2015 NFL Draft: Bowl Game Player Standouts Part 1


This is the time of the fantasy season  in dynasty leagues when the good owners are trying to find ways to fortify their teams.  One of the best ways to do that is by looking to the college players that might make the move to the NFL this spring.  Here are some of the players that stood out with their bowl game play.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, rather a starting point for the 2015 NFL Draft and your own rookie fantasy draft!  I listed these players alphabetically:

DE: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

This defensive end flip-flops sides and can anchor the edge without giving up much ground.  He gets good initial pressure off the snap and can crash down the line to help defend the run.  Calhoun can dip his shoulder underneath the blocker on the way to the quarterback or use a spin move to create space between him and the offensive line.  His most impressive play of the night was a swat that knocked the offensive tackle off-balance, and the defensive end burst past him to sack the quarterback.  Calhoun also chopped the ball out of the signal caller hand while getting another half sack.

RB: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

First, let’s get it out-of-the-way, he is a Wisconsin back, and his school does not have a good NFL track record for starters at that position.  Gordon is not their typical Badger bruising back, instead he is a quick, breakaway speed, get small in the hole runner. He has quick feet, can hurdle or jump or spin around defenders with a good center of gravity.  The back has great vision, using extraordinary patience to follow his blockers. Gordon doesn’t give defenders much to hit, but does not shy away from contact either.

He has a mean stiff-arm, and has the burst to change a crowded 4th and one opportunity into a 53 yard touchdown sprint!  The back is best in space and spends some time split out wide on multiple receiver sets. Gordon has soft hands, making catches in stride.  There is a good effort in his pass blocking as he keeps in front of the would-be blitzers.  This is one of the rare occurrences that I don’t believe that a Badger back’s success got determined by their offensive line.

WR: DeVante Parker, Louisville

Parker is one of my favorite receivers in this class.  The wide out gets off the line of scrimmage quickly and can climb the ladder to get to passes high above him.  He catches the ball in stride, and keep his feet churning fighting for extra yardage.  Parker sets up his defender with shoulder shakes, stutter steps, and spin moves to get separation within five yards off the line.  The receiver breaks a lot of arm tackles, likes to weave between defenders showing good balance and determination.

Parker had a few issues adjusting to the poorly throw passes from two different erratic quarterbacks, but still made two or three catches most receivers would not make.  He catches the ball with his fingertips, runs crisp routes, and can make contested catches in tight areas.  The wide out almost always faced bracketed coverage and still managed to catch eight passes for 120 yards.  My only concern with Parker is that only attempts to run block.  He will need to work on that at the next level.

QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

The quarterback gets the ball out of his hands quickly.  He spent most of his time out of the shotgun and is quite mobile in the pocket.  For most of the day, Petty made nice safe throws within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. I like the way all of his passes were tight spirals and he is calm in the pocket when facing pressure.  There were a few throws made into tight windows that he fortunately connected on, so the quarterback has confidence on his side, at the next level he might not be as fortunate.

His ball placement is impressive, just look at the way he made a beefy former guard into a legit receiver on one of his touchdown throws.  Petty shows good footwork by setting his feet before he accurately throws downfield hitting his receivers in stride.  There was no pass pattern he could not make.  The quarterback called his own number on short yardage situations and was successful converting them. Some may label him a system quarterback, but I think there is more there for him to do at the next level.

S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss

The prospect plays more like a free safety than a strong safety at the next level.  He drops back quickly into coverage, but got caught unprepared by a double move from the receiver within the first minute of the game.  After that play, Prewitt settled down becoming more disciplined and trailed plays as the last line of defense. There was another touchdown caught right in front of him, but it was more the case of the corner back passing the receiver off to him when it was too late.

The safety usually closes quickly on the ball in the air, because he does a good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes.  He wants to be a ball hawk: always trying to strip the ball out when tackling, lay big bone-jarring hits, or getting into position to intercept the pigskin.   Prewitt also occasionally walks up to the line of scrimmage to provide run support in short down and distance.

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