'09 NFL Draft: Which prospects to watch during college bowl season
Two Wake Forest corners to watch in Eagle Bank Bowl
Four Notre Dame prospects to watch in Hawaii Bowl
Prospects in the Meineke, Champs, Motor City and more bowls
With the college bowl season set to get underway, SI.com's draft guru Tony Pauline has identified potential NFL prospects playing in all the games. He gets things started below with players in the first 11 bowls. Check back soon for the other 23 games.
Eagle Bank Bowl, Dec. 20 : Wake Forest vs. Navy
Aaron Curry/OLB/#59/5Sr: Curry has elevated his draft stock like no other senior in the nation and has played brilliantly this season. He's a dominant three-down defender who will be one of the first dozen players drafted in April.
Alphonso Smith/CB/#2/5Sr: Smith is slightly undersized yet a shut down cover man who projects as a second cornerback in the NFL. He'll hear his name called somewhere in round two next year.
Brandon Ghee/CB/#17/4Jr: Ghee possesses better size and upside compared to Smith, yet needs to polish his game. He presently grades as a second-round choice but could move into the draft's first round if he continues to progress on the field.
Sam Swank/PK-P/#38/5Sr: Swank handled double duties as a place kicker and punter at Wake Forest the past four years. He possesses a strong leg and can punt his team out of a jam or hit the long field goal in a clutch. Injuries slowed him last season and will push Swank into the later rounds next April.
Chip Vaughn/S/#9/5Sr: Vaughn is a well-sized safety best defending the run. He's a very active prospect who makes a lot of tackles. His size/speed numbers are off the charts and he grades out as a middle-round pick.
Boo Robinson/DT/#96/4Jr: The three-year starter has been steady on the field and shows flashes of brilliance. Robinson teases scouts, who feel he has the ability to elevate his game. He is presently considered a late-round pick.
Kevin Patterson/S/#10/5Sr: Patterson lacks the top size/speed numbers scouts want in a safety prospect. He does possess a great head for the game, which will make him attractive in the late rounds.
Eric Kettani/FB/#36/4Sr: Kettani is what one expects from a Navy football player: He's smart, tough and does the little things well. His military commitment will push him into the draft's late rounds yet Kettani is a triple-threat fullback and worth the investment.
New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 20: Fresno State vs. Colorado State
Bear Pascoe/TE/#85/5Sr: Pascoe is a solid pass-catching tight end who holds his own as a blocker. He's sized well but lacks the speed to be anything other than a mid-to-late round choice next April and a number two tight end in the NFL.
Tom Brandstater/QB/#7/5Sr: Fresno State's starting passer the past three seasons is a tough, efficient signal caller who makes good decisions. He struggled a bit this season, playing below expectations, yet will be terrific value in the late rounds next April.
A.J. Jefferson/CB/#28/Jr: Jefferson is a game-impacting return specialist also developing his game at cornerback. He has all the tools to be a big-time player and early draft pick in the future if he completes his game.
Gartrell Johnson/RB-FB/#5/5Sr: Johnson, the Rams primary ball carrier the past two seasons, comes off a career year as a senior. He's a powerful downhill runner who pounds opponents on the inside. Johnson's versatility as an effective short-yardage runner and blocker could secure him as a late-round pick.
Kory Sperry/TE/#80/5Sr: Sperry is a fluid, pass-catching tight end with natural receiving skills. He was never considered fast, even before a knee injury sidelined him in 2007. Sperry will likely drop out of the draft's seven rounds but will have ample opportunity in camp next summer.
St. Pete Bowl, Dec. 20: Memphis vs. South Florida
Clinton McDonald/DT/#53/4Sr: The Tigers best defensive prospect has been flying up draft boards recently. McDonald is a smallish (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) one-gap tackle with a motor that never stops. Scouts feel he's good value in round four.
Brandon Pearce/OT/#71/5Sr: Pearce is a 6-6 tackle with the ability to add bulk to his tall frame. He offers a good amount of upside and is a solid developmental prospect likely to be signed as a free agent next April.
Charlie Jones/RB/#34/5Sr: Jones is a one-time promising Miami Hurricanes running back who was highly thought of by NFL scouts. He's had a tough year in '08 and struggled with injuries.
George Selvie/DE/#95/4Jr: The Bulls dominant pass rusher comes off a disappointing season. Selvie has been compared to Simeon Rice in size and style. He's an eventual first-round pick when he leaves college for the NFL.
Tyrone McKenzie/OLB/#27/5Sr: McKenzie is a fleet-footed, one-gap linebacker best pursuing the action. McKenzie grades as a third-round pick in April's draft.
Nate Allen/S/#5/3Jr: Allen is a well-sized safety who improved his game this season. He's a forceful run defender who also holds his own in pass coverage.
Taurus Johnson/WR/#89/4Sr: Johnson is an adequately sized possession wideout with sure hands. He's come up big for South Florida on a number of occasions this season. Johnson grades as a late-round pick, yet could improve his ranking with good pre-draft workouts.
Matt Grothe/QB/#8/4Jr: The versatile Grothe is a terrific college passer with a great command of the offense. He lacks the size to be a passer in the NFL yet has the ability to make a roster for a creative offense as a quarterback that is brought onto the field in red-zone situations.
Cedric Hill/TB/#9/5Sr: A sure-handed tight end with average height, Hill is a late-round prospect whose true NFL position may be fullback.
Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 20: Arizona vs. BYU
Eben Britton/OT/#77/4Jr: The Wildcats left tackle has turned heads with his play this season. Scouts are not yet convinced Britton can stay on the blind side in the NFL but love his size and upside. He's openly talked about entering April's draft, in which he'll be a top 45 pick.
Mike Thomas/WR/#10/4Sr: Thomas comes off a terrific senior campaign and has improved his draft stock. He's a short but reliable receiver who also offers potential as a return specialist. Thomas is a solid mid-round pick for a team needing a third receiver.
Willie Tuitama/QB/#7/4Sr: Tuitama is another Arizona senior who had a terrific season. He's an athletic signal caller, effective throwing on the move, and a late-round prospect best served playing in a west coast offense.
Dennis Pitta/TE/#32/3Jr: Pitta, one of the nation's better pass-catching tight ends, has been a lethal weapon in the BYU arsenal all year. He's coming off a slight knee injury sustained last month but is expected to be 100 percent by game time. Pitta has been compared to former Cougar greats Chad Lewis. The junior is expected to take his game to the NFL next year and will get consideration in the third round of April's draft.
Travis Bright/OG/#74/5Sr: Bright is a well-sized lineman who displays ability blocking on the move. He possesses solid pass-blocking feet and a good head for the game. Bright, who's been moving up draft boards all season, projects as a fourth-round pick next April.
Ray Feinga/OG/#76/5Sr: Feinga is a massive blocker at 6-5, 340. He has athletic limitations but will be a good late-round pick for a power running offense.
Harvey Unga/RB/#45/3So: Unga has been a dominant interior ball carrier for the Cougars, breaking the century mark on the ground the past two seasons. Unga offers a terrific combination of power, vision and instincts at running back while also adding the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Dallas Reynolds/OC/#65/4Sr: BYU's leader on the offensive line, Reynolds is smart, tough and strong. He comes off a terrific senior season and could be a late-round gem next April.
Austin Collie/WR/#9/3Jr: Another ultra-productive pass catcher from the Cougars offense, Collie is a sure-handed receiver who fights to make the reception. Collie is another BYU junior expected to take his game to the NFL after the Las Vegas Bowl. He'll fall into the later rounds next April.
Max Hall/QB/#15/4Jr: The transfer from Arizona State passed for 3,600-plus yards again this season and set a personal mark of 34 touchdown passes. He's an efficient and smart passer but lacks the true arm strength to be anything other than a late-round pick.
New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 21: Troy State vs. Southern Miss
Brandon Lang/DE/#91/3Jr: Lang is a tremendous pass rusher and reminds many of former Troy State star DeMarcus Ware. He's a quick edge rusher who displays enough speed to pursue the action from the backside. Lang has a great future; the junior will be a top 75 draft pick in 2010.
Sherrod Martin/CB-S/#6/5Sr: Martin is an underrated defensive back who was productive out of the gate for Troy State. He has terrific ball skills and is effective playing over the slot receiver. Martin will be good value in the late rounds and could be used in nickel/dime situations at the next level.
Terence Moore/S-OLB/#20/4Sr: Moore is a hard-hitting run defender who was moved to outside linebacker as a senior after spending most of his career at safety. He'll get consideration in the late rounds as a conventional strong safety.
Boris Lee/LB/#2/3Jr: Troy State's leading tackler the past two seasons, Lee is a versatile linebacker who can line up on the inside of a 3-4 alignment or on the outside in a conventional scheme. He's a solid late-round pick in the future.
Shawn Nelson/TE/#1/5Sr: Nelson is a playmaking tight end who consistently creates mismatches in the secondary. He looks like a power forward on the football field but is slightly underrated due to all the star power at the tight end position this year. Nelson will be a steal in the fourth round and eventually start in the NFL.
Gerald McRath/LB/#24/4Jr: Southern Mississippi's emotional leader on defense, McGrath is a tackling machine on the inside yet possesses the size and speed to get consideration at outside linebacker. He's giving serious consideration to entering the draft. He grades as a top 75 choice.
Damion Fletcher/RB/#25/3Jr: Fletcher is an undersized running back who plays bigger than his listed measurables. The junior is a versatile back who'll be a situational ball handler at the next level.
Calvin Wilson/OT/#72/4Jr: Wilson, a Mississippi State transfer, offers tremendous size (6-6, 350), which he combines with a good degree of athleticism. Wilson's lack of consistency has turned off a number of scouts.
Ryan McKee/OT/#66/4Sr: McKee is a tough, workmanlike college blocker who lacks the athleticism to be anything other than a backup in the NFL.
NFL Truth & Rumors