‘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.
Matchup: Oregon vs. Boise State
Time: 3:30 p.m.
1) RB Royce Freeman
2017 Stats: 244 caries, 1,475 yards, 16 TDs; 16 catches, 158 yards, 1 TD
Career: 947 carries, 5,621 yards, 60 TDs; 79 catches, 814 yards, 4 TDs
Freeman is not the flashiest of prospects, but he has the ability to start immediately if he ends up in the right situation. He has good size (6-foot, 238-pounds), instincts and footwork, which helped him become Oregon’s all-time leading rusher and record the seventh most rushing yards in FBS history. You will not see him suit up on Saturday because, like many others in the aftermath of Jaylon Smith’s knee injury two years ago, he is opting to sit out of his team’s bowl game. You will get a chance to look at him in the Senior Bowl, as he recently accepted his invite. He seems to be destined for the 2nd round barring a poor showing in pre-draft workouts.
2) OT Tyrell Crosby
Notable 2017 stat: Did not allow a sack or hit on the QB in the first five games
Crosby missed the majority of 2016 after suffering a season-ending foot injury in Week 3. He bounced back in a big way this season, leading the way for Freeman and doing a good job protecting Justin Herbert and the other two quarterbacks who took snaps for the Ducks. He has prototypical size at 6-foot-5, 320-pounds. If you are an Oregon fan or have watched them a lot this season, you will know Crosby wears No. 73. If you are trying to keep an eye on him on Saturday though, be on the lookout for No. 58. The Las Vegas native will be wearing that jersey to honor the 58 victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Like Freeman, he will be taking part in January’s Senior Bowl. Offensive linemen tend to move up or down draft boards based on the week of practice they have at the Senior Bowl, but for now Crosby will likely come off the board somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round.
3) DL Henry Mondeaux
2017 stats: 42 tackles, 5.0 sacks
Mondeaux’s best attribute may be his versatility. He has played everywhere along the defensive line in three different systems in his four years at Oregon. He needs to bulk up a bit because he is not thick enough at 6-foot-4, 280-pounds to line up as an interior defensive lineman in the NFL, and he does not have the skillset to transition to EDGE. His motor sets his floor as a good special teams player with the potential to develop into a rotational or depth lineman. He will probably have to wait a while to hear his name called on draft day, but he may end up signing somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
4) S Tyree Robinson
2017 stats: 47 tackles, 1 INT
Robinson has spent time at both cornerback and safety while at Oregon. He was productive, registering 200 tackles in 51 career games with five interceptions. He lacks the cover skills to be a starting cornerback which is why he has spent the bulk of his time at safety, but his size makes him an intriguing prospect given the NFL’s infatuation with oversized defensive backs. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound safety needs to have a good draft season if he wants to make sure his name is called. As of right now, he is in the same situation as Mondeaux — on that fence between the 7th round and going undrafted.
Boise State’s prospects:
1) DL David Moa
2017 stats: 20 tackles, 2.0 sacks
Moa was the Broncos’ top prospect coming into this season. Some thought the 6-foot-3, 275-pound lineman could be an early round pick, but he only registered 20 tackles and two sacks this season in 12 games and was arrested prior to the start of the season. Throw all of those things together and you may have a recipe for a prospect who returns to school for another year, which seems to be the consensus among media members covering the team. If he comes out this year, he may fall into the 6th round. If he waits a year and reverts back to the 2016 version of himself that recorded 30 tackles and 8.5 sacks, he could climb as high as the 3rd round.
Just for fun:
One of the running backs Royce Freeman ranks ahead of on Oregon’s all-time list is LeGarrette Blount, who has a bit of a history with Boise State. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 2009. Before Blount was punching it in at the goal-line for NFL teams, he was punching in the jaws of Boise State Broncos:
And another angle:
Photo Credit: NFL.com