The college bowl season is about to get started and there will be plenty of players facing the best competition that they've seen all season. For some 2013 NFL Draft prospects, the bowl matchup will give NFL scouts there best view yet at the skills and readiness of prospects. Here is a run down of the top pairings to watch from a draft perspective in the early Bowl games.
Poinsettia Bowl: BYU WR Cody Hoffman vs. San Diego State CB Leon McFadden
McFadden hasn't faced a wide receiver of Hoffman's caliber this season. McFadden has had a strong senior year with 59 tackles, 10 passes broken up and three interceptions. The junior Hoffman has faced some quality corners while totaling 90 receptions for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns. He went over 100 yards against good teams like Oregon State, Utah State and 86 yards against Notre Dame. Hoffman (6-4, 215) has a real size advantage over McFadden (5-10, 190), but it will be an opportunity for McFadden to show he can handle big receivers.
Little Caesars Bowl: Western Kentucy DE Quanterus Smith vs. Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher
Fisher hasn't been tested by an elite pass rusher all season, but that will change when he takes on Smith. The 6-foot-5, 249-pound speed rusher has been one of the most productive rushers in the nation with 12.5 sacks. He had three sacks against Alabama and five sacks against FIU. Fisher (6-8, 305) will have a good opportunity to show NFL scouts that he can shut down speed rushers. If Smith has a big game that could knock Fisher out of the first round next April.
Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib vs. West Virginia QB Geno Smith
For quarterback needy teams in the NFL, their scouting departments will circle this Bowl game. Smith and Nassib have been two of the best quarterbacks in college football this year. In 2012, Smith has completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,004 yards with 40 touchdowns and six interceptions. He started the season on fire before cooling off in the middle of the year. Syracuse has a suspect defense so Smith should put up big totals.
Nassib should as well as West Virginia's defense has been awful all year. He's completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,619 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Many top general managers will be watching Smith, and Nassib will have the opportunity to show that he is worthy of early-round consideration.
Alamo Bowl: Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro vs. Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton
Wheaton will take on Vaccaro along with Texas cornerbacks Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom. The polished receiver Wheaton has 88 receptions for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns entering the Alamo Bowl. Despite Texas' defense having a disappointing year, Vaccaro has been very good and many regard him as the top safety for the 2013 draft. He's totaled 88 tackles with two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Both Wheaton and Vaccaro have faced good competition during the regular season so they should be well prepared to face each other.
Music City Bowl: N.C. State CB Davis Amerson vs. Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
The junior Matthews was one of the best receivers in the SEC with 87 receptions for 1,262 yards and seven touchdowns. He stepped up with huge games against South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest. He has a nice combination of size and speed.
Amerson was inconsistent as a junior with five interceptions and 11 passes broken up, but he was repeatedly beat for touchdowns. All year Amerson was gambling and getting burned on double moves. Vanderbilt head coach and offensive schemer James Franklin surely will have a number of double moves isolated on Amerson from quarterback Jordan Rodgers to Matthews. It will be an opportunity for Amerson to show the ability to make some adjustments and quick improvements. Amerson needs a good game against Matthews to be a first-rounder.
I like Mahomes but definitely not round 1 and especially not the Bills. The Bills will probably be drafting QB day 2 or 4th round. Cardale is a long way off. Tyrod is the starter for 2017 and probably 2018. They have two years max with Shady and Watkins.
I messed up the 2nd round order, so I'm gonna try this again. Same deal as last time, no trades this time around like I did in my first mock even though projecting them can be fun. I'll do another one in about a month or so after the Super Bowl, Senior Bowl, combine and all that other good stuff.