Saturday Spotlight: BCS Bowl Preview

The college football season is winding down, but for "draftniks" the real season is just starting. On display for the next 10 will be a plethora of football prospects who will have their name called during April's NFL Draft. Seahawks.NET's Ryan Rigmaiden takes a look at who are the cream of the crop and those that might fall to Seattle in some of the late rounds next spring.

This year's Draft is unlike any in recent memory for me. The Seahawks don't have a first round pick this year – they used it to acquire WR Deion Branch from New England – and it'll probably be 8-10 hours before fans hear the first Seahawk selection come off the board. This will be only the third time in Seattle's history that they don't have a first rounder – the other years were 1985 and 1988 – so it'll take some getting used to, especially considering some recent years in which Seattle's had multiple first round selections (1997, 2000, 2001).

While not having a first round selection won't change their Draft board, there will certainly be a change in what position the Seahawks will be targeting. Most NFL fans always hold a small glimmer of hope that their team will make a blockbuster trade to move up and select this year's "sure thing", but it rarely turns out that way. Seahawk fans will have to adjust their focus away from the "star" players this year and hope for a solid player in the second round.

And so, while I'll continue to list and profile the NCAA's best and brightest, I'm going to focus a bit more on second and third round talent this year. Here's a quick look at the prospects in the BCS Bowl Games and my first "Mock Draft".




BCS Championship: Florida vs. Ohio State

Ohio State:

QB Troy Smith - Athletic QB has proven he can be an effective pocket passer and is earning a late first, early second round grade right now.

WR Ted Ginn - Blazing speed and great open-field moves will earn him a Top-15 selection. Ginn might be like Ste ve Smith in that he was a return man first before becoming a great wide receiver.

DT Quinn Pitcock - Undersized, high-motor guy has been a force for OSU and should be a first round selection.

RB Antonio Pittman - Very athletic and runs with power. Reminds me of Julius Jones. Round 2 or 3 guy right now.

Florida:

DT Marcus Thomas - Major character issues may move this first round talent into rounds two and three like Claude Wroten in the 2006 Draft.

WR Andre Caldwell - Next in a long line of Gator wideouts, Caldwell will hope he can shake the Florida wide receiver jinx. Earning second round grades right now.

LB Earl Everett - Solid athlete, but doesn't wow anyone. Second round guy, but should have solid workouts.

LB Brian Crum - Former TE has athleticism and instincts, but may be a Sunday selection.

DE Ray McDonald - DT/DE ‘tweener might be better fit as a 3-4 DE. Third round guy right now.

WR Dallas Baker - Has good size and production, but lacks speed and elite athleticism. Second day selection.




Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. USC

Michigan:

DT Alan Branch - Massive DT has everything you want as a starter. Top-10 selection right now.

CB Leon Hall - Good size, speed and is very physical. Top-10 pick.

OT Jake Long - Great size and scouts love the Michigan pedigree. First-rounder.

DE Lamarr Woodley - Could be a nice 3-4 OLB. Second round, but could sneak into the first round if he has solid workouts.

RB Mike Hart - Hasn't declared, but has all the tools to be a very solid NFL talent. Second-rounder.

WR Steve Breaston - An over-hyped disappointment, Breaston's best shot is as a return man.

USC:

WR Dwayne Jarrett - Hasn't declared, but his incredible size and hands would almost guarantee him a selection in the first round if he runs in the 4.5 range.

C Ryan Kalil - Solid player, but not the best athlete. Could sneak into the second round, but looks like a third rounder at this point.

WR Steve Smith - Very productive, but lacks the size and speed to be anything more than a third receiver in the NFL. Probably a day two selection.

QB John David Booty - Hasn't declared, and probably wont, but he's got 1st Round talent. If he returns to USC next season he could vie for the first overall pick.

DE Lawrence Jackson - Underclassmen hasn't declared and has been a bit of a disappointment, but he has all the tools of a dominant pass rusher. Late first or early second round guy if he leaves.

OT Sam Baker - Scouts love this guy. First round lock if he declares.




Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Wake Forest

Louisville:

DT Amobi Okoye - Four-year starter has size, strength and should be a first-rounder

RB Mike Bush - Injuries have knocked him down some boards, but he's a Jerome Bettis clone. Second round back right now.

QB Brian Brohm - Underclassmen should return, but has Top-10 talent if he declares.

Wake Forest:

S Josh Gattis - Good size and can jump, but I need to see more from him. Second day selection.




Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Boise State

Oklahoma:

RB Adrian Peterson - Injured RB has Top-5 talent. Big, fast and strong.

LB Rufus Alexander - Very fast prospect would flourish in a Cover-2 scheme.

LB Zach Latimer - Fast, but undersized kid could be a nice backup and special teamer. Late second day selection.

Boise State:

QB Jared Zabransky - Put up huge numbers, but scheme was a big part of it. Late round selection.




Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU

Notre Dame:

QB Brady Quinn - Almost a guarantee to be selected with the first overall selection.

WR Jeff Samardzija - Huge and faster than people think with very good hands. He has a choice between football and baseball, but should be a first round selection if he chooses the NFL.

OT Ryan Harris - Good athlete, but doesn't have great size and is inconsistent. Second-rounder, but could sneak into the end of the first round.

DE Victor Abiamiri - Athletic and can show flashes of dominance, but doesn't have any truly elite attributes. Second round.

S Tom Zbikowski - Tough, and can return punts, but can't change direction well enough to be considered elite. Looks like a solid strong safety in round two or three.

TE John Carlson - Surprise player isn't great at anything, but solid. Middle round selection.

WR Rhema McNight - Knee surgery last year hurt him a bit, but he's played well this year. Good size and hands, but has only decent speed. Could be a solid third or fourth receiver for a team. Second day selection.

LSU:

S LaRon Landry - Would've been a first-rounder last year and should be this year. Top-15.

WR Dwayne Bowe - Good size and strength. Could be a decent number two or a solid number three wideout. Second round guy right now.

QB JaMarcus Russell - If he's smart, he'll head back to school next year, but his size and production can't be denied. Second round selection with a great chance to get into the first round if he declares.




Mock Draft (12/30/2006)

1. Detroit - Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame
2. Oakland - Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
3. Arizona - Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin
4. Tampa Bay - Alan Branch, DT Michigan
5. Green Bay - Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma
6. Washington - Gaines Adams, DE Clemson
7. Houston - Ted Ginn, WR Ohio State
8. Cleveland - Sam Baker, OT USC
9. Minnesota - Leon Hall, CB Michigan
10. St. Louis - LaRon Landry, S LSU
11. San Francisco - Dameion Hughes, CB Cal
12. Miami - Marcus McCauley, CB Fresno State
13. Pittsburgh - Patrick Willis, LB Mississippi State
14. Buffalo - Jake Long, OT Michigan
15. Tennessee - Dwayne Jarrett, WR USC
16. Atlanta - Amobi Okoye, DT Louisville
17. Carolina - Levi Brown, OT Penn State
18. Philadelphia - Buster Davis, LB Florida State
19. New York Giants - Quinn Pitcock, DT Ohio State
20. New York Jets - Tank Tyler, DT N.C. State
21. Kansas City - Frank Okam, DT Texas
22. Jacksonville - Paul Pozluszny, LB Penn State
23. Denver - Jeff Samardzija, WR Notre Dame
24. Cincinnati- Victor Abiamiri, DE Notre Dame
25. New England (from Seattle) - Lamarr Woodley, DE/LB Michigan
26. Dallas - Dwayne Bowe, WR LSU
27. New Orleans - Darrell Revis, CB Pittsburgh
28. Baltimore - Tony Ugoh, OT Arkansas
29. New England - Quentin Moses, DE Georgia
30. San Diego - H.B. Blades, LB Pittsburgh
31. Chicago - Zach Miller, TE Arizona State
32. Indianapolis - Rufus Alexander, LB Oklahoma



As usual, any questions or comments can be sent to rlrigmaiden@hotmail.com. Thanks for taking the time to write in.


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