The Biggest NFL Draft Winners and Losers from BCS Title Game
The BCS Title Game between Notre Dame and Alabama featured some of the hottest NFL draft prospects in the nation, but there were some clear winners and losers in the contest—and I'm not just talking about the lopsided score.
This contest was the last chance for these players to impress scouts on tape.
Some, like 'Bama running back Eddie Lacy, put forth efforts that will surely vault them up big boards, while others, like Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, did little to impress.
With pro days and the NFL Scouting Combine still to come, not all is lost for those who failed to make a positive impression, but playing your best on a big stage accounts for a lot in the NFL.
Now, on to the NFL draft winners and losers from the 2013 BCS Title Game.
WINNER: Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama
Dee Milliner solidified his status as the No. 1 cornerback of the 2013 draft class with a superb performance in the national championship game.
Milliner locked down Tyler Eifert for most of the first half, negating the Fighting Irish's top offensive weapon. He was unbelievably targeted early and often in this game, and he stood up to the challenge with a sharp performance that kept Notre Dame from getting anything going in the passing game.
And though Davaris Daniels did end up with big numbers at the end of the game, most of his success came in garbage time at the end of the contest well after the game had been decided.
LOSER: Zeke Motta, Safety, Notre Dame
Monday was not kind to Notre Dame defenders.
Zeke Motta put forth a less-than-stellar performance that won't help his draft stock, which was already tenuous as a late second-round pick.
Not only did Motta struggle in run support, but there wasn't anything the Crimson Tide couldn't do against him and his mates in the secondary.
Sure, Motta finished the game with seven solo tackles and nine assists, but almost all were made after Alabama had already broken off huge chunks of yardage.
WINNER: Jesse Williams, Nose Tackle, Alabama
Jesse Williams wasn't flashy on Monday night and he finished the game with only one tackle, but that's not the hallmark of his play.
Williams is a dominant run defender who effectively handles double teams on a regular basis, freeing up his linebackers to make plays in the backfield.
He did a phenomenal job against the Fighting Irish in the BCS Title Game until he was banged up in the fourth quarter, and he'll be a first-round pick for certain after his performance in this game.
LOSER: Bennett Jackson, Cornerback, Notre Dame
A.J. McCarron had a monster game against the Notre Dame secondary and Bennett Jackson was repeatedly abused.
Even before this game, Jackson wasn't likely to be selected until the final day of the draft, but he didn't do himself any favors.
Alabama's wide receivers this season didn't come close to matching the physicality and athleticism of Julio Jones, but they were able to repeatedly get open against Jackson on Monday night.
WINNER: Barrett Jones, Center/Guard, Alabama
Barrett Jones didn't have the same kind of dominant performance like that of his teammate, Chance Warmack, but he did a phenomenal job handling powerhouse Louis Nix in the middle while struggling through his Lisfranc injury (h/t ESPN.com).
You can't coach that kind of toughness, and the way he stood up for himself when quarterback A.J. McCarron jumped all over him in the fourth quarter is just the kind of nasty attitude NFL coaches love to see in an offensive lineman.
Jones is also an extremely diverse lineman who can play all five positions on the line and he will certainly be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft after his strong showing in the championship game.
LOSER: Theo Riddick, Running Back, Notre Dame
Theo Riddick had a prime opportunity to prove his worth on the biggest stage in college football on Monday night, but he never got the chance to make his mark.
Head coach Brian Kelly didn't do his running back any favors, as Riddick only carried the ball 10 times in the contest, rushing for 37 yards on those carries—20 of which came on one carry.
Running backs like Riddick need to be able to get into a rhythm against a tough defense like Alabama, but he never got a chance to make his mark. It's unfortunate, too, because a big game against the Crimson Tide would have boosted his draft stock.
WINNER: Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama
Chance Warmack's draft stock is soaring after his brilliant performance on Monday night against Notre Dame.
Warmack was the tip of the spear for 'Bama's rushing attack, as he consistently made his way into the second level of Notre Dame's defense, sealing off Manti Te'o and the rest of the linebackers for his running backs to have clear paths for huge gains up the middle.
Of all the players in this game, Warmack looked the part of a pro player, and I'll be shocked if he doesn't hear his name called in the first half of Round 1.
LOSER: Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame
This was Tyler Eifert's chance to show up big against the closest thing he'll encounter at the college level to NFL defenses, and his performance on Monday night can only be described as underwhelming.
Eifert rarely broke away from defenders, and he failed to make a single impact play for the Irish. He finished the game with six receptions for 61 yards—pedestrian numbers for a player who is thought of by many to be the best tight end in his draft class.
If Eifert doesn't put up some impressive numbers at the combine, he could see himself sliding out of the first round into the mid-to-late second round.
WINNER: Eddie Lacy, Running Back, Alabama
Eddie Lacy had himself a monster game against one of the most dominant defenses in college football.
He did so by breaking tackles, showing excellent burst and acceleration, awesome power and a fighting spirit that might make him the first running back taken off the board come April.
Lacy finished the game with 140 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, and he pitched in another 17 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.
Of all the players who helped their cause as it pertains to the draft on Monday, Lacy improved his stock the most. He was already an early second-round grade on my board, and I won't be shocked to see him be selected late in the first round after his breakout performance on the biggest stage in college football.
LOSER: Manti Te'o, Middle Linebacker, Notre Dame
Let me get this out of the way first: Manti Te'o is a phenomenal player who won't make it out of the top 20 come April.
That said, Te'o didn't rise to the occasion on Monday night against Alabama. If anything, he had his worst outing of the year, missing multiple tackles, taking poor angles and failing to make any impact plays when his team needed him the most.
Granted, Te'o wasn't alone. The entire Notre Dame defense laid an egg, but it's tough to play well as a unit when your leader struggles like Te'o did against Alabama.
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