NFL Draft Prospects – 2018 Bowl Game Preview: December 28th

Another jam-packed day of NCAA football as many top prospects will take the field throughout the day. Auburn will have a few significant defensive prospects to keep an eye on. When it comes to skill players, look no further than the offenses of West Virginia and Iowa State, who bolsters a first round running back and a pretty effective receiver. Teams looking for offensive line help should also look at the left tackles of West Virginia and Washington State.

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Purdue vs. Auburn – 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown is expected to hear his name called within the first 15 or so picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. The 6’5, 325-pound defensive tackle is a hot commodity as not only is he a talented interior pass rusher but he can also win in the trenches in run defense. His bull rush and upper body strength is exceptional to watch and his lower body anchors well against the run. Brown will be off the board pretty early in the upcoming draft.

Brown plays alongside another talented defensive tackle in Dontavius Russell who is also a big boy at 6’3, 320 lbs. A four-year starter, Russell has paved the way for Brown and other pass rushers throughout the years. Russell plays with grit, taking up double teams so others can get to the quarterback. Perhaps more of a run stuffer than pure pass rusher, Russell should hear his name go within rounds 4-6.

Linebacker Deshaun Davis fills out the Auburn defense and packs a punch between the tackles. Unfortunately, that is about as good as it gets as Davis is not a linebacker capable of excelling in coverage or playing sideline to sideline. A limited player, Davis’ ceiling is very low but he could fill out a roster and provide some depth in a weak linebacking group.

Jarrett Stidham is another late round prospect for Auburn. The quarterback threw for 2421 yards with 13 touchdowns to five interceptions but his play level dropped from last year.

CAMPING WORLD BOWL: Syracuse vs. West Virginia – 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Will Grier will not quarterback West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl as he elects to sit out in order to better prepare himself for the NFL draft instead.

His favorite target David Sills will suit up tough as the West Virginia receiver aims to improve his own draft stock. Sills is a tall target at 6’4 and has recorded 121 receptions for 1876 yards and 33 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He is great at making contested catches and knows how to use his frame to his advantage. Sills will also be at this year’s Senior Bowl.

Gary Jennings is another West Virginia receiver who will likely be drafted next year. Jennings will be selected after Sills as he does not have the big play potential like Sills. Though, he is incredibly effective, recording 151 receptions for over 2000 yards over his last two seasons. Unfortunately, an injury will sideline Jennings for the Camping World Bowl.

West Virginia also has a talented left tackle in Yodny Cajuste. The senior tackle will be a decent mid round pick, who could be developed into a quality starting tackle one day. He is powerful and anchors well but is susceptible to a good speed move. Cajuste will have the Senior Bowl to increase his stock as he has decided to sit out today’s bowl game.

ALAMO BOWL: Iowa State vs. Washington State – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

Iowa State running back David Montgomery is one of the top prospects of the 2019 NFL Draft class. Montgomery finished with 1092 rushing yards this season on 231 carries and 12 touchdowns. He showed the capability to be a true workhorse running back. His contact balance, vision and surprise lateral agility make him a true candidate to be a workhorse running back at the next level. Look for Montgomery to be one of the first running backs called.

Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler might be the tallest wide receiver in the 2019 class at 6’6. Butler has a slim build but he has great long speed and is able to use his body to make contested catches. He is a big play threat, catching 51 passes for 1126 yards this season. Butler is not only a great red zone threat but he is a threat anytime to score when the ball gets into his hands. Butler should hear his name called in the middle rounds.

Washington State also has a heralded prospect of their own in tackle Andre Dillard. The 6’5, 305-pound left tackle was an anchor protecting Gardner Minshew II this season. He’s an experience pass blocker and will only be able to upgrade his draft stock with his play at the Alamo Bowl and Senior Bowl. Dillard should be selected on day two.

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