a former tight end who's coming off a career campaign in which he started 12 games. He's a large, athletic specimen who makes plays in the backfield or in pursuit. The junior is expected to enter the draft and is a terrific developmental prospect with the ability to start at several spots on the defensive line. 3rd/4th Round

Mike Rallis, LB, Minnesota: Rallis has been a consistent defender the past three seasons and a linebacker who plays with a non-stop motor. He's a smart prospect who rarely makes mental errors and plays within himself. Rallis is most likely a backup at the next level and someone who should stand out on special teams. 7th Round

LaAdrian Waddle, T, Texas Tech: Starting the past three seasons, Waddle has been a consistent blocker on the Red Raiders offensive line. He's a massive lineman who has been durable and versatile. Waddle has an NFL body and the ability to successfully fill a roster spot as a utility lineman. 7th Round

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces: Air Force vs Rice

Vance McDonald, TE, Rice: Despite missing three games due to injury this season, McDonald remained one of the top pass catching threats for Rice. He measures 6-5 and 260 pounds and has been compared to former Owls star James Casey, now catching passes for the Houston Texans. McDonald displayed improvement in all areas of his game this season, and scouts feel he offers starting potential at the next level. 5th Round

New Era Pinstripe: Syracuse vs West Virginia

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith comes off a sensational campaign in which he showed improvement in every area of his game. The big-armed signal caller matured as a leader, threw with better accuracy and made good decisions throughout the season. Smith now stands as the top quarterback available in the 2013 NFL Draft and positioned himself as a top-12 selection. 1st Round

Tavon Austin, WR-RS, West Virginia: Few prospects in April's draft offer the dynamic, game-breaking ability Austin brings to the field. He's a home-run-hitting receiver with reliable hands, as well as a nose for the end zone (12 receiving touchdowns last season). Austin also alters the momentum of games returning punts or running an occasional reverse. His lack of height (5-8 1/2) limits Austin, but his speed and versatility are enticing. 2nd Round

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: Nassib is ascending draft boards and quickly becoming one of the hot names in the scouting community. He's a terrific leader on the field with the arm strength necessary to make all the throws. Nassib makes good decisions in the pocket, squeezes the most from the talent surrounding him and has most believing he'll have a productive NFL career. 2nd Round

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona State vs Navy

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State: Despite struggling with a knee injury during the second half of the season, Sutton totaled an eye-popping 10.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss besides breaking up 5 passes. The junior is undersized, but uses his natural leverage and quick first step to blow by opponents. Sutton projects as a three-technique tackle at the next level. 3rd Round

Brandon MaGee, LB, Arizona State: MaGee rebounded from the Achilles injury that kept him on the sidelines in 2011 to have a successful senior campaign. He showed a well-rounded game this year, leading the Sun Devils with 104 tackles. MaGee plays with terrific instinct and awareness and will do well in a backup role at the next level. 7th Round

Rashad Ross, WR-RS, Arizona State: Ross comes off a disappointing season, but his versatility and big-play ability are enticing. He averaged over 14 yards on 33 receptions and 25.6 yards on 15 kick returns. Ross offers potential as a fifth receiver/return specialist for the next level. 7th Round

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon State vs Texas

Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: Vaccaro has been a steady player on the Texas defense since his sophomore season. He offers a complete game and the ability to cover receivers across the middle of the field or defend the run. Vaccaro could be selected much earlier than many expect with a good performance in the Alamo Bowl then solid workouts before the draft. 2nd Round

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State: Wheaton comes off a career season which has steadily pushed him up draft boards. He's a reliable wideout with big-play ability and a nose for the end zone. Wheaton averaged just under 14 yards on 88 receptions, 11 of which resulted in touchdowns. He has potential as a slot receiver and could eventually develop into a No. 2 wideout in the NFL. 3rd Round

Alex Okafor, DL, Texas: Okafor does not grade out well in the areas of size, speed and athleticism, but is a prospect who dominates once the ball is snapped. He's relentless in pursuit of the action and was a disruptive force throughout his college career. Creative defensive coaches willing to overlook Okafor's poor measurables could end up getting a very good ball player next April. 3rd/4th Round

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State: Poyer is another whose outstanding football skills trump his very average athleticism. Showing terrific instincts and ball skills on the field, Poyer rarely makes mental mistakes or gets beat. He lacks the speed teams want in a starting cornerback, but will make a fine addition in nickel packages. 3rd/4th Round

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State vs TCU

Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State: Sims is a complete tight end and a junior prospect who excites scouts. He has the size of an offensive lineman and the strength to annihilate opponents at the point of attack. Sims is not a true downfield threat as a pass catcher, but reliable and athletic when the ball is thrown his way. 2nd Round

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State: Bell is a large ball carrier with surprising short-area quickness and the ability to make defenders miss. He grinds opponents down on the inside, running through tackles or around piles. Bell also holds his own as a pass catcher out of the backfield and offers starting potential for a power running offense. 3rd Round

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: The All-American cornerback made opposing quarterbacks think twice of throwing in his direction. The junior finished the year with 6 interceptions and another 14 pass break-ups. Verrett does not possess starters size for an NFL corner, but will be a very solid nickel back. 4th Round