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Early Bowl Game Observations

It’s that time of year when I turn my focus to the college bowl games to gain insight. I will do my best to find some draft eligible players that could improve your dynasty teams. This article intends to start conversations and encourage continued thought throughout the entire draft process. These are my observations based on the bowl games, unless otherwise indicated. I am listing these players alphabetically.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU
I came away very impressed by the young defensive end. He was quite quick and disruptive off the line. He flowed well to the ball and applied tremendous pressure on the quarterback. He lined up both outside and inside capitalizing on particular weaknesses of the offensive line play . His best trait was his constant effort, as most defensive linemen take plays off. This young man kept on attacking!

Gavin Escobar, TE SDS
Gavin Escobar is an athletic tight end that reminds me a bit of the Baltimore’s Dennis Pitta. He is not a strong blocker and showed little effort on running plays. When his concentration was there, Escobar caught the ball well. The young tight end seemed concerned about his well-being as he demonstrated alligator arms on a route or two.

DJ Harper, RB BOI
Keep in mind, not all Boise backs are the same. DJ Harper is not the same athlete that Doug Martin is. He showed good lateral movement and does a good job reading his blockers. The young running back tends to leave his feet, sometimes with jump cuts, but is good at taking good angles to avoid tacklers. He is better in space as he tends to get caught up in the trash along the offensive line during short yardage situations. I see him as more of a third down back in the NFL, because he has soft hands and shows a lot of effort in his pass blocking. It was concerning to see his quarterback take some of the short yardage carries that Harper should have received.

Cody Hoffman, WR BYU
He was a good route runner who had decent separation against the soft San Diego State coverage. The young receiver showed good body control while making tough catches. Hoffman appears to be more of a possession receiver in the NFL. He had a few concentration issues that reared their ugly head with two bobbled passes in the end zone. Hoffman has decided to stay in school.

Margus Hunt, DE SMU
The defensive end had one of the most dominating games of the bowl season so far. He got off the line at the snap of the ball and used his strong upper body to toss around any blocker in front of him. He forced a fumble on his first sack of the day which SMU recovered. The defensive end is at times overly aggressive, but is effective rushing the passer from any defensive line position. For his second sack, he tackled the quarterback in his end zone for a safety. Hunt also separated the ball from the back on a designed draw play. He will be 26 years old before the start of his first NFL game.

Darius Johnson, WR SMU
Early in the game, Darius Johnson was making an impact as a returner. He showed good vision and took the necessary angles to lengthen his return attempts. The young receiver demonstrated great instincts coming back to his quarterback when his signal caller was under pressure. He spent most of his time in the slot, but occasionally lined up outside. Johnson showed good separation against his coverage, ran crisp routes, and made a few difficult catches in traffic. A high-thrown ball bounced off his hands and was returned for a touchdown by the defender covering him. The young receiver found redemption later in the game with a beautiful snag between the two defensive backs for a touchdown.

Javone Lawson, WR ULL
Javone Lawson did a great job catching the ball at its highest point and got good separation from his coverage. This young wide receiver is very aware of his surroundings as he uses the sidelines to his advantage. Lawson is not strong in run support, but does his best to get in his defenders way downfield. I liked that he was not afraid to go across the middle on a crossing pattern to make a tough catch in traffic. The receiver made a spectacular one-handed catch and shielded the ball away from his coverage. Lawson has a flair for the dramatic which was on display when he made an acrobatic reception in the end zone.

Latavius Murray, RB UCF
The young running back was quite the battering ram as he does not shy away from contact.  Murray has good lateral movement, but is not as fast in a straight line.  He seems to depend on his offensive line to create running lanes. To be an effective ball carrier, he needs a high volume of carries. The powerful running back has decent hands and is very adept at reading blockers. He reminds me a bit of Tampa Bay’s LeGarrette Blount.

Robbie Rouse, RB FRE
This was my first time watching this young running back. He was very shifty giving the defense little to hit and used a good spin move to get away from trouble. While Rouse has a strong powerful trunk like Ray Rice, he plays more like Danny Woodhead with a less physical style based on taking the best angles and making people miss. Rouse lined up all over the field: in the backfield, in the slot, and split out wide. He had issues blocking larger defensive linemen and was stripped on a designed delayed run. This young playmaker might find success as a returner or a change of pace back in the NFL.

Kerwynn Williams, RB UTS
Kerwynn Williams was the story of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. His 235 rushing yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in that game put him over 1,500 rushing yards in his senior year. The young running back demonstrated impressive field vision and took great angles avoiding the defense. He has great quickness/speed to make defenders stop in their tracks. Once he got the ball in his hands, he seemed determined to score. Williams isn’t a big back and might be more of a third down specialist/returner in the NFL as he excels in the open field.

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wood chipper
9 years ago

My current RB’s are Matt Forte, Green-Ellis, DeAngelo Williams, Lamar Miller, LaMichael James, and William Powell. I have been getting a lot of interest from others for Lamar Miller. I suspect he will be the starter soon. If I am to consider trading him, what should I be looking for?

JBlake
Reply to  wood chipper
9 years ago

I don’t think you’re deep enough at RB to trade away Miller. Unless you’re weak at WR and could get a solid undervalued WR3 like Bowe/Crabtree/Stevie or one of the rookie WRs Blackmon/Gordon/KWright.

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