Oops. I'm a little late again. It skipped my mind that I need to get another one out before the Independence Bowl, which is played very early for us West Coasters who have to work the Monday after Christmas. To sort of recap the last set of bowls, I still love C.J. Spiller and I learned that he's also a high character guy and he kept his weight down in college so he could run track, but he won't be falling to us. There were a couple of defensive linemen I liked, one that stood out was E.J. Wilson for UNC, but he's a pass rusher and we still don't know how our OLB situation will shake out by April. Bruce Carter can run sideline to sideline, but has trouble tackling. He's kind of the opposite of what the Chargers currently have at ILB. Without further ado, here's the upcoming (pre-New Years eve) bowl games and then the scouting reports after the jump.
Indepedence Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Georgia (Monday, 12/28)
EagleBank Bowl: UCLA vs Temple (Tuesday, 12/29)
Champ Sports Bowl: Miami vs Wisconsin (Tuesday, 12/29)
Humanitarian Bowl: Bowling Green vs Idaho (Wednesday, 12/30)
Holiday Bowl: Arizona vs Nebraska (Wednesday, 12/30)
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:
Gene Atkins, DT, Georgia, Senior - Scouts, Inc has him as the #9 DT in the upcoming draft. He's 6'1 282 lbs so he'd have to put on some bulk to play DE for the Chargers. Another issue is that he's been better as a push rusher than a run stopper. Probably not a fit for the 3-4, but he's a high character guy and has mid round (and possibly as high as early 3rd round) talent .
Bryan Price, DT, UCLA, Junior - He's 6'2 300 lbs and causes havoc to offensive coordinators. 22 1/2 of his 33 tackles have been for losses and he's got 7 sacks and a forced fumble so his production level is pretty high, but if you've ever watched him play you'd know that he's a disruptor that deserves more credit than what you can give him with basic stats alone. He'd be a great fit for the 3-4 at DE, but I get the feeling he'll be gone by the time the Chargers pick. Out of all the DTs I've mentioned to this point, this is the one that will probably be the most fun to watch.
Darryl Sharpton, ILB, Miami, Senior - Miami was once known for its volume of 1st round picks, but right now none project to get to the top 2 rounds this year. Sharpton has the highest grade of the bunch. He's great above average speed and range and is a very physical defender who can shed blocks. However, he hasn't been a playmaker and struggles in coverage. He could be a very good special teamer and a project at ILB kind of like Tim Dobbins was.
Javarris James, RB, Miami, Senior - A cousin of Edgerrin James this Miami RB projects as a sort of sleeper pick at this point. He's put up some big numbers at times in college but hasn't really been able to stand out mainly because of injuries. We'll see if he can run on Wisconsin's defense and show that he could be an NFL back. He might be a guy that starts to rise on draft boards if he can show he's healthy.
Mike Iuputi, OG, Idaho, Senior - The Chargers are probably set at OG, but this guy is worth mentioning since he's a first round caliber offensive lineman from Idaho of all places. He has tremendous size for the position at 6'5 330 lbs and he's just as good a run blocker as he is a pass blocker, which is rare for a guard. He does play for Idaho so his level of competition (and his bowl game opponent probably won't test him since Bowling Green has no draft eligible NFL-caliber players) will be an adjustment in the NFL especially against the better defensive lineman, but he'll still go very high in the draft.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, Junior - If you haven't heard of this guy, then you haven't paid any attention to college football. In my mind, he was the best player in college football this year. He's a force to be reckoned with and will provide a big time impact in the NFL. He's way out of the Chargers league come draft day, but you can't talk about Nebraska football without talking about Suh.
I'll end with a note that Arizona's best draft eligible player is a TE named Rob Gronkowski. The Chargers won't be spending a draft pick on him and I don't really have anything other to say, but I wanted to mention something about Nebraska's opponent in the hometown's Holiday Bowl.