After three straight days of one bowl game on each day, December 22nd offers up two matchups. We have yet to really dive into top of the line prospects. Football fans will get to see one on this day, but, we will see most of these players after Christmas. Today presents mostly late rounds picks, aside from one projectable stud.
Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio – 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
UAB cornerback, Darious Williams (5-10, 180) started out playing a single year for a division 3 school in Ohio. He spent one year at Marietta College and then walked on at UAB where he has displayed hard work and his dedication to the game. He had five interceptions this year that included 80 return yards. He doesn’t pick a QB off and give up; he works to get every yard possible for his team. He won’t wow you with size, but he is fast and physical. He is not afraid to challenge a receiver bigger than him. He has a team leading 15 pass breakups which gives us an idea of how tight he is capable of playing offensive players. Williams has not been invited to the Senior Bowl which could hurt his chances. If he gets drafted, it will be later on.
Linebacker, Tevin Crews is another Blazer that has had a good season. He is the team’s leading tackler (95 TOT). One of the bigger obstacles for Crews will be his age. He is not a top prospect and is going to be 26 before the beginning of the 2018 NFL season. The 6-2, 230-pound senior has shown flashes of being extremely quick and versatile. He has an athletic body type and could grow if a team gives him a chance. It will be tough for Crews to get drafted with his current situation, but I can think of many undrafted linebackers who have succeeded in the NFL including Steelers LB, James Harrison.
Quentin Poling has been an absolute work horse at linebacker for the Bobcats. He leads Ohio this season in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, fumbles forced and fumbles recovered. Poling is very good at stopping the run topped with having an ability to get after the quarterback. He has the potential to play every down for an NFL team. He may be a little undersized (5’11, 230), but Poling also knows how to tackle, and not gently. This hard-hitting LB could go in the middle rounds with a good combine, but expect a later round pick to be used for Poling.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming – 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Wyoming quarterback, Josh Allen is not going to wow any of us with his stats. He had 1,685 yards passing while completing just 56.2% of his throws in 10 games this season. Last season, Allen was much more productive because of the weapons on Wyoming. His weapons were not with him this season and it showed. There have been a plethora of questions surrounding Allen. He was not dominant by any means and struggled against the two Power 5 teams he faced. So why might we see him taken in the first round? Allen is a very athletic 6-5 and 234 pounds. He has a rocket for an arm and is one NFL quarterback coaching guru away from being a dominant NFL quarterback. NFL scouts loves projectable quarterbacks and that is exactly what Allen is. He reminds me of a young Ben Roethlisberger and present day, Cam Newton. He has the traits to develop into a top-tier starting quarterback. Allen could go anywhere in the first round (possible Roethlisberger future replacement?). It depends which team is going to take a chance on the QB.
The Cowboys top defensive prospect is cornerback, Rico Gafford. With a team leading four interceptions, Gafford has the abilities to be a lockdown corner. He is quick and does a great job at recognizing receiver’s routes. He possesses the athletic ability to be a corner in the NFL and has worked with both zone and press coverages at Wyoming. There are many Power 5 cornerbacks projected to be drafted this year, so Gafford needs a team to pick him up late if he wants a shot.
Central Michigan has only had 3 players drafted since 2013. The team’s best shot this year is cornerback, Amari Coleman. As stated above, cornerbacks are everywhere this year. Coleman is a bit undersized (5-10, 185) and not the fastest, but I could see an NFL team that likes to play dime packages taking a chance on Coleman. This would not be until very late in the draft or in free agency after.