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New Year's Day Bowl Primer

A look at top prospects, from Outback to Rose bowls. National Football Post

Print This January 01, 2010, 07:50 AM EST

With another full slate of bowl games being played today, the National Football Post highlights some of the top prospects and breaks down which players are worth a look as we hit the home stretch toward draft season.

Outback Bowl
Northwestern vs. Auburn
Today, 11 a.m. EST, ESPN

Prospects worth keeping an eye on:

OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn (6-8, 310)
There have been some rumblings that Ziemba, a junior offensive tackle, might declare early for the 2010 draft. My opinion: Stay in school. Right tackle-only prospects should not come out early.

DE/OLB Antonio Coleman, Auburn (6-1, 258)
A productive SEC pass rusher, but he lacks a burst, doesn’t exhibit much power on contact and simply looks like a guy without a position at the next level.

CB Walter McFadden, Auburn (5-10, 176)
An undersized corner with good ball skills who knows how to turn and track the football down the field. Has made his share of plays this season and looks like a capable NFL cover man.

DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern (6-6, 280)
Possesses a big frame and good overall athletic ability for the position, but he isn’t real instinctive and struggles to consistently find the football. Will be over-drafted based on his upside.

QB Mike Kafka, Northwestern (6-3, 220)
An intriguing senior quarterback prospect who possesses above-average arm strength and can create on the move. Is far from a finished product but has too much upside not to warrant a spot as a developmental guy on an NFL roster.

Capital One Bowl
Penn State vs. LSU
Today, 1 p.m. EST, ABC

WR Brandon LaFell, LSU (6-3, 206)
The nation’s most dynamic senior wideout, who has the ability to separate vs. NFL-caliber corners on the outside at the next level. His only major knock is that he will flat-out drop the football.

OT Ciron Black, LSU (6-5, 322)
Simply put: He might be the most overrated prospect in the entire draft.

S Chad Jones, LSU (6-3, 230)
He’s big, physical, can run and, most important, showcases above-average instincts in the secondary. One of my favorite safety prospects this season.

DT Jared Odrick, Penn State (6-4, 298)
Is powerful at the point of attack, explosive off the ball and does a great job sniffing out the run game inside. Will definitely draw some interest as a 3-4 DE.

RB Evan Royster, Penn State (6-1, 213)
Isn’t real dynamic in any area of the game and doesn’t possess the lateral quickness to create on his own. More of a downhill guy who would be wise to return for his senior year.

Gator Bowl
West Virginia vs. Florida State
Today, 1 p.m. EST, CBS

QB Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (6-3, 223)
Possesses an intriguing physical skill set, can make all the throws and will create with his legs, but he needs time to learn the position. Has the ceiling of a David Garrard-type QB.

RB Noel Devine, West Virginia (5-8, 176)
Lacks the size to carry the load at the next level but is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball and will find a way to significantly enhance an NFL offense.

OL Selvish Capers, West Virginia (6-5, 298)
Is an above-average athlete but lacks ideal size and power for the tackle position in the NFL. Looks more like a zone-blocking-scheme type of guard to me.

CB Patrick Robinson, Florida State (5-11, 194)
A gifted size/speed corner but is raw with his footwork and struggles to maintain balance when asked to turn and run. Isn’t anything more than an athletic developmental type of prospect at this stage.

Rose Bowl
Ohio State vs. Oregon
Today, 4:30 p.m. EST, ABC

SS T.J. Ward, Oregon (5-10, 201)
The definition of a football player. Plays with a reckless abandon and has a nose for the ball. Lacks ideal straight-line speed but is fluid out of his breaks and consistently gets early jumps on the play.

TE Ed Dickson, Oregon (6-4, 243)
A matchup nightmare down the field. Runs as well as some wide receivers and consistently is able to threaten the seam. Plus, he showcases good length and coordination as a blocker and looks like a future starter at the position in the pros.

DL Cameron Heyward, Ohio State (6-6, 287)
When this guy’s motor is running on high, he’s about as unblockable as any defensive lineman in the country. He’s explosive, powerful and long-armed and has the ability to play all over a defensive line in the NFL.

DE/OLB Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State (6-2, 240)
Displays a great first step and is the kind of quick-twitch athlete who can consistently reach the edge as a pass rusher. Looks like a high upside rush linebacker-type prospect.

SS Kurt Coleman, Ohio State (5-10, 195)
Isn’t a real gifted size/speed athlete, but he showcases good instincts and can redirect in space. And although I can’t see him developing into a starter at the next level, he looks like a guy who can certainly come in and be effective in sub package situations.

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