2014 NFL Draft: 10 College Players That Need A Strong Bowl Performance
Not every football player is created equally. Not every top program produces automatic first round picks in the Draft.
This year, the talent may be there, but the depth for the 2015 NFL Draft may be a little thinner than last season. These players, although highly touted, need a little polish on their game to guarantee a better draft position come April 2015.
STEFAN DIGGS, WIDE RECEIVER – MARYLAND
If Diggs were still playing in the ACC, he would be the third best receiver in the conference. Moving to the Big Ten may have helped Maryland and its credibility, but it also may have hurt Diggs and exposed him as a smaller receiver. Playing in the bowl game gives him a chance to shine before the Combine next year in 2015.
TYLER LOCKETT, WIDE RECEIVER – KANSAS STATE
I love Lockett’s ability. If you want to see how truly special he can be, look at the game between Kansas State and Auburn. Lockett is also a solid kick returner, which helps his draft stock. What I want to see is that Lockett can take his game to another level and move toward the top of the second round, not the middle of the third round.
KARLOS WILLIAMS, RUNNING BACK – FLORIDA STATE
Williams could be a better pro back than Devonta Freeman. But the lack of experience at the position in college hurts him. When he is on, he is very good. Right now, he is a mid-round talent, but should he have a huge game against Oregon and then in the title game and then turn it on at the Combine, he could be a steal in the second round.
GABE WRIGHT, DEFENSIVE TACKLE – AUBURN
Wright was one of those players who I thought would get better as the season wore on. He is another one of those defensive linemen in the mold of Nick Fairley and Sen’Derrick Marks. I think with a strong post season and a strong combine, he could move up draft boards.
CEDRIC OGBUEHI, TACKLE – TEXAS A&M
There was talk before the season that not only would Ogbuehi be the third tackle in consecutive seasons to be a top 10 draft pick, but the left tackle might be the first player off the board in the entire Draft. That is not the case and he has fallen as far as possibly the fifth tackle taken in some media reports. Ogbuehi is solid and mammoth, but he needs a solid showing to shoot back up the charts.
BRETT HUNDLEY, QUARTERBACK – UCLA
If there is going to be three quarterbacks drafted in the first round, will it be Connor Cook of Michigan State or Hundley of UCLA? The bowl season is the time where quarterbacks have to play their best. Hundley has had some injury issues this season, which have hampered him. I think he rebounds and plays well in the post season.
RONNIE STANLEY, TACKLE – NOTRE DAME
When scouts and draftniks look back on the 2015 Draft and see that Ronnie Stanley may have lasted until the lower part of the draft, teams will be kicking themselves. There is a lot of talent on the defensive front, at receiver and at tackle in this Draft. Stanley needs a great performance against the LSU defenders to guarantee he is a top 15 pick.
JAMEIS WINSTON, QUARTERBACK – FLORIDA STATE
While it may sound odd because Winston could be one of the first two players chosen in the NFL Draft next year, he needs to show he can play like he did last season. To say the 2014 season has been average at best would be an understatement. Winston is playing without the hassles from off field issues. Now is his time to light it up.
AMEER ABDULLAH, RUNNING BACK, NEBRASKA
Abdullah was trucking along at Nebraska and was a Heisman candidate until he hit a wall against Michigan State. I told a reader I did not think he was a top-tier back. Abdullah needs a strong showing and a solid Combine to be a second round pick. He has the tools, but he needs more polish on the tires
NATE ORCHARD, DEFENSIVE END, UTAH
He is 6’4” and 255 pounds and some say he is a tweener in the NFL. Good speed and good technique. I have him as a low second round pick right now. A solid post season, Combine and workout may get him to a high second round selection.