A Lot Of NFL Talent In Fiesta Bowl

When Oklahoma State and Stanford square off on Jan. 2 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, a few things are guaranteed.

First, this will be an undeniably exciting matchup of elite teams. Second, This is inarguably the second best matchup on the bowl schedule, if not the most intriguing. And third, there will be a lot of players on the field who will be playing on Sunday's next year.

These two teams are stocked with future NFL talent, which is not entirely unexpected in a game pitting No. 3 versus No. 4 in a BCS bowl game, but the elite talent is what makes this matchup standout.

According to DraftTek Sports Information, six of the top 50 players projected to go in the 2012 NFL Draft will be in Glendale, Ariz.

For Oklahoma State, wide receiver Justin Blackmon is rated No. 3 overall, regardless of position, and is followed by quarterback Brandon Weeden at No. 35 and safety Markelle Martin at No. 47.

For Stanford, quarterback Andrew Luck is No. 1 overall and two of his offensive linemen, both juniors, made the cut with tackle Jonathan Martin at No. 21 and guard David DeCastro at No. 49.

NFLDraftScout.com thinks even more highly of the Cardinal trifecta, ranking Luck No.1, DeCastro No. 10 and Martin No. 16 on its overall board, while only Blackmon makes the top 50 for OSU at No. 7.

Where the difference lies for NFLDraftScout is that they base their ranking on draft projection rather than overall talent, hurting the stock of some Cowboys, namely Weeden because of his age and Martin because of a top-heavy class at safety and the fact that that it's not an a position where a lot of people go in the first few rounds.

Naturally, there is a lot more future NFL talent on the field than these sites, as well as others referred to for research, project because of underclassmen but the upperclassmen make for an NFL heavy tilt in the desert.

Overall, NFLDraftScout projects nine Cowboys to either be taken in the draft of picked up as free agents by NFL teams. The site also projected nine for Stanford.

For OSU, the list included: Blackmon (No. 1 WR), Martin (No. 1 FS), Weeden (No. 8 QB), Adcock (No. 6 OT), Grant Garner (No. 10 C), Josh Cooper (No. 64 WR), Richetti Jones (No. 42 DE), Jamie Blatnick (No. 56 DE) and Hubert Anyiam (No. 84 WR).

For Stanford, the rankings were: Luck (No. 1 QB), DeCastro (No. 1 G), Martin (No. 3 T), Coby Fleener (No. 4 TE), Delano Howell (No. 15 SS), Michael Thomas (No. 23 FS), Chris Owusu (No. 29 WR), Matthew Masifilo (No. 35 DE) and Griff Whalen (No. 52 WR).

Obviously, not all of the players will be taken in April's draft but the depth of talent in the game will keep scouts busy on Jan. 2.


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