‘Tis the season for over 40 college bowl games sponsored by some very obscure companies to celebrate the mediocrity of 6-6 teams. Surely there is an angry old man somewhere waving his fist screaming about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “the Millennials are ruining everything.” At TOJ, we love bowl season. Maybe not for the games because watching Western Kentucky against Georgia State is not very appealing, but it gives us a chance to watch some teams that we did not get a chance to watch this season and evaluate some prospects who may not have been regularly exposed to us.
Camping World Bowl
Matchup: Oklahoma St. vs. Virginia Tech
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Oklahoma State’s prospects:
1) OT Zachary Crabtree
Key stat: 1st-team All-Big 12
Crabtree has size you can’t teach at the tackle position at 6-foot-7, 310-pounds, but he is far from a complete prospect. He excels as a pass blocker which is pretty much a requirement in this Oklahoma State offense, but he struggles against the run. His performance at the combine and his pro day will go a long way in determining his draft position, which for now is somewhere between the 4th round and 6th round.
2) QB Mason Rudolph
2017 stats: 65.0% completion percentage, 4,553 yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs, 9.96 YPA
Career stats: 63.2% completion percentage, 13,267 yards, 90 TDs, 26 INTs, 9.38 YPA
There is a lot to like about Mason Rudolph. He has the arm strength, the accuracy and the size teams look for in a quarterback. So why is he not being considered among the top handful of quarterbacks in the draft class? There is a fear he will have a tough time adjusting from Oklahoma State’s quarterback friendly offense to an NFL system. It is a fair concern but if he is able to go to a team where he can sit and learn for a couple of years (think the Steelers or Patriots near the end of the first round), he has the ability to become a viable, above average NFL starter. If he is drafted into a situation where he is forced to start right away, I don’t if he will be able to tap into his full potential.
3) WR James Washington
2017 stats: 69 catches, 1,423 yards, 12 TDs
Rudolph’s favorite target may join him in hearing his name called in the first round. Washington put up some gaudy numbers in his career at Oklahoma State, and he has the tools to dominate in the NFL as well. He has good size (6-feet, 205-pounds) to go along with strong hands and a knack for running crisp routes. He has enough speed to take the top off a defense and the agility and strength to go across the middle. He reminds me a bit of Anquan Boldin when I watch him, and he fits the same mold as a high-end WR2 or a low-end WR1.
Virginia Tech’s prospects:
1) DB Adonis Alexander
2017 stats: 7 games, 23 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT, 4 passes defended
Alexander has missed five games due to injury this season, but when he has played he has looked like an NFL-caliber defensive back. I say “defensive back” because some believe he may make the transition from corner to safety given his size (6-foot-3, 195-pounds) and tackling ability. From the little I have seen him play this season, I agree that safety might be a better fit. Either way, he is versatile enough to play both and a team will look to draft him in the middle of day two between rounds three and four.
2) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
2017 stats: 102 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Edmunds may be the most NFL-ready linebacker in this draft class, and he should be the first off the board. He has the size, speed and instincts of an NFL linebacker. He has put together back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons and he makes it look effortless. I have not published it yet, but I have a working “best-case scenario” mock for the Jets. He has been my “best-case” second round pick, but I think Edmunds falling to the second is a pipe dream at this point. He has a big test lying ahead of him today and it will be fun to watch him making the calls to counter Mason Rudolph’s Cowboys.