NFL Draft Center

2012 NFL Draft Watch: Bowl Games Part 7 (JAN.3-JAN.4)

Written By: Mark Scott

Bowl season is starting to wind down with just a handful of games remaining, but there are still a ton of prospects left to play in them that are trying to improve their draft stock.  The Sugar and Orange Bowls showcase a number of those prospects, including a few possible first round picks in Virginia Tech’s David Wilson and a trio of Clemson Tigers, Dwayne Allen, Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson.

All rankings attained, SI’s Tony Pauline and ESPN’s Todd McShay.


Allstate Sugar Bowl, January 3/2012

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Michigan Wolverines

The Hokies and Wolverines have the stage to themselves January 3, although the game will feature just one, maybe two early round picks, there will also be a bunch of Day 3 prospects to watch on both teams. Both possible early round selections play for Virginia Tech in Jr RB David Wilson and Jr CB Jayron Hosley. Wilson is a dynamic playmaker with great vision and elite speed. He is able squeeze through holes between the tackles or get to the outside and if there is daylight, he will be gone in a flash. He exploded this year as the Hokies’ feature back with 266 carries for 1627 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns, while also displaying good hands out of the backfield with 21 receptions for 126 receiving yards and a score. He has the ability to slip tackles and blow past oncoming defenders. There has been a lot of buzz about him being a first round pick, but running backs typically drop down the draft slightly and with a couple of backs ahead of him, he will likely go on Day 2. Hosley was outstanding in 2010 when he was named an All-American after recording an incredible 9 interceptions, but he battled a hamstring injury throughout this year that saw his number of picks drop to just 3, although he did have a career-high 59 tackles to make up for it. His number of interceptions also dropped this season because teams tended to throw away from his side of the field. He possesses fantastic ball skills, instincts and is solid in man to man coverage. He is a bit a small and lacks the ideal size for a starting NFL corner, but he plays tough and with an edge. Both Wilson and Hosley could return to school for another season. The rest of Virginia Tech’s players are Day 3 prospects in Sr FS Eddie Whitley, rSr OG Jaymes Brooks and Sr WR Jarrett Boykin. For Michigan, rSr C David Molk is their top draft eligible prospect among a group of possible Day 3 selections. He was named the 2011 Rimington Trophy Award winner as the nation’s top Center after leading the Michigan Offensive line through a great season. While he isn’t a dominating player or athlete, he does possess good strength, footwork and knows how to handle the position. He has a ton of experience and has played at a consistently high level throughout his collegiate career with the Wolverines. He is better when in motion and probably best fits a zone-blocking team. Sr DT Mike Martin is a hardworking, competitive player that always gives his all and gets the most out of his talent. He is a blue-collar athlete that has solid skills and technique. Martin has experience playing in multiple defensive schemes and should fit into a rotation in the NFL. Michigan also has a pair of possible late round draft choices in Sr TE Kevin Koger and rSr DE Ryan Van Bergen.


Discover Orange Bowl, January 4/2012

Clemson Tigers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

The Orange Bowl battle between the Tigers and Mountaineers will involve four note-worthy prospects, who could be drafted on the first two days of the 2012 NFL Draft. Three of those prospects play for Clemson and all three are in first round discussions starting with rSr DE Andre Branch, who is being talked about with the other top pass-rushers available. He is an athletic pass rusher with good quickness and agility that lets him get to opposing passers and even chase down backs coming around the edge. After a strong Junior season, Branch took his game to another level this year with 73 tackles, 14 for loss and 10.5 sacks as he took over for 2010 Tampa Bay first round pick Da’Quan Bowers. He has good size as a natural 4-3 end, but could also get attention from 3-4 teams that want to turn him into a rushing OLB. Sr Brandon Thompson is a disruptive, hardworking interior defensive lineman that has the ability to blow up plays in the middle of the field. He has an explosive first-step that allows him to get pressure on Quarterbacks and penetrate gaps to stop backs behind the line of scrimmage. He is still a little inconsistent from time to time and could stand to get a bit stronger in his upper-body. A finalist for the 2011 John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, rJr TE Dwayne Allen really emerged as a big-time playmaker for the Tigers after recording 48 receptions for 577 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns this season. He can stretch defenses with his speed and create mismatches with his size against opposing defensive backs. A legit red-zone threat, Allen is only improving and has a ton of upside. He will be the top tight end drafted in April. After their top three prospects, Clemson will also field three more players that could be late round selections in Sr OG Antoine McClain, rSr OT Landon Walker and rSr FB Chad Diehl, the top fullback in the draft. For West Virginia, they have just one notable prospect in Sr OLB Bruce Irvin and a group of possible late round draft picks. Irvin is an extremely athletic and fierce pass-rusher with excellent speed and toughness that racked up 22 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in his two years at West Virginia and was named to the 2011 All-Big East First-Team. He lacks a lot of playing experience, but has worked incredibly hard to get where he is after being academically ineligible to play high school football and spending time in a juvenile jail before getting his life back on track and making his way up the college ranks. He is a bit undersized to play defensive end in the NFL and projects out as a rushing 3-4 OLB. He will be drafted on Day 2. After Irvin, the Mountaineers have rSr CB Keith Tandy, rSr DE Julian Miller, rSr OT Don Barclay and Sr TE Tyler Urban all fighting for a spot late in the draft.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1.    Allozygeddy 01.22.12 @ 1:44 am      

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

  2.    Bartira 05.02.12 @ 9:58 pm      

    i do check this site often as it is very good and informative and will look out for an answer!

  3.    Catrina 05.25.12 @ 12:00 pm      

    cheers my friend, great job for you and your work.