Pittsburgh vs. SMU; BBVA Compass Bowl NFL Draft watch notes

Hey everyone the BBVA Compass Bowl, the most awkwardly placed bowl game, is on today at 1 p.m. (ESPN). The Cotton, Orange and Sugar bowls are followed by a game between 7-5 Southern Methodist and 6-6 Pittsburgh.

The Panthers had to win their last game against Syracuse simply to become bowl eligible. The team is going in the right direction with the hiring of new head coach Paul Chryst.

Pittsburgh's top prospect is offensive lineman Lucas Nix. A Senior Bowl invitee, Nix has struggled this season with injuries but could resurrect his draft stock. Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Lindsey is headed to the Shrine Game. In practices there, he'll need to show athleticism because he's too small to play end in the NFL.

The Panthers are bowl eligible largely because of the game Lindsey had against Syracuse. He won Big East Player of the Week honors after finishing with six tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack.

At the start of the season, Mustangs quarterback Kyle Padron looked like a solid sleeper. But after he struggled, he was replaced in the team's spread offense with senior J.J. McDermott. He's at best a developmental quarterback.

SMU defensive end Taylor Thompson shows some skill coming off the line. His size at 6-foot-6, 287 pounds is impressive. He has enough strength to work inside in the NFL. He led the team with seven sacks this season to go along with six forced fumbles.

2013 NFL Draft watch: Margus Hunt, an Estonia native, is a physical specimen of a defensive end at 6-foot-8, 295 pounds. He set an NCAA record as a freshman with seven blocked kicks. He's extremely raw known as much for his ability to throw the discus as he is a football player. But with that frame, Hunt will get looks in 2013 but will have to be put on a practice squad as he learns techniques.

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