2013 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps
Post-New Year’s Bowls

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2014 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2014 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Florida State 34, Auburn 31
There was a ton of pro talent on display in the BCS National Championship. The top two draft-eligible players were the starting left tackles. Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Florida State’s Cameron Erving have had superb seasons as pass protectors and run blockers. Both of them are big, quick and athletic specimens. Each one drew a tough challenge.

At times, Erving was going against Auburn defensive end/outside linebacker Dee Ford, a potential mid-round pick who will be playing in the Senior Bowl. Erving did a nice job of negating Ford’s speed rush on a long third-down completion. Ford was then unblocked off the right side and broke down to sack Jameis Winston in the open field. It was an impressive play that showed nice agility for a potential 3-4 outside linebacker.

Erving was strong in his blocking, but did have a false start. Ford was able to come up with a clutch sack on a third down on the other side. Ford used a nice inside rush and a rip move to keep the right tackle from getting a hold of him. Ford was beating the right tackle and giving him lots of problems. Both Erving and Ford helped themselves against Florida State.

Robinson, meanwhile, was impressive aside from one play where he was pummeled into the ground game. He came back to make a huge block in space as he got in front to blast a defender on a screen pass to Tre Mason. Mason jetted ahead for Auburn’s first touchdown at the end of the first quarter.

Robinson was called for a holding call in the third quarter going against Mario Edwards Jr., and that took away a long completion inside the Seminoles’ 20. It was a questionable call, but it helped lead to a punt. Overall, Robinson was impressive against Florida State. He got a push in the ground game and was solid in pass protection. This tape will help Robinson’s draft stock. Walt has him going No. 12 overall in his 2014 NFL Mock Draft.

Alabama junior running back Tre Mason had huge performances against Alabama and Missouri to help push the Tigers into the National Championship. He almost did it again to get Auburn a title. Mason’s first carry went for about 15 yards to set the tone for a good first half for the Auburn defense. Mason fought for some tough yards all night. He had a 23-yard run, but the Seminoles kept Mason from getting to the second level on most runs.

That changed with only 90 seconds left in the game. He got to the second level and bounced off a safety to spring downfield for a 37-yard touchdown. Mason finished with 195 yards on 34 carries and that score. Mason could be a second-day selection if enters the 2014 draft.

One player who was very impressive was Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. He repeatedly stuffed interior runs from Auburn’s rushing attack. Jernigan held his ground to swallow up a run for no gain in the third quarter. Shortly later, Jernigan stood up a running back two yards behind the line for a tackle for a loss.

However, Jernigan was winded in the fourth quarter and had to check out on a field goal drive. He also went down injured on the next possession. Overall, Jernigan had an impressive performance that will help his draft grade. He looks like a first-round pick if he enters the 2014 NFL Draft.

Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was on fire late in the season, but didn’t have a big presence in the title game. In the first half, Benjamin was shut out. Benjamin then had a false start and didn’t record his first reception until he made a short catch in the third quarter. Shortly later, Benjamin made a nice reception for a 24-yard gain, but he had a good gain wasted as he dropped an easy catch.

Benjamin rebounded late when he made a leaping catch to move the ball to the 11-yard line for a gain of about 20 yards. That set up a touchdown on the next play for Florida State. Benjamin skied high above Chris Davis to make the game-winning touchdown catch. He finished with four receptions for 54 yards. Benjamin should be a first-round pick if he enters the draft.

Davis was the hero against Alabama, but he had some bad mistakes that cost the Tigers. It started well as the senior had a big pass broken up on a third down. Davis missed a tackle on a 49-yard reception. On third-and-8 with only 20 second left in the game, Davis was flagged for a pass interference to move the ball to the 2-yard line. Davis was then beat by Benjamin for the game-winning touchdown. This performance showed why Davis is a third-day pick rather than a top-100 prospect.

Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
The Orange Bowl featured a great draft matchup, with prospects on Clemson’s offensive stars going out in style. Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins can put up points in a hurry, and trying to limit them was linebacker Ryan Shazier. Watkins is in the running to be a top 10 pick and the first wide receiver selected next May. He illustrated why he should be the first wideout selected with a dominant performance.

On the first drive facing a third-and-2, Boyd took off on a read option straight up the middle for a 49-yard touchdown run. Boyd showed nice patience to wait for the hole to open and exploded downfield. Watkins’ first reception went for 27 yards on a quick swing pass that Watkins broke down the field. A few plays later, Boyd threw a perfect strike 34 yards down the field to hit Watkins in stride running into the end zone.

Following an intentional grounding, Boyd hung tough with blitzers bearing down on him. He fired a frozen rope in the second quarter to hit a receiver in stride along the sideline for a 43-yard gain. Boyd then had a bad mistake inside the 10-yard line when rolled to his left and tried to get cute by flipping the ball over a defender to Watkins. The defender made a leaping interception. It was a terrible decision by Boyd anyway, as there were multiple defenders encircling Watkins.

Watkins had a ridiculous run in the open field as he broke the ankles of a few defenders to rip off a run of 29 yards. Shazier had a few missed tackles on Watkins, although that is hard to criticize him, as Watkins is a tremendous athlete.

Boyd burned a corner blitz with a great read to quickly throw to the vacated receiver for a big gain on a third-and-long. Boyd then escaped pressure to run up the middle for about 20 yards. He threw a fade to Martavius Bryant for a three-yard touchdown.

Watkins powered through Shazier for about five yards in an impressive display of power by Watkins, and the lack thereof by Shazier. A minute later, Boyd rolled to his left and lofted a beauty to the end zone. Watkins skied over a defender for a 30-yard touchdown catch. It was a great throw by Boyd with Shazier bearing down on him, and Watkins made a tremendous catch.

Boyd threw another fade pass touchdown to Bryant. Midway through the fourth, Boyd had a 14-yard run to the two-yard line, and on third-and-goal, he sold a play-fake to throw back to the other side of the field for an easy score.

Boyd made another a critical mistake late in regulation to get Ohio State back in the game. With 90 seconds remaining, Boyd had a ball overthrown in the middle of the field on a slant, and it was picked off by C.J. Barnett. It was a poor throw that set up the Buckeyes at midfield down by five. Fortunately for Boyd, his defense came through and took the ball back with an interception.

Boyd finished 31-of-40 passes for 378 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 127 yards on 20 carries with a score. He played a very good game showing a strong arm, intelligence, field vision, mobility and toughness. His two interceptions were his only blemishes. This performance will help Boyd’s draft grade.

Clearly, Watkins was phenomenal. He totaled 16 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He has elite speed with an explosive first step that looks similar to Percy Harvin. Watkins also has good hands and can play big when he needs to. Watkins showed that he is a top-10 talent. I have him going fourth overall in my mock.

On the other side of the ball, Clemson had another first-round prospect on display. Defensive end Vic Beasley ate up Ohio State left tackle Jake Mewhort all night. Mewhort was clearly overmatched by Beasley’s speed and explosiveness off the snap.

Beasley had a good speed rush around Jake Mewhort on a third down in the opening quarter. After Braxton Miller scrambled, Beasley chased him down with a second effort to get a sack for a loss of 17 yards. However, Beasley blew it by doing a throat slash gesture and getting a penalty to give Ohio State a first down.

On an inside rush, Beasley beat Mewhort but Miller was able to dodge Beasley to avoid the sack. Beasley then came off the edge to get a tackle or a loss on Miller on a third-and-short. After that, Beasley got up to block a pass. He drew a holding call on Mewhort with a dip of his hips on a speed rush; without the hold Beasley would have had a sack, but his pressure caused a bad throw that was intercepted.

This tape will help Beasley to be a first-round pick, while Mewhort hurt himself with this performance. Beasley looks like a good fit in a Von Miller role in the NFL, while Mewhort will have to move to right tackle or guard.

The final prospect worth mentioning is Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. Clemson was selling out to stop the power back in the first half. Hyde couldn’t find good running lanes or get to the second level of the defense. However, he had a run of 31 yards where he broke a few tackles to get to the goal line in the third quarter. The power back dived over the top on the next snap for a touchdown.

Hyde showed a rare glimpse of receiving ability when he got open along the sideline on a wheel route to move the ball inside the 20-yard line with a gain of 25. A few plays later, Ohio State went back to that, as Hyde got wide open in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown catch. Hyde faked taking a handoff and snuck out of the backfield on a wheel. Hyde finished with 113 yards on 25 carries with two receptions for 39 yards. This was a quality performance by Hyde that could help him by showing he has some receiving skills to work with. Hyde looks like a Day 2 talent.

Ohio State junior cornerback Bradley Roby was out with a knee injury. He already declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, and he hasn’t played a receiver of Watkins’ caliber this season. Roby was torched often in 2013, so it was probably a good thing for his draft stock that he didn’t go against Watkins.

Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31
The Cotton Bowl featured good NFL talent with an excellent draft matchup. Oklahoma State senior Justin Gilbert is the top-rated corner for the 2014 NFL Draft, and he had the challenge of going against some talented young receivers on Missouri including the massive sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham.

On the first drive, Gilbert caught a deflected pass off Green-Beckham for his seventh interception of the season. Gilbert was in man coverage but had safety help underneath that helped cause the deflection and Gilbert finished it by catching the tip.

Gilbert had blanket coverage on Green-Beckham on two first-quarter passes deep downfield. Gilbert also had a physical tackle in zone. He had tight coverage on Green-Beckham to force an incompletion on a third down as well.

Gilbert did a good job of defending Green-Beckham all night. The 6-foot-6 Beckham had a size advantage over the 6-foot Gilbert, but Gilbert defended the big wide out extremely well. He did well in press-man, off-man and zone coverage. He showed nice agility to flip his hips and run when in off-man coverage. This performance will only serve to confirm a first-round grade for Gilbert.

Missouri has some early-round prospects on its defense as well. Defensive ends Michael Sam and Kony Ealy have enjoyed huge seasons to lead the Tiger defense. Both made big plays to help Missouri get the win in the Cotton Bowl, but Ealy was the defender who helped himself the most.

Early on, Ealy had a pressure to help cause an interception. Ealy then came close to a strip sack from the blind side, but Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf got the pass off.

Ealy beat the left tackle with an inside rush to get a sack of Chelf in the second quarter. A couple plays later, Ealy beat the left tackle with a speed rush and a bit of a rip move to shed the block on the outside before chasing down Chelf for another sack.

Sam was non-existent all game until crunch time. In the final minute with Missouri protecting a tight lead and the Cowboys in Tiger territory, Sam burned the right tackle with a speed rush to get a strip-sack of Chelf. A teammate scooped up the ball and took it to the house to ice the game away for Missouri.

Ealy definitely helped his draft stock. He was tough at the point of attack on run downs and showed his pass-rushing prowess off the edge. He could be a first-round pick in 2014 or 2015. Walt just updated his 2015 NFL Mock Draft and has Ealy going No. 3 overall.

Sam’s game was neutral overall. He had a huge strip-sack to end it, but for the other 59 minutes he was a non-factor. Sam looks like a potential second-day selection and an outside linebacker in the NFL.

The final prospect worth mentioning is Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines. He’s had a strong 2013 season and has really played well down the stretch. Gaines was in zone coverage in the first quarter and had a pass thrown right to him. It was an easy interception for Gaines. Shortly later, he allowed separation on a deep out for a completion, but he came back to make a hard tackle in the open field.

Gaines came close to a diving interception and made a good tackle to snuff out a wide receiver screen. At the end of the third quarter, Gaines was burned on a slant route for a touchdown. Aside from that one play, Gaines played well overall. He may not have the skill set to be a first-rounder but he could be a solid selection on Day 2. Gaines needs a big All Star game and Combine to crack Thursday night.

Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31
The Sugar Bowl featured top-shelf NFL talent as usual, but two high-profile Alabama prospects hurt their draft grades against Oklahoma. Alabama senior quarterback A.J. McCarron and junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio both did damage to their stock, with the latter hurting himself the most.

Kouandjio and the Alabama offensive line struggled with the speed of Oklahoma’s defense. With the Sooners offense providing a lead throughout the night, Alabama had to pass the ball more than they like to, and that put them in some obvious situations for Oklahoma to go after McCarron.

Kouandjio was beaten early by Eric Striker on a speed rush, and Striker almost sacked McCarron. That set the tone for the night, as it got much worse for Kouandjio. Striker burned Kouandjio right before halftime with a speed rush around the corner to get a sack. Kouandjio, however, got some revenge on the next snap as he pushed Striker to the outside and planted him into the turf.

Striker would win the rest of the night. His threat caused Kouandjio to false start, and late in the fourth quarter with only a minute remaining and Alabama down by a touchdown, Striker beat Kouandjio with a speed rush to get a strip-sack of McCarron. Oklahoma recovered the fumble and returned it for a touchdown to give Alabama its second-straight loss.

Kouandjio has a good athletic skill set, but he was slow to get depth in his pass drop to handle Striker’s speed. It makes one wonder what a rusher like Von Miller would do to him.

Kouandjio blocked well in the run game, but his struggles against Striker illustrate that Kouandjio may not be ready to go against elite NFL pass rushers in one-on-one situations. Kouandjio had a rocky start to the season before playing well in the second half of the year. He was said to be 50-50 about returning to school, and this performance could prompt him to go back to Alabama. This tape definitely hurts Kouandjio’s draft grade.

McCarron has never seen this much pass rush over the past three seasons and he showed that inexperience in his play, as Oklahoma was able to rattle the senior quarterback. Early in the first quarter McCarron was set up after an interception by Landon Collins. McCarron forced a pass into triple coverage and it was intercepted by the deep safety. It was a terrible decision and a poorly placed ball.

McCarron came back to throw a nice back-shoulder catch to his receiver about 15 yards downfield. The wideout broke it down the field for a 63-yard gain. On third-and-goal, McCarron had a receiver open running to the back corner, but sailed his throw out of bounds.

The highlight of his night came when McCarron laid out a bomb for a 67-yard touchdown. The ball was thrown a little late, but it was good enough to get the score. Unfortunately, McCarron then panicked with a free blitzer coming and threw off the mark to a well-covered receiver. Zach Sanchez easily jumped the route and brought the ball back inside the Alabama 20-yard line.

In the second half, McCarron contributed to some scoring drives, but also had the critical fumble to end any comeback attempt for Alabama.

McCarron finished 19-of-30 for 387 yards with two scores and the two interceptions. He was rattled by the pass rush and had some missed throws to go along with some uncharacteristic bad decisions. This performance illustrated why McCarron is a Day 2 pick rather than a first-rounder. He turned down playing at the Senior Bowl, so this was the last time he’ll suit up against a defense before May’s draft. This won’t leave a good taste in the mouth of scouts.

Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety HaHa Clinton-Dix had active nights. The Crimson Tide defense struggled against Oklahoma, but it wasn’t because of missed plays by Mosley or Clinton-Dix.

Mosley came on an improvised blitz to get a hit on the quarterback after reading the offense and seeing that it was an obvious pass and there wasn’t a blocker to pick him up. In the third quarter, Mosley made an impressive play where he flew from the middle of the field to tackle the running back for a loss on a dump off pass in the flat. Mosley put together a nice tackle total and generally played a sound game in his collegiate finale.

Meanwhile, Clinton-Dix was in man coverage on the slot receiver Jalen Saunders. Saunders ran an out route in the first quarter, and he made a touch catch for a touchdown. Clinton-Dix had tight coverage and almost slapped the ball away, but it was just a great throw and great catch by Saunders. Clinton-Dix came back to fire into the backfield on an option run and make tackle for a loss of four yards. Clinton-Dix was then able to get in on two tackles for a loss on a stretch play in the fourth quarter.

Clinton-Dix is a smart defender with a good skill set. He looks like a safe bet to be the first safety selected if he enters the draft. I have him going No. 13 overall in my mock.

Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin had a solid senior season despite playing with injuries. Colvin came across the field to tackle a receiver at the 10-yard line to end a 63-yard play. That turned out to be a clutch tackle as Alabama had to settle for a field goal. Colvin was reliable in coverage throughout the night, and Alabama threw at other defensive backs more often. However, sources have said they believe that Colvin will go on the third day of the draft.

Central Florida 52, Baylor 42
One of the late-risers during the 2013 season was Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. The junior led the Knights to a huge season and is an interesting prospect for the NFL.

Bortles got the Fiesta Bowl started with a 29-yard run on a zone-read play. That helped set up a rushing touchdown for Storm Johnson. On his second possession, Bortles was under pressure and lofted in a perfect deep ball to his receiver along the sideline. It was an NFL throw by the junior signal-caller.

Bortles had an almost interception dropped on a screen pass that he should have thrown away. In the second quarter, Bortles threw a rope into a tight window for a good completion, but on the next throw, he didn’t see a wide open receiver and overthrew a deep ball in the middle of the field to a well-covered wide out. That pass was intercepted by Baylor. Shortly later, Bortles was under pressure and threw a dumb pass right to a Bears’ defender for an interception at the line of scrimmage.

Bortles bounced back with a a bubble screen to receiver Rannell Hall, who took off on a 50-yard run for a touchdown. Bortles’ next touchdown was very similar as he threw a short dump-off and Hall ran down the field for a 34-yard score.

In the third quarter, Bortles had a nice play where he slipped, but reset his feet and stepped up to deliver a downfield pass for a gain of almost 40 yards. A few plays later, Bortles rolled to his right and hit an out route on the run for a 10-yard touchdown. Bortles took a designed run up the middle of the Baylor defense early in the fourth quarter for a 10-yard touchdown run.

Against Baylor, Bortles completed 20-of-31 passes for 301 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He ran for 93 yards and the score on eight carries, too.

Bortles will have an interesting decision to make. Sources have said that Bortles is grading out as a late-first or early second-round pick, but could go higher to a quarterback-needy team. He has a good skill set with an arm, size and mobility. Still, Bortles needs to further develop his passing ability. He needs to improve his feet, accuracy and field vision. Bortles isn’t a finished project and needs to get better. As a player, he would be better off returning to college to improve his game, but from a business perspective, the time could be right for him to come out.

The Bears’ offense was led by quarterback Bryce Petty and a good running game. Junior tailback Lache Seastrunk started the season red hot before his second half of the year was derailed by injuries. Senior guard Cyril Richardson put together a good career and is one of the top guard prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Early in this contest, Seastrunk had an impressive carry where he broke a few arm tackles as he bounced a run to the outside and burst down the sideline for a run of about 20 yards. Later, Richardson pulled around and opened a hole for Seastrunk to get to the second level. Seastrunk made a few defenders miss in the open field to get a 29-yard gain. He opened the third quarter by running the ball well and had a nice run of 19 yards up the middle.

Against Central Florida, Seastrunk ran for 117 yards on 17 carries; Baylor should have gotten him more touches. Richardson and Seastrunk both had good performances. Seastrunk showed the speed, elusiveness and strength to be a potential starter in the NFL. Sources have told WalterFootball.com they believe Seastrunk will enter the 2014 NFLraft and he looks like a second-day pick. Richardson could go in the top 50 next May and start quickly in the NFL.

The final prospect worth mentioning is Bears senior wide out Tevin Reese. He missed the final five games of the regular season, but was able to come back for the Fiesta Bowl. Reese got his day started with a 22-yard catch on a slant. Later in the second quarter, he had a deep ball hit him in the hands, but he dropped the pass after getting hit by a defender. Reese should have held onto the ball. He finished with 43 yards on five catches. The speedster looks like a third-day pick, but at least, he enters the offseason healthy.

Michigan State 24, Stanford 20
There was a ton of pro talent on display in the Rose Bowl. Both teams feature tough defenses that have players who will be starters on Sundays. Unfortunately, three of those defenders didn’t have as prominent of games as they did on most Saturdays this season. Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy, Stanford inside linebacker Shayne Skov and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard have all had good senior seasons to improve their draft stock.

In the early going, Murphy had an impressive tackle for a loss in the first quarter as he shoved the left tackle away and wrestled down the back for a loss on a third-and-short carry. After being quiet for quite a while, Murphy made an impact play. He beat the left tackle with a speed shed. He pushed the running back away and sacked Connor Cook. Aside from those plays, however, Murphy didn’t have a huge impact. This tape won’t significantly help or hurt Murphy’s bid to be a Thursday night selection.

Skov was a quality run defender as usual for Stanford. He also busted up a wide receiver screen to start a tackle for a loss. However, Skov had a mental mistake in the third quarter as he jumped offsides on a third-and-1. Skov made a nice tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter as he timed a snap and fired into the backfield. Skov looks like a third-rounder.

Dennard could be on the bubble of the first and second round. He had a mixed outing against Stanford. After taking a bad angle, Dennard chased down Tyler Gaffney to end a long run. Ty Montgomery got separation from Dennard on an out route to move the chains. Dennard then blew up a run on the perimeter and started a tackle for a loss.

Dennard was beaten by a receiver in the fourth quarter and had to hold him to prevent a long completion for a touchdown. That drew a flag. Otherwise, Dennard had good coverage, and Stanford generally avoided throwing his direction. This should be a neutral performance for Dennard.

Lastly, Stanford senior guard David Yankey gave evidence of why he is a second-round pick and not a first-rounder. Yankey didn’t perform poorly, but there were plenty of run plays where he didn’t get much of a push. He needs to perform better at the Senior Bowl.

LSU 21, Iowa 14
LSU once again figures to send a lot of talent to the NFL. Unfortunately, two of the Tigers’ good prospects were out of the Outback Bowl due to health reasons. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger tore an ACL in November and defensive tackle Ego Ferguson was out of the game with an undisclosed issue. Ferguson would be an early-round pick if he enters the draft, while Mettenberger looks like a Day 2 pick despite the ACL injury.

Without Mettenberger, LSU couldn’t get the ball to wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Both are future NFL receivers. Landry had two catches for 21 yards while Beckham had two for 35 yards.

Beckham got open for a touchdown on a deep post, but the ball was overthrown. Beckham then made an amazing one-handed catch on a pass along the sideline. He cupped the ball into his body and then palmed it as he stumbled for a few yards before falling out of bounds for a 29-yard gain. Because the freshman quarterback struggled to complete passes, this game doesn’t yield significant deductions regarding the Tiger wide outs.

Without Ferguson, LSU needed junior defensive tackle Anthony Johnson to step up. Johnson has a great skill set with size, speed and strength, but he’s never produced up to his potential. As is typical with Johnson, he flashed at times against Iowa.

Early on, Johnson used a lighting-speed rush to beat the right guard and plant the quarterback. Johnson then fired through the line to get a tackle for a loss. In the fourth quarter, Johnson got good penetration to blow up a fourth-down run for no gain.

Overall, Johnson played better against Iowa than he did in a lot of SEC games this season. If he enters the 2014 NFL Draft, he could go on the second day and should test well at the Combine, but he would be better off returning for his senior year and becoming a more consistent player before entering the NFL.

Another potential second-day selection is LSU senior safety Craig Loston. He was going against a quality tight end prospect in Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, who did a nice job of getting open against the LSU secondary.

Fiedorowicz’s first reception was a nice gain of 22 on a crossing route. He made a nice adjustment to the pass behind him. Fiedorowicz caught four receptions for 46 yards, and this was a solid tape for him.

In the fourth quarter, Loston was late coming over to cover a tight end who got open for a 35-yard gain. Shortly later, Loston came back to get an interception on a fourth down pass in LSU territory. It was a huge play that basically finished off Iowa. Loston should hold steady on Day 2.

South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
Jadeveon Clowney was playing in his final collegiate game against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. Since his debut as a freshman in 2011, Clowney has been in the running to be the No.1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. While he hasn’t had a big 2013 season statistically, he has had a huge impact on game plans and blocking schemes. Clowney had the challenge of going against Wisconsin’s power rushing attack.

Throughout the game, the Badgers were running away from Clowney, who was taken for a ride by Melvin Gordon for a few yards on the end of a 10-yard run late in the first quarter. However, Clowney came back to fire around the corner and tackle Gordon for a loss. Later on, Clowney dropped into pass coverage on a goal-line play against a tight end. Clowney held the tight end before the receiver got separation and made a touchdown catch. Clowney was also called for the holding.

On the next possession, Clowney blasted the right guard, and the hard hit popped the guard’s helmet off. Clowney then beat the left tackle with a burst and swim move. He pushed off the left guard and hit Joel Stave to force an incompletion.

In the fourth quarter, Clowney ran through the left tackle and the running back to bat a pass away. He rocked the tackle on his heels with shear power. Again, he got off a block and leapt to block a pass. Clowney had five tackles with a tackle for a loss and two passes batted. With J.J. Watt in attendance to watch his younger brother play for Wisconsin, the elder Watt had to be thinking of what he and Clowney could do together in Houston.

Clowney showed his tremendous combination of size and speed. He gave good effort throughout the game. Wisconsin paid a ton of attention to him and more than any NFL offense could ever get away with. This performance will only serve to confirm Clowney’s high rating.

A player that hurt his cause was South Carolina junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. The Badgers had success running straight at Quarles down the middle of the Gamecocks defense. Quarles was getting owned at the point of attack as both Melvin Gordon and James White ran by Quarles for consistent gains of good yardage. He did have a pressure on a screen pass to help set up an interception, but he was unblocked on the play. This tape will hurt Quarles’ draft grade.

Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis has had an excellent college career and senior season. South Carolina paid Abbrederis a lot of attention and kept him from breaking out. He caught five passes for 35 yards. This game shouldn’t have a real impact on his draft stock.

The final prospect worth mentioning is Badgers’ senior middle linebacker Chris Borland. He had a typical game where he did a good job of defending the inside run and blitzed well. Borland caused a fumble in the fourth quarter on a tackle of a running back.

Borland is a great college linebacker, but at 5-foot-11, 245 pounds, he is a thumper. The NFL has gone away from thumper run defenders and is looking for taller, athletic and rangy inside linebackers who can operate in pass coverage. Borland looks like a mid-rounder who that will be a solid situational player as a pro.

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