FBS National Championship: Players to Watch

Note: This post will be the Open Thread for tonight's game as well.

Tonight's FBS Championship Game will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The game will be televised on ESPN and kick off is slated for 8:38 PM EST.

I'm sure everyone knows about Auburn's QB, Cam Newton, but their are a slew of other players that will be in this year's NFL Draft and contribute immediately to their new teams.

Auburn Offense:

107362135_mediumCam Newton (QB), 6'6, 250lbs: Most of the nation is already familiar with Newton for both good and bad reasons.  Is talent is undeniable and his Second Half comeback versus Alabama was truly an amazing game to watch. Newton's two biggest assets are his arm and mobility. He can make just about any throw on the field and if he doesn't see an open receiver he's great at tucking the ball and running for a big gain.  I would say his two biggest cons in going into the draft are his lack of experience as a starting QB (this is his first year at Auburn) and that he doesn't have much experience taking snaps from under center. Most draft pundits have Newton as the 3rd or 4th best QB in the draft and going early. Projected Draft Slot: Top 15

Lee Ziemba (OT) 6'5, 320: Ziemba is rated as many as being towards the lower half of the Top 10 in the offensive tackle rankings and being a Top 100 prospect overall. He’s a three year starter that has never missed a game over that stretch, and by all accounts Ziemba is an extremely hard worker. He’s great in pass protection and questionable in run protection because of his footwork. Projected Draft Slot: Mid 2nd Round-3rd Round

Others Potential Late Round Draft Picks or UFAs

Mario Fannin, RB, 5’11, 230lbs
Kodi Burns, RB, 5’11, 207 lbs
Terrell Zachary, WR, 5’11 208 lbs
Ryan Pugh, C, 6’1, 295 lbs
Lee Isom, G, 6’2, 305 lbs
Mike Berry, G, 6’3, 315 lbs

Auburn Defense:

Nick Fairley (DT), 6’5, 300 lbs: Fairley is a monster to say the least, and he’ll be a focal point of the Auburn defense tonight in getting pressure on Oregon QB Darron Thomas. Fairley had 11 sacks, 55 tackles, and an interception in this year alone. Some analyst have Fairley going as high as the #1 overall pick to Carolina and he definitely has the talent to do so, I would be very surprised if he makes it past the Top 5. Projected Draft Slot: Top 5


Other Potential Late Round Draft Picks or UFAs
Michael Blanc, DT, 6’3, 290 lbs
Antoine Carter, DE, 6’3, 250 lbs
Josh Bynes, ILB, 6’2, 235 lbs
Craig Stevens, OLB, 6’2, 225 lbs
Aairon Savage, CB, 5’9, 200 lbs
Zaccheus Etheridge, S, 5’11, 210 lbs

Auburn Special Teams:
Wes Byrum (K) 6’1, 210 lbs: Simply put Byrum is one of the Top 5 pro prospects for kickers in the country and has a shot at being drafted.

Oregon Offense


LaMichael James (RB) 5’9, 185 lbs: James is Oregon’s number one prospect for this year’s draft. He was 3rd in the Heisman voting this year as he rushed for close to 1700 yards and 22 touchdowns. The only big thing being questioned about James is his relatively small size, nevertheless he will probably be one of the Top 5 or 6 RBs taken in this year’s draft.  Projected Draft Slot: - James announced he will return to OREGON in 2011 (slated 2nd or 3rd round).

Other Potential Late Round Draft Picks or UFAs
Jeffrey Maehl, WR, 6’0, 175 lbs
Andrew Davis, WR, 6’1 215 lbs
Jordan Holmes, C, 6’4, 295 lbs
CE Kaiser, OT, 6’4, 300 lbs

Oregon Defense
There are no "blue chip" defensive prospects on Oregon, but they do have the continuation of the "BloodLine" in Casey Matthews,  Clay Matthew’s brother.

Potential Late Round Draft Picks or UFAs
Brandon Bair, DT, 6’6, 265 lbs
Casey Matthews, ILB, 6’1, 240 lbs
Spencer Paysinger, OLB, 6’2, 230 lbs
Kenneth Rowe, OLB, 6’2, 225 lbs
Talmadge Jackson, CB, 5’9, 185 lbs

Please let me know if I missed anyone on either of the teams or if you can add any more insight then that would be great to.

I also thought it would be fun if everyone posted a prediction.

My Prediction: Auburn 33, Oregon 26

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