Bowl Games 2013-14: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch for Before New Year

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Bowl Games 2013-14: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch for Before New Year
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With the college football bowl season officially underway, there are a number of exciting NFL draft prospects to watch for before the new year begins.

The NFL draft will take place from May 8-10 this year, and the NFL combine in Indianapolis will start on February 18.  With six bowl games already over with, we've seen the likes of Derek Carr, Brandin Cooks and Khalil Mack already play, but we are bound to see a lot more draft prospects over the next few weeks.

Below is a look at a few key NFL prospects to watch for before the 2014 calendar year, breaking them down and projecting where they could be drafted in May.

 

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

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The two exciting tight ends who could be entering the NFL draft this year are Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech and Eric Ebron out of North Carolina.  According to Dan Greenspan from NFL.com, Amaro still hasn't made a decision about his future, which could potentially make Ebron the top tight end in the 2014 draft class.

It's been a productive season for Ebron, as he's caught 55 passes for 895 yards and three touchdowns, averaging an impressive 16.3 yards per reception.  Over his college career, he's caught 105 passes for 1,727 yards and eight scores.  

While those aren't the huge numbers that a guy like Jimmy Graham puts up, keep in mind that the Tar Heels average just 286.3 passing yards per game and have used two different quarterbacks this season.

At 6'4'' and 245 pounds, Ebron uses his size well to adjust to the ball and make difficult catches.  He's a gifted athlete who can also play on the outside and uses impressive footwork to make tough catches.  With his bigger frame, Ebron can also finish through defenders and pick up yards after the catch.

While he doesn't have the most reliable hands, Ebron has the potential to be the next great pass-catching tight end in the NFL, and that's why some team will likely take a chance on him in the first round.

 

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College

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A few running backs have burst onto the scene this season, but none of them have been as productive on the field as Boston College's Andre Williams.

Williams led the nation in rushing by more than 200 yards this year.  He finished with 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year, averaging a very impressive 6.4 yards per carry.  Williams also finished fourth in the Heisman voting while winning the Doak Walker Award and being named a unanimous All-American.

What makes Williams such an interesting prospect is that he's a bigger running back at 6'0'' and 227 pounds and he uses that size to pick up yards after contact.  While he isn't the fastest back and it takes him a while to get going, Williams is still able to pick up plenty of yards due to the fact that he stays down low and keeps his legs moving.

With so many talented running backs potentially coming out after this season, Williams is still near the top of the list and should be able to find a home in the third round. 

 

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

When it comes to NFL prospects, it's hard to leave out Teddy Bridgewater on this list.  If he decides to go pro, many scouts, including Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller, have him as their No. 1 overall player.

The junior quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals has continued to improve during his time at school.  He's completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 3,523 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season, giving him a passer rating of 169.7.  As you can see below, those numbers have improved every season he's played.

Teddy Bridgewater Career Stats
Year Comp. % YDS TD INT RAT
2011 64.5 2,129 14 12 132.4
2012 68.5 3,718 27 8 160.5
2013 70.2 3,523 28 4 169.7

It's really hard to not like Bridgewater's potential if he goes to the NFL.  He has terrific mechanics along with some impressive accuracy and good touch on the ball.  He's capable of extending the play by rolling out of the pocket and finding the open receiver and is fearless when stepping into the pressure inside the pocket.

While he sometimes lofts throws too much, the accuracy from Bridgewater is too impressive to ignore.  He may have been playing in a weaker conference this year, but almost everything that he's done this year has been impressive.  Though he hasn't yet announced whether or not he will declare for the draft, Bridgewater would likely be a No. 1 overall pick if he decides to go pro.

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