NFL Draft Bowl Preview: January 2nd (Late Games)

Alamo Bowl — Oregon (9-3) vs. TCU (10-2), 6:45 p.m., ESPN

This game was supposed to be about two dynamic quarterbacks squaring off in Oregon’s Vernon Adams and TCU’s Trevone Boykin, but the Horned Frogs’ starting quarterback was arrested earlier this week for assaulting a police officer in a bar fight, which led to his suspension.

That’s a shame because I think Boykin can play at the next level with a few years of development under the right coaching staff. His draft stock will plummet due to the arrest.

As for Adams, he dealt with tons of injuries this year, but he bounced back in a big way to close the year as one of the best quarterbacks in the country over the final four weeks of the season.

He doesn’t have the biggest arm and struggles with accuracy at times, but I see a lot of Russell Wilson in him. That’s not saying he’ll be Wilson at all, but I see parts of his game that reminds me of the Seattle signal-caller.

Offensively for Oregon outside of Adams, keep an eye on running back Royce Freeman, who is one of the most explosive players in all of college football.

Freeman rushed for the fourth-most yards in all of the FBS (1,706 yards, 16 total touchdowns) and is a serious threat out of the backfield as well, which will bode well at the next level.

He’s just a sophomore, but it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes out for future NFL players.

Up front, Oregon is led by offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone, who is actually better (in my opinion) than Jake Fisher was coming out last year.

Johnstone is versatile enough to play left or right tackle at the next level.

Defensively, DeForest Buckner might be the best defensive lineman in the country. He’s going to be a dominant 5-tech defensive end in an odd-man front in the NFL due to his size, strength and long reach that allows him to ward off blockers and find the football quickly.

Alongside Bucker, watch out for Alex Balducci. I haven’t had a chance to watch film of him, but when I watch the Ducks live he’s always around the football.

For the Horned Frogs, Boykin will miss the game, as will his No. 1 receiver Josh Doctson, who tore ligaments in his wrist in November.

Doctson has great height, huge hands, good speed and consistently wins one-on-one battles in the air on 50/50 balls.

Across the field from him, receiver Kolby Listenbee is going to be an outstanding slot receiver due to his reported 4.29 40-time.

The track star is still learning how to be a receiver, but you can’t teach speed and that plays extremely well in the slot.

Cactus Bowl — Arizona State (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5), 10:15 p.m., ESPN

It’s truly a shame that fans won’t get a chance to see West Virginia safety Karl Joseph and cornerback Daryl Worleyin this game.

Joseph suffered a knee injury in practice back in October, ending his Mountaineer career, while Worley will sit this game out with academic issues.

I’m personally a big fan of Joseph, who is a play-making machine in the secondary. He runs well, has above-average ball skills and hits like a Mack Truck.

He could be had early in Day Three depending on how his recovery process is going. It’s a chance worth taking for a team in need of a safety.

As for Worley, he’s a long, lanky cornerback who has a nose for the football. He led WVU with six interceptions this year. He’s going to be a valuable starting corner in the NFL should he decide to come out this year.

For Arizona State, quarterback Mike Bercovici is a bit undersized for the position, but he has an exceptionally strong arm, is able to avoid sacks by escaping the pocket to extend plays and rarely drops his eyes when under pressure.

He’s an extremely tough quarterback who could carve out a long career as a valuable No. 2.

Up front, linemen Christian Westerman and Vi Teofilo are going to get a lot of attention as the draft talk heats up.

Westerman is very athletic for a guard and moves well in space, but he struggles at time with his strength. On top of that, he played in a non-traditional offensive scheme under Todd Graham, which clouds his ability to make the jump to the NFL.

The same goes for Teofilo, although he’s a bit stronger and less athletic than Westerman. With that said, Teofilo will be valued as a powerful run blocker.

Defensively, cornerback Lloyd Carrington and safety Jordan Simone are ones to watch for the Sun Devils.

Carrington is a former basketball player that has great leaping ability and above-average ball skills, but he is nowhere near fast enough to be a top-flight corner in this class and has the look of a future safety due to concerns about his speed.

As for Simone, he’s nothing more than an in-the-box safety who is exceptionally strong against the rush, but struggles mightily in pass coverage.

He’s worth a look late on Day Three.

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