2013 NFL Draft: Prospects from Non-BCS Schools to Watch This Bowl Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27: Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pressured by Ezekiel Ansah #47 of the BYU Cougars at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Non-BCS schools might not feature the same quality football on a weekly basis as the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, etc., but that doesn't mean they don't feature NFL-caliber talent.

Bowl season in addition to the subsequent Senior Bowl and NFL draft combine provide players from lesser-known schools with an opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience.

Joe Flacco might not have had a bowl game while at Delaware to elevate his draft stock, but the Senior Bowl and combine were more than enough to ensure he would be one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

This year might lack that prospect that will single-handedly win his team a bowl game and jump from nationwide anonymity to can't-miss prospect, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tune in.

Here are three players to watch from non-BCS schools this bowl season.


Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The Little Caesars Bowl, which features the 6-6 Central Michigan Chippewas and 7-5 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, is one of the least attractive bowl games this season on paper. But for those true football fans looking for a reason to watch, you won't have to go much further than the Chippewas' offensive line.

Senior tackle Eric Fisher is one of the highest-ranked offensive linemen in the upcoming draft. CBS lists him as the fourth-best offensive tackle and projects him as a first-round pick.

It's not the most attractive position to watch during a game, but with the increasing importance of a passing attack, tackles are becoming more and more important. Should your team draft Fisher, you will know from watching him that your quarterback's blind side will be protected.


Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

The 6'7", 270-pound senior Ezekiel Ansah is an athletic freak. He had originally gone to BYU on a track scholarship. Having become a football player just a few years ago, Ansah has been a quick learner.

His numbers weren't anything special last year, but it's all come together for Ansah in 2012. He has racked up 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. But the numbers alone don't do Ansah justice.

He has a lot of versatility, which is becoming a huge attribute for many defenders. Rushing the passer is becoming the easiest way to stifle passing attacks.

This isn't the case of a player who has had one good year and shows raw potential, only to flame out in the NFL. With the jump that Ansah has made in a few years, it's only logical that he will keep improving.


Brian Winters, OT, Kent State

Junior running back Dri Archer might make all the highlight reels for Kent State, but it's been senior tackle Brian Winters who's been opening up the holes for him.

He isn't quite the pro prospect that Fisher is, but you can count on on Winters getting selected in the first few rounds.

The Golden Flashes have managed to have a steady running game all season. With Winters as the anchor, Kent State averaged 228.3 yards a game, with both Archer and sophomore running back Trayion Durham both eclipsing the century mark.