Alright, we're getting to the meat of the bowl games. This is the first fan post where I'll focus on one day's slate of games. I'll admit that I didn't watch a lot of the last set of games. I saw that Javarris James is pretty much a nonfactor at Miami, so I kind of regret putting him in there. Anyway, here's the games for December 31:
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs Air Force
Sun Bowl: Oklahoma vs Stanford
Texas Bowl: Navy vs Missouri
Insight Bowl: Minnesota vs Iowa State
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Tennessee
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:
Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma, Junior - Some have this defensive tackle prospect grade as highly as Nebraska's Suh, which is saying a lot. ESPN's KC Joyner scouted both players and saw that McCoy didn't make nearly as many big plays as Suh, but that doesn't mean his stock is slipping, just that he won't go above Suh. With a couple of AFC West teams picking relatively high we could be facing him a few times, so maybe you'll want to check him out.
Austin English, DE, Oklahoma, Senior - Stop me if you heard this before, a defensive end named English from a Midwestern school who has less than ideal size for the defensive end spot, but could make the transition to OLB in the NFL and is better against the pass than against then run. Sounds like our boy Larry, no? Austin isn't quite the prospect though. He does has an array of pass rushing moves, but has some injury concerns and doesn't possess great speed. He's a mid round prospect, but should get after Stanford's Freshmen QB Andrew Luck. We couldn't possibly start confusion by drafting another English at OLB, could we?
Chris Brown, RB, Oklahoma, Senior - Brown has always played second fiddle to Oklahoma's Junior tailback DeMarco Murray (who is not expected to declare, but is a decent prospect in his own right, but has a lot of durability concerns; think Reggie Bush without the pizazz). Brown is a little undersized at 5'10 206 lbs, but has good instincts and is a high effort player. Beyond that though he doesn't really possess the size to pound it between (but darn if he doesn't try) and doesn't have the speed to get outside. He relies mainly on making the right cut at the right time to get into the open field and then running hard. He's a late round prospect.
Note: Oklahoma has a lot of NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. I've only mentioned a few, but many others might be able to distinguish themselves in workouts and All Star games since a team with so much talent can make it difficult to separate out exactly how good the individuals are. So pay attention to names like: Brian Jackson, Matt Clapp, Demarcus Granger, Keenan Clayton, Ryan Reynolds and Brody Eldridge. The Chargers would probably have most interest in Granger at DT/DE and Clayton and Reynolds at ILB.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford, Senior - I love Gerhart's production at the collegiate, but I, much like real scouts, wonder if it will translate to the NFL level. Gerhart is a little big for NFL RB standards at 6' 240 lbs. He is, however, an athlete who plays baseball when he's not running over Pac 10 defenders. The Oklahoma defense is probably as close to an NFL defense as you'll see in the BCAA this year, so this will be a good test, but really no one is going to believe Gerhart can do it at the next level until he does. He could go as high as the 2nd round or as low as the 4th or 5th.
Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri, Senior - He's one of the top LB prospects in the draft and projects as either a ILB or OLB in the 3-4. He is a good straight line runner and good in coverage, so I could see him as a Donnie Edwards type in the 3-4. Personally, I see value in that type of player, but I'm not sure A.J. Smith does. He also has a knock on him as not being a big hitter, which I'm thinking A.J. will also thumb his nose at.
Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri, Senior - What? How did a WR get on one of these lists? We probably aren't going to draft him, but Alexander has been rocketing up the draft boards all season and his height (6'4) and speed (fast) scream "Chargers-style WR". So, I figured I'd put him here just in case. He's also bound to put some points on the board vs. Navy. He'll probably go in the 1st or 2nd round.
Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee, Senior - I was just reading KC Joyner's draft lab series on Dan Williams. He calls him one of the most inconsistent players he's reviewed for the series. He had a few games where he disappeared and others where he dominated. He also has some weight issues in the past where ballooned into the mid-300s. It could just be motivation, where I'd trust our DL coach Don Johnson to keep him on track and get some good mentoring from veterans like Jamal Williams. I like him as a guy we could pick in the late first and I definitely would like him if he were there in the second. It's one of those risks where you draft the talent and trust in your ability to develop the player, which is a risk I'd be willing take in the slots the Chargers will draft.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee, Senior - I see Hardesty as a Knowshon Moreno-type, but with an injury history. He's an all around back that doesn't do one thing great, but doesn't do anything poorly either. He has good size, he can run between the tackles, he can run to the outside, has good vision and he used his senior season to show that he can be a threat in the passing game. He's probably a guy that could start off the bat and give you good, but not great performance. The Chargers might take a look at him in the late second, but he'd have better value in the 3rd.
Eric Berry. S. Tennessee, Junior - Like McCoy, he's out of the Chargers league and will be taken in the first few picks of the draft. Some have talked about him as going #1 overall. If things were different for the Chargers and they were at the top of the draft I'd love to have this guy. Obviously, then I'd prefer that the Chiefs keep their grubby hands off of him. He's a leader, he's a team captain, he's smart, he's a ball hawk and and he's a good tackler. He gets compared to Ed Reed as far as his skill set. He's everything you want in a safety. Let's hope he ends up in the NFC since the AFC has too many of these guys already.