NFL Draft 2013: Prospects Who Will Shine in BCS Bowls
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If you're a pro football fan looking forward to the 2013 NFL Draft, the BCS bowl games give you five opportunities to witness some of the best prospects in the nation.
The teams in these games are some of the toughest in college football, each touting NFL-ready talents who are looking to showcase their skills one final time before the draft.
These guys are punishing physical presences and game breaking athletes who have been been crushing their competition all season. Expect more of the same on college football's biggest stage.
Let's go through each BCS bowl game and highlight an NFL Draft prospect to watch.
Rose Bowl: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Between his athleticism and his route-running ability, Zach Ertz is the most exciting tight end in the country.
The 6'6", 249-pound junior led Stanford in receiving this season, hauling in 66 passes for 837 yards and six touchdowns. He's a surprisingly adept cutter for his size, allowing him just enough space to maneuver around defenders and work his way open.
Watching him go up for catches like his outstanding touchdown against Oregon, you can see Ertz has the skills to be a red-zone threat at the next level. Look for him to put points on the board for the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl.
Orange Bowl: DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
If you're looking for Bjoern Werner in the Orange Bowl, direct your attention behind Northern Illinois' offensive line.
Werner takes the field with a workman-like attitude and makes life miserable for opposing offensive linemen. He's not a superb pass rusher or run stuffer, but his relentless motor makes him great, allowing Werner to record 40 tackles and 13.0 sacks in his junior year.
He'll make plenty of plays on the first effort, but what's most impressive about Werner is his effort in pursuit. If a Northern Illinois player is scrambling out of the backfield, expect to see Werner hunting him down from behind.
Sugar Bowl: SS Matt Elam, Florida
Matt Elam is one of those guys who just has a nose for the ball.
The strong safety is second on the Gators with 65 tackles, second with 10.0 tackles for loss, third with nine passes defensed and first with four interceptions. He's a fine athlete, but it's Elam's intelligence that makes him great; he has sharper instincts than just about any player in the nation.
Elam is the kind of player you don't even have to try to watch. When he's making plays all over the field, it's impossible to miss him. That style of play is what makes a great safety at the pro level.
Fiesta Bowl: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
There are few more impressive physical specimens than Dion Jordan.
At 6'7", 241 pounds, Jordan still has room on his frame to bulk up, but his athleticism at his size is something to behold. He uses his long arms to help him get around the edge, then showing impressive hustle and explosive finishing ability to take down the ball carrier.
The senior has 29.0 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks in his three years at defensive end, but he was recruited to Oregon as a receiver. This guy is one of the most effective edge linemen in the nation, and he's only still learning to play the position.
BCS National Championship: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide don't get pushed around. That's truer for Chance Warmack than anyone else on the field.
Warmack is the consummate road grader, able to win the physical game with an explosive first step while also showing the intelligence to maintain his technique and angling. At 6'2", 325 pounds, he is shorter and heavier than the prototypical lineman, but he has leveraged that compactness into unmatched strength and still moves as well for a guard.
Offensive line play is not sexy to watch, but Warmack's play is well worth it. As Alabama enjoys clean pockets, big holes and devastating lead blocks, he'll be up front absolutely abusing the Notre Dame defense.
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