Texas A&M vs. Missouri: Power Ranking 5 Best Draft-Eligible Players in the Game
The Texas A&M football team will travel to Columbia, Missouri on Saturday to take on the Missouri Tigers in a game that will help decide the SEC East. The contest will feature multiple NFL prospects on both teams.
Missouri is currently 10-1 and ranked No. 5 in the latest AP Poll. If they beat the Aggies on Saturday, then they will finish the season 7-1 in the SEC and will represent the East division in the SEC title game.
The Aggies are 8-3 with a 4-3 conference record. They are playing to improve their position in the bowl pecking order. The Aggies are ranked No. 19 in the latest AP Poll.
If the Aggies beat Missouri, they will likely go to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida. If they lose, their likely destination will be the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
This is a look at the top five NFL prospects in the game between Texas A&M and Missouri.
5. L'Damian Washington WR Missouri
L'Damian Washington is a 6'4", 205-pound wide receiver from Shreveport. He has been a big-play threat for Missouri this season.
Washington has caught 38 passes for 727 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. He has excellent speed and is averaging 19.1 yards per reception.
Washington has had a breakout senior season after registering 50 receptions for 842 yards and five touchdowns during the first three years of his career. He has the size and speed that pro scouts are looking for.
The NFL Combine will tell the story for Washington. The knock on Washington is that he is not a great route runner. He has great straight-line speed but is not a fluid athlete.
If he can show the scouts that he is a fluid athlete who has developed into more of a receiver, then he could move up into the top four rounds. Right now, he is viewed as a sixth or seventh round draft pick.
4. Michael Sam DE Missouri
Michael Sam is a 6'2", 255-pound defensive end for the Missouri Tigers. He developed into one of the best pass-rushing defensive linemen in the nation as a senior.
Sam has registered 37 tackles with 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2013. He entered the 2013 season with 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks for his career.
The NFL covets pass-rushers just as much as they covet left tackles and quarterbacks. When you show a propensity to get to the quarterback, you will catch the attention of NFL scouts.
Sam is projected to be selected in the second or third round of the 2014 draft. He could improve his draft stock with a good showing against Jake Matthews and the Aggies' offensive line on Saturday.
3. Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel is a 6'0', 210-pound quarterback for Texas A&M. He is the most explosive offensive player in college football.
The biggest knock on Manziel is his size. The prototype NFL quarterback is 6'4" or taller. Manziel's lack of height is going to hurt him on draft boards.
The recent success of Russell Wilson, Case Keenum and Drew Brees will help Manziel in this area, but there are some scouts who will downgrade him because of his lack of size.
Manziel has completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,537 yards with 32 touchdowns in 2013. He has also rushed for 665 yards and eight touchdowns.
Manziel has shown a propensity to force the ball when in the red zone in 2013. That has led to a lot of untimely interceptions.
Manziel looks like a second or third round pick right now. He has struggled for consecutive seasons against the speed of the LSU defense. If LSU's speed will give him trouble, then how will he do against NFL defenses?
With a great bowl performance he could move back into the first round, but right now he cannot be ranked that high.
2. Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
Mike Evans is a 6'5", 225-pound receiver for Texas A&M. He is the best receiver in college football right now.
Evans has caught 61 passes for 1,314 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013. His size makes him impossible for college defensive back to cover.
The 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine will determine Evans' draft position. If he runs below a 4.5 then he should push himself into the top 10 picks of the draft.
If he runs a 4.5 or 4.6, then he will still be a first-round selection, but it will be the bottom half of the first round.
1. Jake Matthews LT Texas A&M
Jake Matthews is a 6'5", 305-pound senior left tackle for Texas A&M. He was an All-American at right tackle in 2012 and flipped over to the left side for the 2013 season.
Matthews is arguably the best left tackle in college football. The left tackle is coveted in professional football because teams are always looking a player to protect the blind-side of the quarterback.
Matthews has ideal size for the left tackle position. He has quick feet and is an excellent tactician.
Matthews comes from a great lineage of football players. His father, Bruce Matthews, was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman in the NFL.
Matthews' brother Kevin Matthews played center for three years with the Tennessee Titans. His cousin Clay Matthews is a star outside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
Matthews projects to be a top 10 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.