BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: Players Who Will Boost NFL Draft Stock on Big Stage
BCS bowls aren't just a time for teams to earn bragging rights; they're also a time for some individual players to impress NFL scouts one last time.
One huge performance could drastically change a player's grade. Because this is the last chance to players who plan on entering the 2013 NFL draft to prove themselves in game action, these games become an even bigger deal to them.
All eyes will be on these five games more so than the other bowl matchups. A larger spotlight will be placed on the production of the players involved, and that can be a good or a bad thing.
Let's take a look at three players who will improve their draft stock on the big stage.
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Jordan is going to go in the first round either way, but a huge performance versus Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl could land him in the top 15 or even top 10.
At 6'7'', 241 pounds, Jordan is the ideal size of an NFL defensive end. He's long, quick and has more power than most lineman seem to expect when he gets off the ball. He's not a bull-rushing power rusher, but he's capable of fighting through.
Jordan had 10.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks this season because teams in the Pac-12 knew to game plan for him. Kansas State will know the same thing, but he's going to be the best pass rusher they've seen all season long.
Freak athletes like Jordan have a tendency to climb draft boards, and he can continue that trend with a big performance against the Wildcats.
Expect him to deliver in run support and by sacking Collin Klein a few times as well.
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Brown is the emotional and physical leader of Kansas State's defense. He doesn't do anything flashy, but he's fast and he understands how to tackle in space.
He may not be the biggest linebacker, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Because he has flawless instincts and understands how to diagnose plays, Brown is still a very capable player in the trenches.
Smallish linebackers have succeeded in the NFL. Look at Lavonte David last season. He was undersized, but he's enjoyed a very successful season in Tampa Bay.
Look for Brown to be very active against Oregon's dynamic run game. He has the speed to chase down ball-carriers, and he's smart enough to stay in his lane and let players come to him.
Right now, Brown is probably a second- or third-round pick. A huge Fiesta Bowl could land him on the fringe of the first and second round.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Taylor isn't flashy, but he's been nothing but productive for Stanford throughout his career.
Expect more of the same versus Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers boast a rugged run defense, but Taylor and the Cardinal offensive line will be too much to handle.
Taylor has over 4,200 yards and 39 touchdowns in his college career, including 1,442 and 12 touchdowns this season. He's a smart, instinctual runner who carves out space between the tackles with ease, but he can break to the outside if you give him room.
He just seems like a guy who is going to make someone very happy at the next level.
He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he's tough. Both of those things bode well for his NFL future as well.
No one will mistake Taylor for Trent Richardson as a rookie, but he could make a case for himself as one of the top running backs available with a huge performance versus the Badgers.
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