West Virginia vs. Syracuse: Top NFL Prospects to Watch in New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Austin GreenCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 03:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers carries the ball against the TCU Horned Frogs during the game on November 3, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pro scouts will be tuned in to the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, as both West Virginia and Syracuse feature multiple NFL prospects.

From elite signal-callers, to explosive wide receivers, to bone-crunching defenders, there will be plenty of future professionals on the field this Saturday. Be sure to focus on the following three, as each player will be showcasing their skills on Sundays next season.


Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Smith could potentially be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. The 6'3" senior has every tool an NFL QB needs: arm strength, accuracy, athleticism and mental toughness.

He led the country with 40 touchdown passes this season, while finishing fifth in yards (4,004) and second in completion percentage (72.1). He also added two touchdowns on the ground and tossed just six interceptions.

Smith threw for over 400 yards three times this year, and he had five games with four or more touchdown passes. His draft stock will be affected by his pro day and combine workouts, but he will surely want to impress scouts in his last college game.


Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

While Smith is the headliner, Syracuse has a pretty good quarterback of their own.

Nassib has been excellent in his senior season, racking up 3,619 yards and 24 touchdowns. Like Smith, he has also taken care of the ball, throwing just nine interceptions on the year. He's also completed 63.2 percent of his passes while leading the Orange to a 7-5 record (5-2 in Big East).

The 6'2" senior is widely projected as a second-round pick right now. With a strong performance on Saturday, as well as impressive workouts, Nassib can climb into late-first round territory.


Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

Geno Smith's favorite target is also a quality NFL prospect.

He's a little small at 5'11", 193 pounds, but Bailey has great speed and ball skills. This season, he finished fourth in the nation in catches (106), third in receiving yards (1,501) and first in receiving touchdowns (23).

Although the redshirt junior could return next season, he has already opted to go pro, according to Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgerson (h/t Mike Casazza, Charleston Daily Mail).

Right now, CBS Sports lists Bailey as a third- or fourth-round pick. Don't be surprised if his stock rises in the coming months, though. Bailey is the real deal, and he will look to prove he can step up on the big stage this Saturday.