Bowl Game Watch List Part 2 – New Years Eve

DeAndre Hopkins – WR Clemson
BOWL: LSU vs Clemson 12/31/12 7:00 PM
Build: 6-2 205 lbs
Early Projection: 2nd Round
Years Started: 2
Patriots Fit: Deion Branch Wideout/Slot
Relevant Stats:

YEAR REC YDS TDS YARDS PER REC YARDS PER GAME
2012 69 1214 16 17.59 101.2

First of all you’ll notice I didn’t mention the name of the bowl game. It might have something to do with it being sponsored by a company of dark age assholes and I don’t care how much they paid for the branding rights to a bold game they won’t get a return on their investment from me. Or whatever.

DeAndre Hopkins is a junior and I have no word on whether or not he’ll declare for the draft. I’m including him at the top of my watch list because his skillset jumps right out at me as one of the most complete WR’s in college football right now, and I don’t know what he could accomplish in his senior year that would boost his draft stock. He might stick around for another year racking up stats with Taj Boyd, but he had 900+ yards as a sophomore, and 16 TDs as a junior. By the numbers alone he looks like a slam dunk 2nd rounder at the worst. At 6-2 205 lbs he has a great build for a fast slippery WR, and his natural ability to extend his arms and make difficult catches separates him from a lot of guys in this draft class. If a 17+ yard per reception average doesn’t do it for you then pop a Zoloft and get it together. This is a special football player.

Andre Ellington – RB Clemson
BOWL: LSU vs Clemson 12/31/12 7:00 PM
Build: 5-10 195 lbs
Early Projection: 3rd Round
Years Started: 3
Patriots Fit: Change of Pace Back
Relevant Stats:

YEAR CAR YDS RUSH TDS
2012 201 1031 8

I know the Pats are relatively stacked at runningback, so I’m going to try and keep my backs to a minimum. But I think if you’re watching bowl games and ignoring Andre Ellington you’re insane. His stats took a minor step back from the 1100+ yard season he had as a junior, so he isn’t a household name. Still this is the guy that I’ve watched anytime I’ve watched Clemson for the past 3 years. Anyone else that caught my eye was an accident. The last time I was this enamored with a RB that was this quietly putting up yards like this was Ben Tate, and he turned out to be pretty goddamn good.

Bennie Logan – DT LSU
BOWL: LSU vs Clemson 12/31/12 7:00 PM
Build: 6-3 295 lbs
Early Projection: Mid-Late 1st Round
Years Started: 2
Patriots Fit: 4-3 DT
Relevant Stats:

YEAR SACK TFL TACKLE
2012 2 5 36

Logan is also a junior but has started both seasons he’s played with LSU. Given that Michael Brockers jumped to the pros with about the same experience level I’m inclined to think Logan might do the same. His stats aren’t amazing, but he’s a big guy who moves very well in space and is known as a guy who can put pressure on the quarterback. For me the jury is still out on Logan, but I think the Patriots could use another high level guy in the interior of the D line to help out Wilfork. You might be able to sell him to Belichick as enough of an avante garde pick only because both LSU’s DE’s are going to be the focal point in terms of LSU’s d-line in this year’s draft class. Keep an eye on #18 here and decide for yourself if he deserves to be in the first round.

Robert Woods – WR USC
BOWL: Hyundai Sun Bowl 12/31/12 2:00 PM
Build: 6-1 190 lbs
Early Projection: 2nd – 3rd Round
Years Started: 3
Patriots Fit: Wideout
Relevant Stats:

YEAR REC YDS TDS YARDS PER REC YARDS PER GAME
2012 73 813 11 11.14 67.8

There’s the usual overflow of talent on the Trojans lineup and all things considered Woods is having a disappointing junior year. A year ago Woods and Marquise Lee were dropping my jaw on a regular basis. This year the Trojan offense has been all over the place and even Matt Barkley, a guy once thought of as a lock for 1st overall in 2013, has struggled after losing his 2 top OTs in the last 2 years. What makes me want to include Woods here is that Marquise Lee (the Trojan’s #1 wideout and consensus top 10 pick) is banged up and might not play. That puts the spotlight on Woods. If he doesn’t take off for the draft this year then fine. Take what you learn from watching him tomorrow, put it on your fridge and come back to it next year. If he does declare this year then he’s going to be a monsterous steal for someone on day 2.

Jordan Matthews – WR Vanderbilt
BOWL: Music City Bowl Vanderbilt v NC State 12/31/12 12:00 PM
Build: 6-1 190 lbs
Early Projection: 2nd – 3rd Round
Years Started: 3
Patriots Fit: Wideout
Relevant Stats:

YEAR REC YDS TDS YARDS PER REC YARDS PER GAME
2012 87 1262 7 14.51 105

He’s Jerry Rice’s second cousin. I’ll throw that out there right now because that’s what this is about. He’s Jerry Rice’s second cousin and that’s enough to give me a case of the giddy blogs. But secondly he’s a big physical wide receiver who can make tough catches and I think he’s going to expose David Amerson bigtime and be known as the guy who killed his draft stock. I’m including Matthews because he’s going to be available late should he declare for the draft this year. He’s going to be a steal. And the Patriots don’t have a physical wideout. They don’t have a wide receiver who can run a crossing route over the middle of the field and out-muscle a safety. He was the star of the Vanderbilt offense, and gave opposing DB’s hell all season. He’s an underrated prospect that I’m very high on.

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