Throughout the 2022-2023 college football bowl season, we’ll be highlighting each game and the key 2022 NFL Draft prospects Pittsburgh Steelers fans should be keeping an eye on.
HAWAI’I BOWL MIDDLE TENNESSEE ST. VS. SAN DIEGO ST. 8PM EST ESPN
The Blue Raiders and the Aztecs travel across the Pacific to Honolulu to play the only bowl game scheduled on Christmas Eve.
Middle Tennessee St. has an NFL Draft hopeful in EDGE #9 Jordan Ferguson. The 6’2, 271lb redshirt senior has improved every season on campus from a production standpoint, becoming quite the pass rusher for the Blue Raiders with 17.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries the last two seasons. His frame makes him more of a tweener for NFL standards, and the small-school designation will likely result in him being a late Day Three pick. However, Ferguson has a knack for creating splash plays and also has been a quality special teams player, making him a good selection for a team looking for EDGE depth and a guy that can contribute on punt and kick coverage units right away.
For the Aztecs, the name to watch is DL #66 Jonah Tavai. Tavai will be a controversial prospect come spring as his size (6’0, 290lb) and lack of length will deter plenty of teams for not meeting their benchmarks. However, Tavai’s tape is fun to watch as the stout defender has great athleticism for his size, lining up all over the LOS and even on the edge at times to rush the passer. He recorded nine sacks this season to complement the 8.5 he had in 2021. Tavai plays with relentless effort as a pass rusher, although size and sheer strength can neutralize his rush and move him against the run. He will have to find a good scheme fit as a Day Three prospect.
Another defender to watch for the Aztecs is S #33 Patrick McMorris. McMorris has good size and length (6’0, 210lb) to go along with ball production over the last two seasons at SDSU. He intercepted one pass this season but had four INTs last year to go along with nine PBUs. McMorris plays with speed and effort in pursuit, closing on the ball quickly to break up a pass or to aid in run support. Projected to be a late-round pick or UDFA at the moment, a strong pre-draft process and good testing numbers could vault McMorris up the board as a player that has plenty of qualities you want in an NFL safety.
Which of the names listed above will you be specifically watching? Do you think any of the prospects would be a good fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!