Bowl Game Prospect Viewing Guide: Orange Bowl

Joe Malfa with a prospect viewing guide for the Orange Bowl

‘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 two small schools battle for an irrelevant trophy 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.

Orange Bowl

Matchup: Alabama vs. Oklahoma

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Network: ESPN

Alabama’s prospects:

1) OT Jonah Williams (6-foot-6, 330 pounds)

When the Giants foolishly took Saquon Barkley over a quarterback last season, GM Dave Gettleman talked about drafting “gold jacket” type guys that “even his mother could scout.” That’s what Williams is. He has the size you look for in a left tackle, the strength, the athleticism, and nearly perfect technique. He can deal with the speed rush around the edge, bull rush right at him, and he is a bulldozer as a run blocker. As good as Nick Bosa is, I think all of the teams at the top of the draft might think long and hard about protecting their own quarterback before worrying about attacking others.

Projection: 1st round pick (top 10)

2) DT Quinnen Williams (6-foot-4, 290 pounds)

2018 Stats: 13 games, 66 tackles, 18 TFLs, 8 sacks

Career: 22 games, 86 tackles, 24.5 TFLs, 10 sacks

The All-American finished 8th in the Heisman voting as a defensive tackle. He was that good this season as only a redshirt sophomore. He will be a very young rookie, having just turned 21 last week. Prospects from certain position groups at certain schools are almost always sure bets. To name a few, there’s Notre Dame offensive linemen, LSU defensive backs, and Alabama defensive linemen. The only knock on Williams is his inexperience sometimes makes for a bad read on his part. Other than that, his technique is sound and his combination of speed, strength, athleticism, and sheer explosiveness make him a nightmare for interior offensive linemen. If cultivated properly as a young rookie, we could be talking about Williams the way we talk about Aaron Donald in a few years.

Projection: 1st round pick (top 10)

Other names to watch: 

S Deionte Thompson:1st round

DL Raekwon Davis: 1st-2nd round

LB Mack Wilson1st-2nd round

LB Anfernee Jennings:  2nd-3rd round

OC/OG Ross Piersbacher: 2nd-3rd round

RB Damien Harris: 2nd-3rd round

TE Irv Smith Jr.: 2nd-3rd round

Oklahoma’s prospects:

1) WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (5-foot-10, 170 pounds)

2018 Stats: 12 games, 75 catches, 1318 yards, 10 TDs

Career: 25 games, 132 catches, 2413 yards, 17 TDs

Antonio Brown’s cousin has benefited from playing with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray in Lincoln Riley’s offense, but he is a tremendous talent in his own right. Look no further than Marquise’s All-Pro cousin to find his best pro comparison. They’re the same size and play the game the same way. They’re undersized but can line up either in the slot or out wide. They can take the top off a defense while also being able to win in the short to intermediate range because of their ability to run crisp routes and separate from corners. Brown should be squarely in the first round based on his performance, but I could see a late slip to the 2nd round if he tests slower than people expect at the combine.

Projection: 1st-2nd round pick

2) OL Cody Ford (5-foot-11, 190 pounds)

Part of the reason Murray has been able to have so much success for Oklahoma is the fact that he has been well protected. It starts with Ford. He excels as a run blocker but struggled this year with speedy edge rushers from his right tackle position. He was previously a guard before kicking out to tackle this season, and a move back to guard will probably be in the cards. As a guard, he is worthy of a late first round pick.

Projection: 1st-2nd round pick

Other names to watch: 

OG Ben Powers2nd-3rd round

OT Bobby Evans: 2nd-4th round

OG Dru Samia2nd-4th round

LB Caleb Kelly5th-7th round

K Austin Seibert7th round-undrafted free agent