Post-Bowl Risers: Offense

Every year a handful of players help boost their profile with strong performances in their bowl games.'s Chris Steuber points out some of this year's post-bowl risers who have completed their games and who made a statement with their offensive play.

Adrian Arrington, WR – Michigan

Arrington is in the shadow of the electrifying Mario Manningham at Michigan, because Manningham is the big play threat while Arrington is the steady intermediate route-runner who occasionally breaks off a big play. But it was Arrington who shined on the biggest stage this season against Florida at the Capital One Bowl. He hauled in nine receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He showed good speed and soft hands in the Wolverines victory. Arrington has nice size, but speed is an issue. He's currently a mid-round selection who has to impress during the offseason to improve his status.

Chris Johnson, RB – East Carolina

Johnson has elevated his game in East Carolina's last four games - including his performance against Boise State – averaging 22 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Pirates past the 24th ranked Broncos in the Hawaii Bowl, rushing for 223 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Johnson is also an accomplished receiving threat out of the backfield. He had three receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown against Boise State. Johnson's performance in the Hawaii Bowl, his play down the stretch and his overall skill set as a featured back make him an interesting prospect to watch and a potential second round draft pick.

Dustin Keller, TE – Purdue

Keller has been a consistent tight end for Purdue the last two seasons and showed great ability against Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. He finished with seven receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown. He displayed a great burst over the middle and made tough catches. Entering the offseason, Keller's pass catching ability will be coveted by numerous teams at the next level, and he is a late-second, early third round pick at this point.

Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Erik Ainge, QB – Tennessee

Ainge has been on a tear recently and his stellar play continued in the Outback Bowl against Wisconsin. He showed great poise against the Badgers and completed 25-of-43 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Ainge is a good decision maker that doesn't turn the ball over much, and enjoyed his best season at Tennessee throwing 31 touchdown passes and only ten interceptions. Ainge will be a late first day or early second day selection.

Donnie Avery, WR – Houston

Avery had a breakout season this year without Kevin Kolb as the Cougars field general. Avery was consistent all season long and finished his senior year with 10 catches for 120 yards in Houston's 20 – 13 loss to TCU in the Texas Bowl. Despite the loss, Avery flashed deep speed and soft hands this season and eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark six times – featuring a 346 yard, 13 catch performance that included two touchdowns against Rice during Week 6. With solid workouts this offseason, Avery could be a late second round pick.

Tony Temple, RB – Missouri

Temple's breakout performance in the Cotton Bowl turned a lot of heads. Any running back that breaks loose for 281 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns will receive a lot of press. But when it' a player that isn't considered an elite prospect, it may be looked at as a fluke. Temple had some impressive performances this season and has been a consistent performer for Mizzou the last two years. But even with his spectacular performance against Arkansas, he's still a late round prospect who has a chance to be a mid-round selection.

Tyson DeVree, TE – Colorado

DeVree has potential, but has been inconsistent until recently. He played well against Alabama in the Independence Bowl, where he had nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. In Colorado's previous game, on November 23rd, DeVree had four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He has good size (6-foot-5, 245-pounds) and speed, and is a weapon in the redzone that caught eight touchdown passes this season. DeVree is currently a late round selection.

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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