BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: NFL-Ready Players Who'll Use Big Stage to Improve Stock

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 15:    Dee Milliner #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

As college football's elite players gear up for April's NFL draft, there's no doubt that a big performance on the BCS stage can do wonders to players' draft stock. These studs will use a big bowl game to further prove their worth.

It's no surprise that this year's BCS bowl games are absolutely loaded with NFL-ready players, but it may surprise you which will boost their stocks even further in their final games as college football players.

Let's take a look at who will excel on the big stage and grab the attention of NFL scouts across the nation.

Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State

Perhaps the most integral part of Florida State's suffocating 2012 defense is Bjoern Werner, pass-rush artist and perennial quarterback tormenter. 

Werner used an incredible junior season to notch 13 sacks and garner ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors (per Orlando Sentinel). Despite having an opportunity to stay for his senior season, he's almost certain to bolt early as CBS Sports has him drafted in the top 10 overall. 

The native of Germany has all the vitals to be an elite NFL pass-rusher. He draws not only physical similarities to J.J. Watt, but background ones as well as he's only in his fifth season of playing organized football.

Werner is still developing, which is a scary thought considering he's already among the most skilled defensive ends in college football. Against the MAC's Northern Illinois, Werner will thrive as a team unready for the big stage struggles to contain him. 

Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Over his illustrious collegiate career, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has garnered everything from freshman All-American honors to Heisman Trophy finalist honors. He's even ranked as the fifth overall pick by CBS Sports.

Perhaps the only thing still missing from his résumé is the domination of a SEC dynasty and a national championship. 

Te'o has the opportunity to put the icing on the cake of one of the best defensive college football careers in history against a hit-or-miss Alabama offense. Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron has the tools around him, but the Irish have seen and shut down more dangerous offenses even this season.

If a 100-plus-tackle season isn't enough to put Te'o in the top five of the draft, a dominating performance against Alabama and the exclamation point on a national championship season will be.

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

If you feel like a stud Alabama defensive back comes out of the college ranks every season, you aren't alone. Let me introduce you to this year's version—Dee Milliner. 

The Crimson Tide's defense is so traditionally deep that 2012 was Milliner's first full season as a starter, but his ability to excel despite not having his own starting spot in previous seasons made him highly touted heading into the season. He didn't disappoint, finishing third in the nation with 18 passes defended.

Milliner's intangibles, experience and 6'1", 198-pound frame make him the fourth overall prospect in the 2013 class, according to CBS Sports

Alabama certainly has their work cut out for them against Notre Dame, but they won't give up any big pass plays and much of that is a tribute to Milliner's shutdown style.

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