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What we’ve learned so far in Bowl Season

What have we learned about Trevor Lawrence this bowl season? Find out what NFL Draft Diamonds writer Craig Forrestal has observed from the games already played.

By Craig Forrestal 

Bowl Games some people love them and some people hate them. The argument is that there is an overload of games and it waters down the meaning because so many teams hovering around .500 get into a game. As a kid, this is how I recall bowl season, a team became Bowl Eligible and got to play in the Super Dome for the RL Carriers Bowl on ESPN2 and life was good! These were the types of games where guys would explode on to draft maps. Remember the Doug Martin 2011 Macao Bowl? That performance cemented his spot as a top RB in that draft class.

So now with my bowl rant over, let’s take a look at some of my observations and what I’ve learned from the bowl games so far:

  • Kenny Willekes (EDGE, Michigan State) just feels like such an old school, ‘hard hat and lunch pail’ type of guy. He embodies what Mark Dantonio looks for in a Michigan State player. He will play for a while in the league.
  • Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson) has wheels. Lawrence registered 16 carries for 107 yards and 1 TD against Ohio State. Teams will be lining up in the 2021 Draft to get a glimpse of this kid with all the makings of a franchise QB. 
  • JK Dobbins (RB, Ohio State) is a big time ‘home run threat’. Maybe one of the most dangerous to come around in some time.
  • Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson) has played all over the field this season; literally has taken snaps everywhere but the Interior DL. I ask myself: Does he have a true position? He reminds of Oren Burks (current Green Bay Packers LB and former Vanderbilt player) a safety that grew into a LB and that athleticism will translate into a creative defensive package. I think he is an ILB in a 3-4 that offers a lot versatility/athleticism.
  • Mike Glass (QB, Eastern Michigan) is now known for all the wrong reasons after throwing a punch that hit a ref during their bowl game against Pittsburgh. He was playing pretty well up to that point. 
  • Brody Hoying (LB/S, Eastern Michigan) has made the All-MAC team as a safety and linebacker. He is a good football player. I see him as a Nate Gerry type; if I had to give a comparison.
  • The Pittsburgh Defense has a lot of individual talent: Dane Jackson/CB, Damar Hamlin/S, Jaylen Twyman/DL, Amir Watts/DL, Kylan Johnson/LB
  • I still really like Maurice Ffrench (WR, Pittsburgh). He’s electric with the ball in his hands. Dynamic player. Excellent in the return game. Someone is going to get a steal.
  • Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame) exploded on Iowa State for 7 catches, 146 yards and 1 TD. I think he’s a TE in the NFL. Add 15 pounds and I think you have a nightmare for NFL defenses. Watch Darren Waller from this season then watch Claypool. I think he could be that type of guy in the NFL.
  • Greg Eisworth (Safety, Iowa State) nice size. Gets to ball. Plays assignment football. He’s just a consistent player.
  • Tony Jones Jr (RB, Notre Dame) ran all over Iowa State. He’s built like a workhorse NFL RB. 
  • Is Liam Eichenberg (OT, Notre Dame) ready for the NFL? I feel he has been good for Notre Dame this year but not overly impressive.
  • The Penn State defense is better than I thought and the Memphis pass defense is better than I thought. Weird to say out loud, considering it was a 53-39 game.
  • Journey Brown (RB, Penn State) had himself a blow up day 16 carries, 202 yards and 2 TD. But Noah Cain (RB, Penn State) also had 15 carries, 92 yards and 2 TD. Solid backfield to keep an eye on.
  • Patrick Taylor Jr (RB, Memphis) is a mid-to-late round back with size; listed at 6ft3 and 223 on the Memphis website. His running style might not be the most conventional but he’s powerful and fast. Almost looks a little bit like Latavius Murray (RB, New Orleans Saints).
  • Nate Stanley (QB, Iowa) doesn’t lose big games. He’s a bit limited schematically but offers tremendous size and comes from a pro system which should serve him well from Day 1. I like him. I think he can develop into a starter. I feel he has some of the highest upside of all QBs in this class.
  • Jordan Love (QB, Utah State) looked good throwing the ball. He had a down year so it was nice to see a game where he had over 300 yards and 3 TDs coupled with a high completion percentage. Also, needed a bounce back game after an off the field incident leading up to the game.
  • Dustin Crum (QB, Kent State) impressed me. Solid on the ground (147 yards, 1 TD) and in the air (289 yards, 2 TD). Very nice game he had. Crum is only a junior and I want to see what he can do next season to build off the bowl game performance.
  • Jaret Patterson (RB, Buffalo) put an exclamation point on his season going for 32 carries, 173 yards and 3 TDs. The former MAC Freshman of the Year posted 1799 rushing yards this season and should be popular in 2021 and 2022 Mock Drafts.
  • The term I use to describe Jacob Eason (QB, Washington) is functional. He is a bit underwhelming, in my opinion, as he has all the physical tools and a rocket arm. I want to tab him as Philip Rivers 2.0, but something keeps holding me back.
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR, Liberty) on a day when his QB (Stephen Calvert) was off he still posted 5 catches, 61 yards and 1 TD. Listed at 6ft4 and 220 pounds he is raw and has tremendous size. Needs a little work to sharpen his fundamentals. Nice developmental pick.
  • Kindle Vildor (CB, Georgia Southern) is a Senior Bowl invite and was responsible for one of the two INT against Liberty in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl. Held his own against Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins when Georgia Southern played Clemson. Zero fear in his game.
  • James Morgan (QB, Florida International) threw 2 INT and regressed a tad, in my opinion, as a Grad Transfer from Bowling Green. Teams need to figure out which is the real James Morgan- 2018 or 2019. Late round or free agent prospect that might be able to hang around as a backup. Graduated with a Pre-Law Degree from Bowling Green. 
  • Omar Bayless (WR, Arkansas State) just dominated this season with over 90 catches and 1600 yards. He sealed the deal with 9 grabs, 180 yards and 1 TD in his bowl game appearance. Listed at 6ft3 and 207 pounds he offers a nice frame with tremendous footwork. Touching personal story of overcoming hardship and obstacles; he’s a kid you root for.
  • Darrynton Evans (RB, Appalachian State) has posted back-to-back 1000-yard seasons. He has a build similar to LeSean McCoy and runs a little bit like him as he can find the hole, cut on a dime, accelerate and get positive yards. This running style fit perfectly with the Pistol Offense Appalachian State operates.
  • Cole McDonald (QB, Hawaii) put on a clinic against BYU throwing for just under 500 yards and posting 4 TDs in a thrilling 38-34 victory for Hawaii. 
  • Kohl Levao (OL, Hawaii) is a natural Guard and has started at RT, RG and C during his time at Hawaii. Hawaii lists him at 6ft6 and 340 pounds. He can play a lot of different spots on the line, so that alone will get him some looks.
  • Matt Bushman (TE, BYU) had 6 catches for 91 yards against Hawaii and he just feels like a TE that plays in the league. Solid hands which covers up his athletic deficiencies. Good size and played in a college system that should benefit him in the NFL.
  • The Miami Hurricanes need to find their version of Joe Burrow. I don’t believe Manny Diaz is the answer. I’d love to see Rex Ryan coach the ‘Canes and bring Ed Reed on as a DB coach at a minimum. Miami is never ready for a bowl game. That’s what got Mark Richt; it was 2 bad loses to Wisconsin in consecutive years. This year Manny Diaz was shutout by Louisiana Tech. You tell me where Miami football is?
  • Chubba Hubbard (RB, Oklahoma State) is a threat whenever he has the ball. He averaged over 8 yards per carry against Texas A&M in the bowl game. Hubbard went over the illustrious 2k mark this season.
  • North Carolina had its way with Temple and I couldn’t be happier for Mack Brown. Sam Howell (QB, North Carolina) had an impressive Freshman season and should be able to keep things going next season. The win brought North Carolina to 7-6.
  • Air Force played keep away from Washington State and it worked. Air Force won 31-21, but Washington State only had the ball for 16:36 all game and still scored 21.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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