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Western Michigan QB Alex Carder, Junior
NFL Draft Grade: sixth to seventh round
Western Michigan’s offense is all about passing the football, in large part due to the ability of starting quarterback Alex Carder. Carder ranks eighth nationally with 312.2 passing yards per game, with a 28-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
At only 6’2’’ and lacking a great arm, Carder is not a great NFL prospect, but he is a very good collegiate quarterback and will need to play well for the Broncos to have a chance at winning this game.
Western Michigan WR Jordan White, Senior
NFL Draft Grade: fifth round
Wide receiver Jordan White has played a huge role in the success of Alex Carder and the Western Michigan passing offense. The Broncos are going to need to have a big performance to win in this game.
White has been tremendously productive in his senior season; he leads the nation in receptions with 127 and in receiving yards with 1,646. White is also tied for second nationally with 16 touchdown receptions.
White may not stand out physically, but he has terrific hands, is strong and runs good routes. White’s productivity speaks for itself; with a solid performance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, he is likely to surpass 4,000 receiving yards for his collegiate career.
Purdue DT Kawann Short, Junior
NFL Draft Grade: third to fourth round
With Ryan Kerrigan having graduated, defensive tackle Kawann Short became the star of the Boilermakers defensive line this season. He leads Purdue with 17.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks this season.
At 6’3’’ and 310 pounds, Short is a massive defensive tackle who also has the quickness and explosiveness to make a huge impact in the trenches. Short is the Boilermakers’ biggest defensive playmaker himself, but by eating up space and demanding double-teams, he also enables his teammates to make plays.
Short’s combination of size and quickness, along with his collegiate productivity, make him a potential second-round selection if he declares for the 2012 NFL draft. His impact is going to be key to the success of the Boilermakers defense in this game.