This is the second part of my article series on players to watch for in the NFL Draft. As these bowl games go on, there will be more and more NFL Draft talent in each week of games. There are still some very good players that I am a big fan of in this draft class, and you do not want to miss the first guy on my list.
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
Tuesday, December 18, 7 pm Central
UAB vs. Northern Illinois
Sutton Smith LB/DE Northern Illinois
This is one of my favorite small school prospects in the entire draft if he decides to declare. Sutton Smith has been the sack master of college football the last two years. When I say sack master, I mean the sack master as he had an NCAA leading 15 sacks this past season, and 14 sacks the previous season, which again led the NCAA.
He is not just getting to the quarterbacks though. Smith gets into the backfield no matter what. He got 24.5 tackles for loss this season and a whopping 30 tackles for loss in 2017. In both of those years, he led the NCAA in tackles for loss.
So how in the world is nobody talking about this guy? The reason is that he is undersized, like really undersized. He is only 6’0″, not exactly the size that you want out of an edge rusher.
Still, the guy is extremely talented. What I love most about him is his motor. He has one of the best motors that I have ever seen.
MAC Offensive Player of the Year, meet MAC Defensive Player of the year.
Sutton Smith refuses to give up on the play despite a double team, sacks Tyree Jackson for a huge third down stop. pic.twitter.com/ojuDrNPwbz
— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) December 1, 2018
He has been absolutely destroying MAC offensive lines for the past two years, so look for him to do the same thing to UAB.
There is a chance that he does not declare, but at this point, what else can he do to raise his draft stock despite his size. With his level of production, I find it hard to believe that he will not make a NFL roster.
DXL Frisco Bowl
Wednesday, December 19, 7 pm Central
San Diego State vs. Ohio
Joe Lowery OT Ohio
When looking for a late round offensive lineman to develop, look no further than Ohio tackle Joe Lowery. Lowery has played both guard and tackle for the Bobcats, while also leading the team as captain for two years.
He is a huge man, listed at 6’7″ and has the ideal height to develop over time. He has all of the tools to be great, but he needs some coaching up and more time to develop.
When looking at guys like Lowery, he should be a late round draft pick that would sit for a couple of years on the bench, but at some point, he could end up being a dominant tackle in the NFL.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Thursday, December 20, 7 pm Central
Marshall vs. South Florida
Mitchell Wilcox TE South Florida
Wilcox is one of the best small school prospects in this entire draft. Unfortunately for him, he is in a fantastic tight end draft class, so some may forget about him.
Wilcox is a different kind of tight end that we are seeing more and more of. He has a relatively thin frame for a tight end, and he has more of a wide receiver size besides his height. He could end up seeing himself in an Evan Engram like role, where he is basically a wide receiver.
I do think that there is more to him than just being a pass catcher. He may not be a big tight end, but he does not play like it. He plays with a fire in him on all downs, which is something teams would really like to have in a player.
go Mitchell Wilcox on Cinci's Mike Tyson 💪🏾👊🏾🤙🏾 pic.twitter.com/TGATTM91a1
— 𝗦𝗼𝗙𝗹𝗼𝗕𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘀 (@SoFloBulls) March 14, 2017
— #NobodyDied (@ftbeard_17) October 12, 2018
This is a game that I am making I do not miss because I think this guy needs to be higher up on NFL Draft boards, as long as he declares for the draft. I am expecting to get a show out of watching this guy play, which is something that you do not say too often about tight ends.
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Friday, December 21, 11:30 am Central
FIU vs. Toledo
Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo
Are you doing nothing at 11:30 in the morning on a Friday? If so, then you cannot miss this classic matchup in the Bahamas! On a real note, this game does not have a ton of NFL Draft level players in it.
There is one player that I am planning on paying attention to, and that is Toledo wide receiver Cody Thompson. He has rebounded from his serious leg injury and is now viewed as a possible draft prospect.
While watching Thompson, I really started to like his game. He does a great job of getting open, while also knowing what to do when he has the ball in his hands as he can make some people miss down the field.
Thompson is one of those do it all players that every NFL team needs to have. Thompson should have a great day in the Bahamas against FIU.
Thompson seems like a solid wide receiver depth for an NFL team at the very least, and certainly a guy to watch for on Friday.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Friday, December 21, 3 pm Central
Western Michigan vs. BYU
Sione Takitaki LB BYU
This is another game that there is not a lot of NFL talent on. One player to watch in this next one would be linebacker Sion Takitaki. He has been a player with a few off the field issues, but when he is on the field, he has shown plenty to draft scouts that could make him an NFL player.
At BYU, he gets all over the field. He can get to the quarterback, while also making open field tackles. He became less of a pass rusher this season and was used more as an all-around defender for BYU.
He is not high on my list of linebackers for the NFL draft, but things can change with big games, and one more shot could be all that he needs to prove that he can play in the NFL.
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