We look ahead to today’s late games…
Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Missouri boasts a few future NFL players on their roster, and perhaps one at each skill position.
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This year’s quarterback class is one of the weakest in recent memory, but Missouri’s Drew Lock is one of the favorites to be drafted early. A similar player to Derek Carr, Lock has a huge arm and above-average athleticism, but has a tendency to make poor decisions with the football. An impending Senior Bowl participant, Lock has a chance to sneak into the first round of the NFL Draft.
Sophomore Larry Rountree III, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns this season, leads the Tigers’ three-headed backfield. He overtook former devy darling Damarea Crockett this season, who continues to regress after a breakout freshman campaign. Crockett will likely return to school after a junior season in which he contributed just under 800 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns. Freshman Tyler Badie also added 91 touches this season and could see an increased role if Crockett chooses to declare.
One of the more intriguing players in this contest is senior receiver Emanuel Hall, a player who has sub-4.4 jets but has yet to play a complete season in his four-year career. Hall has good size at 6’2”, 200 pounds and is one of the more accomplished deep threats in this class, averaging 20.5 yards per reception over his 31 career games. The team leader in targets and receptions is redshirt junior Johnathan Johnson, who should return to school for his senior season but likely doesn’t have an NFL future.
Redshirt sophomore tight end Albert Okwuegbunam is not expected to play in this game, but is one of the top tight ends expected to declare for this draft. A red zone maven, Okwuegbunam excels at high-pointing the ball in the air and has a massive 6’4”, 265-pound frame, although many of his touchdowns were schemed wide open for him. Like many collegiate tight ends, he can stand to work more on his blocking, but he has the frame to grow in this area.
The Cowboys have multiple decent receivers with likely NFL futures (Tyron Johnson and Dillon Stoner), but the player to watch in this offense is Tylan Wallace. The sophomore wideout burst onto the scene this year after a pedestrian freshman campaign to the tune of a 79-1398-11 line. Wallace dominated targets and led the team with 17.8 yards per reception, while also ranking among the best receivers in the nation in first downs. He was a Biletnikoff finalist this season and should be among the best receivers in the 2020 class.
Running back Justice Hill, one of the most exciting Cowboys players for dynasty purposes, is nursing an injury and won’t play in this bowl game. As a result, look for redshirt freshman Chuba Hubbard to carry the load for Oklahoma State. Hubbard totaled eight touchdowns and nearly 800 yards from scrimmage in his first healthy season and should get a more expansive opportunity next season with Hill in the NFL.
Senior quarterback Taylor Cornelius was impressive in his only season as the starter after sitting behind Mason Rudolph. Cornelius has an NFL frame and sports decent athleticism and likely won’t be drafted but may latch onto a team as an undrafted free agent.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Utah Utes
7 p.m. ET, FS1
This game won’t feature much future NFL talent and should be a predominantly defensive game.
Utah standout running back Zack Moss is recovering from an injury and won’t appear in this game. He has yet to decide if he’ll declare for the draft or not, so he may end up returning to Utah for his senior season.
Clayton Thorson is the most notable name appearing in this game. Northwestern’s redshirt senior quarterback has decent arm talent and size, but shows spotty accuracy and inconsistent decision-making. With a 15/14 TD/INT ratio this year, he’s likely a late round pick at best, but could raise his stock with a decent performance in this game and a solid Senior Bowl week.
Senior wide receiver Flynn Nagel is the Wildcats’ leading receiver and is questionable for this contest. He is a smaller possession receiver that likely won’t be drafted.
Northwestern’s freshman running back Isaiah Bowser has led the way for the Wildcats after losing Justin Jackson to the NFL. He’s a bigger back with some power but averaged just 4.6 yards per carry this season.
North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Texas A&M Aggies
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
North Carolina State has one of the best receivers in the country in Kelvin Harmon, but he has chosen to sit out this game as he prepares for the NFL Draft. Junior receiver Jakobi Meyers, who led the team with an 80 percent catch rate on a whopping 111 targets, will lead the Wolfpack in Harmon’s absence. Meyers has good size and is more of a possession receiver, but an 89-1028-4 line is incredibly impressive production nonetheless.
Wolfpack senior running back Reggie Gallaspy II is a bowling ball who finally broke out this year, rushing for 1014 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s not much of a receiver and only averages 4.7 yards per carry throughout his career, but there’s a chance he could land on an NFL roster as a short yardage specialist. The more intriguing player in this backfield to me is Ricky Person Jr., a true freshman with good size and three-down ability.
NC State’s quarterback Ryan Finley will almost certainly be drafted, albeit likely not an early selection. Finley, a former Boise State transfer, is a limited athlete with an average arm, but is an incredibly cerebral player who will likely stick in the pros for years as a backup. He continues to show improvement year after year, but is an older prospect.
Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams had a standout freshman season but, like Crockett, he regressed last year. Fortunately, he had a career year under Jimbo Fisher, rushing for 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, while continuing to display his receiving chops. Williams is a talented inside runner with decent agility and vision and will likely be chosen on the second day of the draft as one of the better running backs in the class if he chooses to declare.
Sophomore Jhamon Ausbon was a devy favorite entering 2018, but played in just eight games this season and regressed across the board. He possesses prototypical size and is toolsy, but has a long way to go to make up the ground he lost while only amassing 350 scoreless yards this season.
A&M’s top receiver this season was redshirt junior tight end Jace Sternberger, a Kansas transfer with great speed and terrific production this season. Sternberger scored ten touchdowns on 47 receptions this season, proving his chops in the red zone as well as in the open field. Averaging 17.1 yards per reception and the only tight end in the country to score double-digit touchdowns, Sternberger will likely be among the best tight ends in this year’s draft.
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