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Chick-fil-A Bowl: NFL Draft Prospects
No Name Pos Hgt Wt Exp Projection 1 Phillip Merling DE 6-5 280 Jr. 2nd Round Notes: Merling is a tremendous run defender that makes plays in the backfield. He’s quick off the snap, plays with leverage, and alters the opposition’s offensive direction. He uses his hands effectively and has good range in pursuit. He has great balance, rarely gets knocked off his feet, and is fast off the edge. He’s a durable defender that has started every game in the last two seasons. 2 Barry Richardson OT 6-7 330 Sr. 2nd – 3rd Round Notes: Richardson is a massive tackle that has been reliable and durable. He’s a good athlete that stays square and uses his strength to his advantage. He doesn’t play with a mean streak, but he has impressive physical tools. He has quick hands and good technique. 3 Michael Hamlin S 6-3 205 Jr. 2nd – 3rd Round Notes: Hamlin is a hard-hitting safety with playmaking ability. He shows good range and a solid burst. He takes good angles in coverage and has fluid hips. He plays well at the line of scrimmage and positions himself to make tackles. He has good awareness and reads quarterbacks well. 4 James Davis RB 5-11 210 Jr. 2nd – 3rd Round Notes: Davis is a scoring machine that possesses excellent vision. He’s strong between the tackles, elusive on the edge and tough to bring down. He has good size and speed. He’s shared the load with C.J. Spiller the last two seasons and has produced 26 rushing touchdowns. 5 Aaron Kelly WR 6-5 190 Jr. 2nd – 3rd Round Notes: Kelly is a tall, athletic receiver that possesses great hands. He’s not a burner, but plays fast on game day. He gets a fluid release off the line and is quick in and out of his cuts. He adjusts well to errant throws and has a knack for making acrobatic receptions. 6 Chris Clemons S 6-1 210 Jr. 3rd Round Notes: Clemons is a physical safety that defends the run well and is excellent in coverage. He has great instincts and a nose for the ball. He transitions well and has good range sideline-to-sideline. He has playmaking ability and creates turnovers. 7 Cullen Harper QB 6-4 220 Jr. 3rd Round Notes: Harper is a leader that has a lot of poise in the pocket. He has good size and mobility. He possesses a strong, accurate arm and delivers the ball with confidence. He completed 67-percent of his passes, throwing 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season. 8 Chris McDuffie OG 6-5 330 Sr. 4th – 5th Round Notes: McDuffie is a monstrous interior lineman that has helped pave the way for Davis and Spiller the last two seasons. He’s strong in the trenches and jolts defenders with a devastating punch. He moves well laterally and works well with his linemates. 9 Dorell Scott DT 6-4 320 Jr. 4th – 5th Round Notes: Scott is a big, quick-footed defender that gets good penetration up the middle. He’s quick off the snap, uses his strength to get off blocks and locates his target. He’s strong against the run and forces the quarterback out of the pocket. 10 Nick Watkins OLB 6-2 220 Sr. 5th Round Notes: Watkins is an instinctive linebacker who flies around the ball. He lacks bulk, but has good range and is always looking to make a play. He takes good angles in pursuit and positions himself well. He led the Tigers in tackles this season with 118. Watkins has been ruled academically ineligible and will not participate in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. 11 Tramaine Billie OLB 6-0 210 Sr. UFA Notes: Billie is an active linebacker that displays good instincts on the field. He won’t participate in the Chick-fil-A Bowl due to academics. He’s undersized and doesn’t have a primary position at the next level. He’ll have to prove himself on special teams to make an NFL roster. 12 Colin Leonard LS 6-3 235 Sr. UFA Notes: Leonard is a quality special teamer who’ll have a chance to catch on with a team in need of a reliable long snapper. No Name Pos Hgt Wt Exp Projection 1 Quentin Groves DE 6-3 254 Sr. 1st Round Notes: Groves is a relentless pass rusher who plays with a high motor. He’s undersized, but is quick off the snap and plays with leverage. He uses his hands effectively and works hard to get into the backfield. He has great lateral movement, a strong inside move, and takes good angles in pursuit. 2 Pat Sims DT 6-4 314 Jr. 2nd – 3rd Round Notes: Sims is a young defender that’s developed nicely and is still learning the game. He has great size with more room to grow. He has quick feet and has a solid burst up the middle. He wedges between blocks, locates the ball and defends the run well. He’s improved his pass rushing ability and gets in the face of the QB. 3 Patrick Lee CB 6-0 201 Sr. 3rd – 4th Round Notes: Lee is an athletic corner that has great size and instincts. He plays at top speed and displays good awareness. He reads the quarterback well, defends vertically and adjusts to errant passes. He finished the season tied as the team leader in interceptions with four. 4 King Dunlap OT 6-8 312 Sr. 4th Round Notes: Dunlap is a big, athletic tackle who’s been a reliable starter the last two seasons. He has tremendous physical ability and will only get stronger. He moves well laterally and shields defenders with his long wingspan. 5 Carl Stewart FB 6-2 224 Sr. 7th Round Notes: Stewart is a versatile backfield threat that can line up at tailback or fullback. He has good speed and is strong between the tackles. He has soft hands and is a threat in the passing game. 6 Eric Brock S 6-1 209 Sr. 7th Round Notes: Brock is an instinctive defensive back. He plays well against the run, but has limited speed in the secondary. He doesn’t read the quarterback well and has to take better angles in coverage. 7 Brandon Cox QB 6-2 207 Sr. UFA Notes: Cox is a good leader, but doesn’t make good decisions. He has a strong arm, but doesn’t deliver the ball with precision. He forces the issue and throws too many interceptions. He’s very inconsistent. 8 Josh Thompson DT 6-0 301 Sr. UFA Notes: Thompson is a hard working interior lineman with limited athletic ability, but he defends the run well. He makes plays in the backfield and is a spark plug. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.
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