Please feel free to use this preview as a GameThread also.
The bowl season continues to heat up and for the first time we'll see a slew of pro prospects on the field this evening. At 5:30 today the Champs Sports Bowl kicks off from Orlando when Florida State (8-4) takes on Notre Dame (8-4). After that ESPN's second game will be the Alamo Bowl at 9PM featuring #12 Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5). Both games feature a number of prospects that could end up in the Burgundy and Gold including Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
Florida State Pro Prospects
Zebrie Sanders, OT, 6'6, 307 lbs: The main Seminoles prospect that will have Redskins fans salivating is offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders. FSU features the best bookend tackle combo in the NCAA with Sanders and Andrew Datko. At the beginning of the year Datko was thought to be the better prospect but it seems as if Sanders has been able to surpass him on many draft boards. Sanders excels in pass protection and sealing the edge after initial contact. He does, however, need to improve his lower body strength and initial punch off the line on running plays. Sanders fits the Shanahan mold of a high character guy and tremendous student, he is also a concert violist. He would be a tremendous pick up for the Skins in the mid to late 2nd round.
Andrew Datko, OT, 6'6, 321 lbs: As mentioned before Datko is the other bookend for the 'Noles. Datko came to FSU as just a three-star prospect, which to me hails Datko's development and commitment to hard work. He is solid in both the run and pass game. Contrary to Sanders I believe Datko has a higher floor, but lower ceiling. He has the ability to be a very solid tackle in this league and will be a steal around the 3rd round for anyone interested.
Brandon Jenkins, OLB, 6'3, 255 lbs: The Redskins took FSU defensive end Markus White last year and inserted him at the outside linebacker position in the 3-4. Jenkins is a very similar prospect to White. Jenkins had a great year in 2010 and was thought to be a prime a prospect for the 2012 draft, but Jenkins stock has likely dropped since that time due to a lesser 2011 campaign. There is a chance he could still come out and be a 4th round prospect, but Jenkins likely stays in Tallahassee to develop a little longer.
Nigel Bradham, LB, 6'2, 238lbs: Bradham plays OLB for the Seminoles, but would kick inside in a 3-4 defense. He consider declaring for the draft last year but was swayed to go back to Tallahassee after seeing the grade the NFL Advisory Committee doled out. Bradham's supreme attribute is his speed, but he doesn't utilize it properly in my opinion. He is not very physical and lacks the tackling ability needed in the NFL. He is however versatile and is solid in coverage and can play special teams. I don't think he's the best fit for the Skins but someone will likely draft him in the 4th round.
Notre Dame Pro Prospects:
Michael Floyd, WR, 6'3, 229lbs: Floyd gets lost in the wide receiver discussion with Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery, but he has to the ability to be just as an affective receiver, if not better. He's a big target with over 1,000 for the second straight year, he also has 36 touchdowns in his time in South Bend. Floyd has more in common with Blackmon in that they have both been charged with DUIs, Floyd's was especially discouraging due to the fact he had an underage drinking charge just a year before. Floyd has also had some injury issues at Notre Dame missing eight games due to a knee injury and broken collarbone. Despite his issues, Floyd is still a 1st rounder.
Harrison Smith, SS, 6'2, 214lbs: Smith is one of the best strong safety prospects in the upcoming draft. Smith started at Notre Dame as a linebacker but found his real calling at safety. He's best known for attacking the line of scrimmage, but became a playmaker in 2010 when he lead the team in interceptions with seven. He's registered over 300 tackles in his college career and will be a very good pick up for someone around the 3rd round.
Prediction: Another tough pick, but I think FSU comes through as the more experienced team (and they are close to home). FSU- 28, ND- 23
Washington Pro Prospects:
Alameda Ta'amu, NT, 6'2, 334 lbs: Ta'amu is considered to be fighting with Memphis prospect Dontari Poe to be the top nose tackle prospect taken in the draft. He's known as a run stuffer and demands double teams from many college offensive lines. One of the most intriguing things about Ta'amu is despite his size he is incredibly quick, this allows some versatility to occasionally play him at defensive end in the 3-4. Some Redskins fans think the nose tackle position needs to continue to be addressed, if you want Ta'amu then you'll have to take him in the 2nd round at the latest. Ta'amu reminds me a lot of Stephen Paea who the Bears took in the 2nd round last year.
Senio Kelemete, OG, 6'3, 297 lbs: If you're looking for a solid guard prospect in the 3rd or 4th round then Kelemete could be your man. Kelemete has played defensive line, offensive tackle, and guard in his time as a member of the Huskies. He's brought some of that defensive line nastiness to the o-line, he's not the greatest athlete but makes up for by playing with a bit of nastiness and an edge. He is a team captain for the second year in a row and is very active in the Seattle community.
Baylor Pro Prospects:
Robert Griffin III, QB: I think we all know what RG3 brings to the table, but tune in tonight to see what the prospect may do in his last collegiate game.
Kendall Wright, WR, 5'10, 195 lbs: Robert Griffin's run to dominance hasn't only benefited himself, his stellar season has allowed receiver Kendall Wright rise to a high 2nd round prospect. Wright has over 100 catches this year, 1,500+ yards, and 13 touchdowns. He's a tremendous athlete and played on the Baylor basketball team earlier in his collegiate career. Wright doesn't have the size to be a serious red zone threat, but he is more a burner and playmaker.
Prediction: A lot have thought the Alamo Bowl will be one of the biggest blowouts of the bowl season, but Washington is a solid team with a playmaker of their own at quarterback in Keith Price. The Huskies also have one of the best runningbacks in the country, Chris Polk, who is 50-50 on his draft status. I'm tempted to pick the upset but I think the Bears pull it off playing close to home 37-31.
Parks' Bowl Record: 9-3