It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s the holiday season and college football kicks off its bowl play with some intriguing draft-eligible prospects to watch.
Most of the attention will be on the Fresno State, Southern Cal showdown on Saturday afternoon (see story), and the evening contests may not have the same allure, but the teams involved offer some highly-touted prospects that the Eagles and the other 31 NFL teams could target on draft day.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Buffalo vs. San Diego State (5:30 p.m., ESPN)
Khalil Mack - OLB, Buffalo, No. 46
One of the most explosive and productive defenders in the country, the 6-foot-2, 248-pound Mack was a relative unknown just two years ago. But after he erupted for 94 tackles, 21 for a loss and eight sacks in 2012, he was immediately placed on scouts’ radar. And, this year, he did nothing to disappoint, as he exceeded the production he posted a year ago with 94 tackles, 19 for a loss, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions.
The undeniable talent that the scheme diverse Mack possesses will attract many teams including the Eagles, who already have a solid veteran presence at outside linebacker in Connor Barwin and Trent Cole, but could use a young, playmaking 3-4 outside linebacker that can create havoc off of the edge. However, the consistency and dominant play that Mack has demonstrated over the past two years has positioned him to being a potential top-10 pick, and it will likely take the Eagles trading up in the first round to have a chance of landing the Jack Lambert Award winner.
Others to watch
Buffalo: WR Alex Neutz (6-2, 205), RB Branden Oliver (5-7, 208), DE Colby Way (6-3, 293), CB Najja Johnson (5-11, 187), LB Lee Skinner (6-1, 223).
San Diego State: OT Bryce Quigley (6-5, 300), WR Colin Lockett (5-11, 183), RB Adam Muema (5-10, 205), SS Nat Berhe (5-10, 195), SS Eric Pinkins (6-3, 215).
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (9 p.m., ESPN)
Ryan Grant - WR, Tulane, No. 3
He’s not the fastest receiver, but the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Grant is a reliable pass catcher who’s been an extremely productive and a consistent weapon for the Green Wave over the past two seasons, collecting 146 passes for 2,075 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The skill set that Grant possesses translates best to being a slot receiver at the next level with his quick burst off the line, smooth route-running and ability to make tough catches in traffic. With Riley Cooper and the injured Jeremy Maclin slated to be free agents, and Jason Avant being a possible cap-casualty, it’s no secret that the Eagles will target a receiver during the offseason. And, if the Eagles don’t solidify the position during free agency or early in the draft, Grant could be an attractive option for the Eagles in the mid-rounds.
Others to watch
Tulane: K Cairo Santos (5-8, 160), QB Nick Montana, RB Orleans Darkwa (5-11, 210), DT Chris Davenport (6-3, 330).
Louisiana-Lafayette: QB Terrance Broadway (6-1, 211), RB Alonzo Harris (6-1, 216), WR Jamal Robinson (6-3, 205).