FanPost

Scouting the Bowl Games Part 5


It's time to take a look at the New Year's Day bowl games. I'm putting this out a little early because, well, this is the last chance I'll get to put out. I watched the Holiday Bowl last night and didn't really learn anything new. Suh is still awesome and the other top Nebraska defensive lineman sophomore Jared Crick is also awesome, but he's not really relevant to a 2010 draft discussion. Anyway, he's the listing of all the bowl games for New Year's Day:

Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs Auburn

Gator Bowl: West Virginia vs Florida State

Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs Louisiana State

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Oregon

Sugar Bowl: Cincinnati vs Florida

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:

Corey Wooten, DE, Northwestern, Senior - Wooten has a very large frame at 6'6 272. That could mean that he keeps his current weight and moves to OLB in the 3-4 and use his pass rushing skills to get to the QB or it could mean that he'll add bulk to that frame and could be a 3-4 DE. He's not an explosive pass rusher, but does a good job at setting up defenders and his instincts and competitiveness earn the highest possible grade. His diagnostic skills are elite and he gets himself into position against a defender very quickly and uses his long arms to keep defenders off of him. He looks like a 2nd round pick at this point.

Antonio Coleman, DE, Auburn, Senior - This college DE projects as an OLB in the 3-4 since at 6'1 250 lbs he'd be way to small to stay at DE in the pros. A lot of what I read about Coleman is very glowing. He as a good array of speed, power, inside and outside moves, he's finishes his tackles strong and with good burst, he's got good speed and should be good in coverage. Sounds like a perfect rush LB. Well, almost. He has a little bit of trouble against the run where he can get washed up in the blocks and not fight his way through and there seems to be either a motivational or endurance issue where he doesn't go 100% all the time. So all that glowing stuff about him only applies when he's going all out. So, he's either a project or a situational pass rusher. He's got a 3rd round grade right now, but I'd probably wait and see if he slips before taking a look.

Ben Tate, RB, Auburn, Seniorr - Tate is a one cut and get up field kind of runner. He's another one of those runners that doesn't do any one thing particularly well. He's got good size for the NFL at 5'10 215 lbs and he even likes to lower his should to finish off runs and carry a couple of tacklers with him. He does okay in the passing game where he can make defender's miss in open space and his good frame holds up well in pass blocking. He does have some ball security issues, but maybe that's coachable. He's a mid rounder and doesn't deserve a look before the 3rd round. He and his teammate Coleman will also play in the Senior Bowl, which like their school is played in Alabama.

Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State, Junior - ESPN's Scouts, Inc has him rated as the top OLB in this year's draft. To me, that means 3 things: First, he's going to declare, second, he's a ILB to the Chargers and third, he'll probably go to a 4-3 team in need of OLB help before the Chargers get a shot at him. Bowman possesses sideline-to-sideline range. Displays strong change-of-direction skills. Closing burst is exceptional and he rarely allows running backs to turn the corner to his side of defense. Also takes good angles to the ball and wades through trash well in pursuit. He excels in coverage. Shows good awareness in zone and does a nice job of locating and getting into underneath throwing lanes. Shows the ability to match up and run with tight ends and backs in man coverage. Ball skills are above-average. Not much of a pass rusher at this point. Does not time up blitzes well and lacks adequate power to run though blockers. He's reliable wrap-up tackler. Doesn't consistently run through tackles but flashes ability to deliver violent and explosive strike. Does a good job of breaking down in the open field and securing the tackle. That's basically a full scouting report on the guy and to summarize he's the complete package and will represent Lineback U proudly in the NFL.

Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State, Senior - I like Odrick as a future 3-4 DE. His lack of pass rushing skills and inadequate closing speed don't project well to your typical 300 lb DT in the 4-3, but they aren't really an issue with a 3-4 DE. A 3-4 DE needs to take up blocks and make tackles as the ball carrier comes to you. He gets a quick burst off of the snap count and will use that to stand up his blocker. He can win in one-on-one matchup, but has trouble against double teams. If he's drawing double teams in the 3-4 though, that's a good thing for everyone else. He's got a mean streak and was once charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly getting in a fight with 3 students, but hopefully the off the field stuff is behind him as that was back in March 2008. He could be a possibility as late first rounder, but would have great value if he slipped into the second round (maybe if the Chargers out of the first round).

Sean Lee, ILB, Penn State, Senior - Linebacker U will most likely send at least 2 of their namesakes to the NFL this year. Lee has good leadership skills and was a good student off the field. On the field he uses those smarts to diagnose plays, sniff out screens and draws and still stay grounded enough to stick to his assignments with great discipline. He's a consistent wrap up tackler. He can work his way through traffic, by shedding blockers in traffic including a performance against Michigan a few years ago where he shed #1 overall pick in 2008 Jake Long. His knocks are trouble in man coverage, but that's not a big concern in the Charger's defense where ILB usually stays in zone coverage and he doesn't have good closing speed when blitzing. The scouting report sounds to me like he'd be a good choice for a 1st round pick for the Chargers, but his current grade projects him as 2nd rounder. If the Chargers got him at the end of the 2nd round, that would be a steal in my book.

Al Woods, DT, LSU, Senior - Is that a collective groan I hear as I mention an LSU player? It's okay because I won't keep you long. Woods has good size for DT (6'3 3212 lbs) and might be a possibility as a future NT. He's a mid rounds prospects so hopefully A.J. won't trade up for him in the 2nd round or something.

Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida, Senior - Spikes is the #2 pure ILB in this draft according to Scouts, Inc. He's also the emotional leader of a defense that has played at the highest level of competition in college football. He also seems to play the game with a chip on his shoulder and teammates follow his lead. He's one of the most instinctive defenders in college football today. He finds the ball quickly and has playmaking flair. He shows great awareness and is usually the first on the Gator defense to diagnose a given play. He lacks top end speed, but shows a good closing burst when making a tackle however he's not a guy that will deliver a knockout ("lights out") blow despite his ferocious play. He's not that good in man to man coverage, but he is a playmaker in zone coverage, which sounds like a great fit for the Chargers defense. We'll see if he's still available when the Chargers pick in the first round, he'd be hard to pass up if he is available.

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida, Junior - As much as I like Odrick as a 3-4 DE, I like Dunlap even more. He already plays DE in college, but still has excellent size (6'5 293) for the position as an NFL 3-4 DE. He's an excellent athlete for his size and even returned kicks in high school. He's a wrap up tackler. He can collapse a pocket of the edge and as a full compliment of pass rushing moves. He can shed blocks in the running game by tossing offensive lineman aside in order to make tackles. He's got long arms and can jump, which has resulted in a few block field goals and knocked down a few passes at the collegiate level. However, the only reason we can even dream of him making it to the bottom of the first round is that he has some character concerns after a DUI this year that got him suspended, which followed up some already existing maturity issues.

Jermain Cunningham, DE, Florida, Senior - Another DE that would move to OLB in the 3-4. He's strong and tough and is a good athlete. He's a contribute on special teams and like Dunlap is a threat to block kicks. He has experience in college playing zone defense in coverage as part of zone blitz packages, so the transition to OLB may be a little easier than with other college DEs. He's a high effort player who uses that motor to overcome his lack of pass rushing moves. He's a good, but not great player who like all the Florida brethren has done his work on a national stage. He's not a consideration for the 1st round, but would have good value at the end of the 2nd and would be a steal in the 3rd. I like that he's a special teams standout.

Note: Yes, I left out any Rose Bowl players. There's really no one there I see getting drafted by the Chargers this year. I could talk about Oregon RB LaGarrette Blount, but I think people know the story and he probably won't see much of the field in this game. It should be a good game though and has some talented 2010 draft prospects (Oregon TE Ed Dickson, Oregon CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon S T.J. Ward, Ohio State S Kurt Coleman, Ohio State DE Lawrence Wilson) in it.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.