Looking for some holiday football to enjoy, but can't wait until the Saints-Falcons Monday Night Football matchup? Well look no further than the Independence Bowl at 5PM this afternoon. This year the game features the North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5) vs. the Missouri Tigers (7-5) and will air on ESPN 2. This game should be a tight one and the weather could play a prominent role as it is supposed to be 45 degrees and rainy in Shreveport.
North Carolina Prospects
Last year's draft featured a slew of top notch defensive prospects from North Carolina, including Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, and Quan Sturdivant. This year is no different when you watch the Tar Heel's defense tonight. They are lead by defensive end Quinton Coples (6'6, 285 lbs) who will likely be a Top 10 pick in April's draft. Beyond Coples UNC has a pair of linebackers that will likely go in the first round, Zach Brown (6'2, 230lbs), and junior Kevin Reddick (6'2, 230lbs). All three of these players are not likely to be a fit for the Redskins, but they are still players names that you will be hearing with increasing frequency of the next couple of months.
Michael Egnew, TE, 6'5, 245lbs: The Tiger's primary pro prospect is tight end Michael Egnew. Egnew has a breakout year last year registering 90 catches for 762 yards and 5 touchdowns, but the senior has struggled at times this year only garnering 47 catches for nearly 500 yards and 3 touchdowns. Despite his regression in stats, Egnew is a solid prospect for the Redskins in the 3rd round, especially with uncertainty surrounding Fred Davis' contract and the health of Chris Cooley. Egnew is a big, physical target who can work well in between the hashes, he certainly fits the "new" mold of large, athletic tight ends. His main drawback is blocking on the line, he rarely has been asked to do it at Missouri and will need to build the experience and strength to do it at the NFL level.
Prediction: This is the toughest game to pick so far this year. Missouri is on a three game win streak, while North Carolina finished the season reeling. Also UNC is undergoing a coaching change which is always difficult to prognosticate the effect on a bowl game. Missouri 23, North Carolina 20