I continue my series on college bowl games by covering the Christmas weekend slate of bowl games including our own Poinsettia Bowl. The first set of bowl games basically told me this: Ryan Matthews is a pretty solid RB, but probably not worthy of a 1st round pick because of lack information about how he does in the passing game and some ball handling skills that result in fumbles and that Rutgers OT Anthony Davis is so good that he will definitely be off the board when we pick. Without further ado, here's the upcoming bowl games and then the scouting reports after the jump.
Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. California
Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs Southern Methodist
Little Caesers Bowl: Marshall vs. Ohio
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Pittsburgh vs North Carolina
Emerald Bowl: Boston College vs. USC
Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. Clemson
I'm going to focus mainly on players that will probably go in the 1st or 2nd round. I'm going to focus on positions that might interest the Chargers, which means lots of front seven players, offensive tackles and running backs. I might mix in other positions, but I'll give a reason if I do. I'm also just using all draft eligible players, which will include some Sophomores and Juniors who may end up staying in school. I probably won't mention a top of the draft guy, unless I really want to say something about him or I think there is a slim chance he could slip or we could trade up. Okay, on to the players:
Nawa'akoa Misi, DE, Utah, Senior - I see some places where his first name is listed as Koa, but I think have a diacritical mark in your name is awesome. Just ask a Star Trek character. Anyway, he falls under the category of generic mid round pass rusher. He fits the size of a 3-4 OLB at 6'2 256. He should get after Cal QB Kevin Riley.
Tyson Alualu, DT, California, Senior - Another cool name. He's a DT for Cal, but at 6'2 291 lbs he's a DE to the Chargers. See if he can get after the passer or stop the Utah rushing attack. If he's a playmaker, then he could be a guy the Chargers look at in the middle rounds of the draft.
Michael Tepper, OT, California, Senior - Looks like we're done with the cool names. This big boy is a late round sleeper, but definitely has size at 6'5 317. He's a better pass blocker than run blocker and is smart enough to pick up stunts well. Sounds like something the Chargers like (i.e. big guy who can pass block). He's been injury prone, so he's a guy that we might be able to sneak onto the PS despite drafting him. It's worth noting that he'll probably be going head to head with Koa Misi, so that should be a nice test.
Various Nevada Players, Seniors - Okay, this is cheating, but all Nevada has is a bunch of potential late round/UDFA guys that play positions we kind of need. So here's there names, positions heights and weights: Jon Amaya, S, 6'0, 193; Alonzo Durham, OT, 6'2 301; Michael Bethea, ILB, 6'1, 231 and Alonzo Durham, C, 6'2, 300. Nevada's a good team, I expect one of these guys to at least be quality role player in the NFL, I'm just not sure who (although it could be senior RB Luke Lippincott, 6'0 214, who will miss the game with a toe injury).
Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh, Freshman - Dammit, I'm cheating again. This guy won't be draft eligible until 2012, but chalk this up as if I had told you to watch fellow Panther Larry Fitzgerald in his freshmen bowl game (Where he made two one handed catches and piled up the yards) because this guy is fun to watch. He is so shifty that you'll find yourself saying "wow" as guys miss him. He's fun, but we'll have to wait a couple years before seeing if he can be in the blue and gold (better figure out a trade now that can get us a top pick in 2012). I also highlight him because there was no one else worth pointing out from Pitt (or SMU, Marshall and Ohio for that matter).
Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina, Junior - He's small for a 3-4 OLB, but if he bulked up a little he could be rangy ILB for the Chargers and there's a lot of people out there that think we need to find one of those. He grades out as a first round pick so he's probably a nice talent to watch. Also, you'll be able to tell how many UNC fans there are by the "Bruuuuce" chants.I wouldn't bet on him joining the Chargers next year, but if he declares he's probably going in the second half of the first round.
Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina, Junior - Another top talent for the Tarheels. He's 6'2 303, so he could bulk up and play the nose or he could be a DE in the 3-4. He's got a high enough grade to signal that he's a possibility for the first round, but could slide to the second. I've seen more than more scouting report that just raves about this guy, so he could be a Larry English type where half the talking heads think he's a steal in the late first and half think he was a reach.
Aleric Mullins, Cam Thomas, Earl (E.J.) Wilson, DL, North Carolina, Seniors - UNC is loaded on the defensive line. All these guys come in as 6'3 big boys (306, 321, and 374 lbs respectively). Mullins is considered a mid round pick and the other two are late rounders. Their bowl game, all star game, and combine performances will help to separate these guys to find out who is benefiting from the others and who belongs in the NFL. Basically, just watch the Tarhee front 4 and take note of who is making some big plays (they'll need them to keep the ball away from Pitt's next 1st round pick WR sophomore Jonathan Baldwin and to stop the aforementioned Dion Lewis and talented backup freshmen RB Ray Graham).
Mike McLaughlin, ILB, Boston College, Senior - Mid to late round grade and stands at 6'0 247. Fits the mold for 3-4 ILB, but I'm not sure if he's got the range we want. We'll see if he can do anything to slow down the USC hydra at RB or make some plays covering the USC TE Anthony McCoy.
Taylor Mays, S, USC, Senior - We seem to be set at safety with Mays' former teammate Kevin Ellison and Eric Weddle, but I've been touting this guy for a while so why stop? He's 6'3 236 and supposedly he's going to run an insane 40 time. If you youtube him you'll find a ton of big hits, including one on a Penn State WR in last years Rose Bowl. This guy is going to make some NFL team real happy. His draft status has been slipping since the USC defense doesn't look as good without Maualuga (Bengals), Matthews (Packers) and Cushing (Texans) who were all 1st round picks last year, which seems unfair to me. I love this guy, but he'll be gone by the time we pick and probably doesn't fill a need for us. He'll do his best to put some hard licks on BC's star sophomore RB Montel Harris.
Everson Griffen, DE, USC, Junior - I think that even though he weight 272, he could slim down and play OLB in the 3-4. He already plays "standing up" sometimes in the USC's defense and he reportedly runs like a LB, which is a good sign for someone making the transition. I'm not sure that fills a need for us, since Griffen grades as a late first, early second round pick. Still, he's a playmaker on USC's defense and probably worth watching. He did get arrested over the summer for disturbing the piece in Nantucket.
Micah Johnson, ILB, Kentucky, Senior - He's 6'2 256 lbs and, I believe, was already mentioned by a BFTB member as a guy they like to become a Charger's ILB in the future. He's grading as a mid to late round pick and the scouting report for the game said: Micah Johnson is an instinctive downhill thumper, however, he lacks prototypical range and struggles to play in space, which does not bode well against the speedy and elusive...
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, Senior - I love C.J. Spiller. He does it all. He's a great return man and an explosive running back. He's also a really good receiver and can poss block. The only knock on him is size. He's 5'11 196 lbs, which is a little small for an NFL back. So what? Just let him run for touchdowns and work on keeping him healthy as much as possible. They don't take away the points you scored before you get hurt.
Ricky Sapp, DE, Clemson, Senior - Another pass rusher ticketed for the end of the first round. He's a finesse rusher who uses his length and quickness to gain the edge. He's also really light for an NFL DE at 6'4 245 lbs so he's probably going to a team in need of a 3-4 OLB. I doubt it will be the Chargers, but everyone loves watching sacks right?