NFL Prospects: Center Stage In Bowl Week

College Bowl week is always a great time to watch the top NFL draft prospects going up against top competition. This week is no different; here is a list of many prospects to watch for:

Music City Bowl
Minnesota vs. Alabama
Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 31, noon
ESPN

Top prospects: Alabama OT Wesley Britt is a top 10 tackle who could still stand to add some weight to his 6-8 frame, 300-pound frame. Another first-day pick, DT Anthony Bryant, has dominated at times. Minnesota's top prospects are underclassmen -- RB Laurence Maroney, RB Marion Barber III, C Greg Eslinger.

Others: Alabama -- OG Evan Mathis, LB Cornelius Wortham, RB Ray Hudson (inj.). Minnesota -- K Rhys Lloyd

Sun Bowl
Purdue vs. Arizona State
El Paso, Texas, Dec. 31, 2 p.m.
CBS

Top prospects: Purdue's Kyle Orton is a tough competitor who is among the top few senior QBs. He's part gunslinger, as is ASU's Andrew Walter, who will miss the scouting combine because of a shoulder injury and will need to prove his worth in private workouts. Purdue WR Taylor Stubblefield has an NCAA record 301 receptions, but does he have enough game-breaking speed?

Others: ASU -- S Riccardo Stewart (inj.), CB Chris McKenzie, DE Jimmy Verdon, LB Justin Burks, OL Drew Hodgdon. Purdue -- FB Jon Goldsberry, CB Antwaun Rogers (inj.), OG Tyler Moore.

Liberty Bowl
Louisville vs. Boise State
Memphis, Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m.
ESPN

Top prospects: Louisville's Robert McCune is a 25-year-old physical specimen who served three years in the Army and is one of the top inside linebackers available. QB Stefan LeFors is ultra-efficient, but too short (6-0) to merit first-day looks. Watch for Cardinals' WR J.R. Russell to climb the draft boards on the first day.

Others: Louisville -- RB Lionel Gates, RB Eric Shelton (Jr.). Boise State -- CB Gabe Franklin, S Chris Carr, K Tyler Jones.

Peach Bowl
Florida vs. Miami
Atlanta, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.
ESPN

Top prospects: Miami, which has had a first-round pick every year since 1995, will keep the beat going with top cover man CB Antrel Rolle, and Kevin Everett is yet another highly rated TE for the Canes. The Gators have first-round potential in their junior class -- LB Channing Crowder and RB Ciatrick Fason (who has declared for the draft).

Others: Miami -- OL Chris Myers, DT Orien Harris (Jr.). Florida -- OG Mo Mitchell.

Outback Bowl
Georgia vs. Wisconsin
Tampa, Fla., Jan. 1, 11 a.m.
ESPN

Top prospects: Two of the top DE prospects will be on display -- Georgia's high-motor David Pollack and Wisconsin's unblockable Erasmus James, both first-round talent. More first-round defenders -- junior FS Thomas Davis for the Bulldogs and DT Anttaj Hawthorne for the Badgers.

Others: Georgia -- LB Odell Thurman (Jr.), QB David Pollack, WR Fred Gibson, WR Reggie Brown. Wisconsin -- RB Anthony Davis, FS Jim Leonhard, OG Dan Buenning, CB Scott Starks, DT Jason Jefferson, OG Jonathan Clinkscale

Cotton Bowl
Tennessee vs. Texas A&M
Dallas, Jan. 1, 11 a.m.
FOX

Top prospects: Tennessee's Kevin Burnett, who arrived at college as a safety, brings speed to the OLB position at 235 pounds. He has first-round potential, and talks and plays with an attitude. A&M's pro pack is led by WR Terrence Murphy, lean and athletic with the speed to separate, despite modest numbers (51 for 682, 3 TDs).

Others: Tennessee -- P Dustin Colquitt, OT Michael Munoz (inj.), RB Cedric Houston. Texas A&M -- OL OT Geoff Hangartner.

Gator Bowl
Florida State vs. West Virginia
Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
NBC

Top prospects: The Seminoles have three first-rounders -- OT Alex Barron (super footwork), rapidly rising DT Travis Johnson and CB Bryant McFadden, who was so rarely challenged he had only one interception this season. West Virginia CB/R Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, a junior, is a great athlete whose 40 time could have him shooting up the boards.

Others: FSU -- WR Crophonso Thorpe, OT Ray Willis, DE Eric Moore. West Virginia -- WR Chris Henry (Jr.), RB Kay-Jay Harris.

Capital One Bowl
Iowa vs. LSU
Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
ABC

Top prospects: A game loaded with defensive studs, all potential first-rounders -- LSU DE Marcus Spears (more of a run-stopper than sack-master), LSU CB Corey Webster, Iowa DE Matt Roth and Iowa junior OLB Chad Greenway, adept in coverage and crashing the backfield.

Others: LSU -- C Ben Wilkerson (inj.), CB Travis Daniels, OT Andrew Whitworth (Jr.), LB Lionel Turner. Iowa -- DT Jonathan Babineaux, LB Abdul Hodge (Jr.), FS Sean Considine

Rose Bowl
Michigan vs. Texas
Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 5 p.m.
ABC

Top prospects: At least three top 10 draft picks could be right here. U-M's Braylon Edwards (87 for 1,221 yards, 12 TDs) is the most spectacular WR in college. Texas RB Cedric Benson can catch, block and run all day (5,470 career yards, 64 TDs). No argument -- Texas' rangy Derrick Johnson is the best of the OLBs. He has 19 TFLs and eight forced fumbles this season. Michigan CB Marlin Jackson is another first-round talent.

Others: Michigan -- OG/C David Baas, SS Ernest Shazor (Jr.), DT Gabe Watson (Jr.). Texas -- DT Rodrique Wright (Jr.), DB Phillip Geiggar, TE Bo Scaife.

Fiesta Bowl
Utah vs. Pittsburgh
Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m.
ABC

Top prospects: A great showcase for Utah QB Alex Smith, super-efficient, football-smart and mobile, but a bit of a mystery because he plays in the Mountain West. He is a junior who already has his degree. Utah's Chris Kemoeatu is a devastating run blocker who is among the top five guards.

Others: Utah -- DB Morgan Scalley, DL Sione Pouha, WR Paris Warren. Pittsburgh -- OT Rob Petitti, DT Vince Crochunis

Sugar Bowl
Auburn vs. Virginia Tech
New Orleans, Jan. 3, 8 p.m.
ABC

Top prospects: The top running back in the draft could be from Auburn -- either crazy-legged Carnell Williams or explosive Ronnie Brown, who shared the ball without complaint this season. Auburn's physical CB Carlos Rogers could work his way into the first round. Tech's Jimmy Williams is a 6-3 junior CB who could push near the first round.

Others: Auburn -- QB Jason Campbell, S Junior Rosegreen, OT Marcus McNeill (Jr.). Virginia Tech -- DL Jim Davis, QB Bryan Randall, DB Vincent Fuller, CB Eric Green

Orange Bowl
USC vs. Oklahoma
Miami, Jan. 4, 8 p.m.
ABC

Top prospects: Possible No. 1 pick Matt Leinart of USC would fit in perfectly in a short-passing game system (San Francisco?). Oklahoma DE Dan Cody is a pass rush terror, either from a three-point stance or as a stand-up end. USC's Shaun Cody (no relation) is another top 10 pick, able to play end or tackle. His battles with Sooner OT Jammal Brown, who plays with a nasty streak, could be epic.

Others: USC -- DT Mike Patterson, LB Matt Grootegoed, TE Alex Holmes. Oklahoma -- QB Jason White, WR Mark Clayton, WR Mark Bradley, S Donte Nicholson, C Vince Carter, LB Lance Mitchell, CB/R Antonio Perkins, DE Jonathan Jackson, S Brodney Pool (Jr.).


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