Chick-fil-A Bowl: NFL Draft Prospects

At 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Auburn and Clemson will clash in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on ESPN. Scout.com's Chris Steuber points out the 2008 NFL Draft prospects worth watching as you enjoy the game between some of the talented players from the SEC and the ACC.

No

Name

Pos

Hgt

Wt

Exp

Projection

1

Phillip Merling

DE

6-5

280

Jr.

2nd Round

Notes: Merling is a tremendous run defender that makes plays in the backfield. He’s quick off the snap, plays with leverage, and alters the opposition’s offensive direction. He uses his hands effectively and has good range in pursuit. He has great balance, rarely gets knocked off his feet, and is fast off the edge. He’s a durable defender that has started every game in the last two seasons.

2

Barry Richardson

OT

6-7

330

Sr.

2nd – 3rd Round

Notes: Richardson is a massive tackle that has been reliable and durable. He’s a good athlete that stays square and uses his strength to his advantage. He doesn’t play with a mean streak, but he has impressive physical tools. He has quick hands and good technique.

3

Michael Hamlin

S

6-3

205

Jr.

2nd – 3rd Round

Notes: Hamlin is a hard-hitting safety with playmaking ability. He shows good range and a solid burst. He takes good angles in coverage and has fluid hips. He plays well at the line of scrimmage and positions himself to make tackles. He has good awareness and reads quarterbacks well.

4

James Davis

RB

5-11

210

Jr.

2nd – 3rd Round

Notes: Davis is a scoring machine that possesses excellent vision. He’s strong between the tackles, elusive on the edge and tough to bring down. He has good size and speed. He’s shared the load with C.J. Spiller the last two seasons and has produced 26 rushing touchdowns.

5

Aaron Kelly

WR

6-5

190

Jr.

2nd – 3rd Round

Notes: Kelly is a tall, athletic receiver that possesses great hands. He’s not a burner, but plays fast on game day. He gets a fluid release off the line and is quick in and out of his cuts. He adjusts well to errant throws and has a knack for making acrobatic receptions.

6

Chris Clemons

S

6-1

210

Jr.

3rd Round

Notes: Clemons is a physical safety that defends the run well and is excellent in coverage. He has great instincts and a nose for the ball. He transitions well and has good range sideline-to-sideline. He has playmaking ability and creates turnovers.

7

Cullen Harper

QB

6-4

220

Jr.

3rd Round

Notes: Harper is a leader that has a lot of poise in the pocket. He has good size and mobility. He possesses a strong, accurate arm and delivers the ball with confidence. He completed 67-percent of his passes, throwing 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season.

8

Chris McDuffie

OG

6-5

330

Sr.

4th – 5th Round

Notes: McDuffie is a monstrous interior lineman that has helped pave the way for Davis and Spiller the last two seasons. He’s strong in the trenches and jolts defenders with a devastating punch. He moves well laterally and works well with his linemates.

9

Dorell Scott

DT

6-4

320

Jr.

4th – 5th Round

Notes: Scott is a big, quick-footed defender that gets good penetration up the middle. He’s quick off the snap, uses his strength to get off blocks and locates his target. He’s strong against the run and forces the quarterback out of the pocket.

10

Nick Watkins

OLB

6-2

220

Sr.

5th Round

Notes: Watkins is an instinctive linebacker who flies around the ball. He lacks bulk, but has good range and is always looking to make a play. He takes good angles in pursuit and positions himself well. He led the Tigers in tackles this season with 118. Watkins has been ruled academically ineligible and will not participate in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

11

Tramaine Billie

OLB

6-0

210

Sr.

UFA

Notes: Billie is an active linebacker that displays good instincts on the field. He won’t participate in the Chick-fil-A Bowl due to academics. He’s undersized and doesn’t have a primary position at the next level. He’ll have to prove himself on special teams to make an NFL roster. 

12

Colin Leonard

LS

6-3

235

Sr.

UFA

Notes: Leonard is a quality special teamer who’ll have a chance to catch on with a team in need of a reliable long snapper.

No

Name

Pos

Hgt

Wt

Exp

Projection

1

Quentin Groves

DE

6-3

254

Sr.

1st Round

Notes: Groves is a relentless pass rusher who plays with a high motor. He’s undersized, but is quick off the snap and plays with leverage. He uses his hands effectively and works hard to get into the backfield. He has great lateral movement, a strong inside move, and takes good angles in pursuit.

2

Pat Sims

DT

6-4

314

Jr.

2nd – 3rd Round

Notes: Sims is a young defender that’s developed nicely and is still learning the game. He has great size with more room to grow. He has quick feet and has a solid burst up the middle. He wedges between blocks, locates the ball and defends the run well. He’s improved his pass rushing ability and gets in the face of the QB.

3

Patrick Lee

CB

6-0

201

Sr.

3rd – 4th Round

Notes: Lee is an athletic corner that has great size and instincts. He plays at top speed and displays good awareness. He reads the quarterback well, defends vertically and adjusts to errant passes. He finished the season tied as the team leader in interceptions with four.

4

King Dunlap

OT

6-8

312

Sr.

4th Round

Notes: Dunlap is a big, athletic tackle who’s been a reliable starter the last two seasons. He has tremendous physical ability and will only get stronger. He moves well laterally and shields defenders with his long wingspan. 

5

Carl Stewart

FB

6-2

224

Sr.

7th Round

Notes: Stewart is a versatile backfield threat that can line up at tailback or fullback. He has good speed and is strong between the tackles. He has soft hands and is a threat in the passing game.

6

Eric Brock

S

6-1

209

Sr.

7th Round

Notes: Brock is an instinctive defensive back. He plays well against the run, but has limited speed in the secondary. He doesn’t read the quarterback well and has to take better angles in coverage.

7

Brandon Cox

QB

6-2

207

Sr.

UFA

Notes: Cox is a good leader, but doesn’t make good decisions. He has a strong arm, but doesn’t deliver the ball with precision. He forces the issue and throws too many interceptions. He’s very inconsistent.

8

Josh Thompson

DT

6-0

301

Sr.

UFA

Notes: Thompson is a hard working interior lineman with limited athletic ability, but he defends the run well. He makes plays in the backfield and is a spark plug.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.


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