R+L Carrier New Orleans Bowl, noon, ESPN
Other than the bowl games involving military schools, there probably isn't a worse game for NFL prospects than the New Orleans Bowl. Such is the case when its a Sun Belt team playing a Conference USA team. This game doesn't feature a single player who will go in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, or possibly even the top 200.
Still, of late, Louisiana-Lafayette has turned into a solid school for producing NFL talent. Since 2002, seven players have been taken in the NFL Draft, most famously Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears in 2003. This year, two players from ULL were taken, cornerback Dwight Bentley in the third round and tight end Ladarius Green in the fourth round.
Although East Carolina regularly churns out NFL players (Chris Johnson, hasn't had a player drafted since 2011 (WR Dwayne Harris), but the Pirates regularly churn out NFL players.
When East Carolina has the football:
Arguably the best prospect in the New Orleans Bowl is ULL senior cornerback Melvin White. He's a cornerback with nice size (a listed 6-foot-3, 191 pounds) who can lock down receivers. White's stats are modest, but its because he doesn't often get thrown at. Ragin Cajuns defensive lineman Cordian Hagans will likely get a camp invite because he's a versatile lineman who can be used a rotational 3-4 end. Junior Justin Anderson is a linebacker who can get after the ball carrier. In the past four games, he has 43 tackles, including a nine-tackle game against Florida in November.
When East Carolina has the ball, they like to throw it. Eight different players have at least 20 receptions on the season, paced by redshirt sophomore Justin Hardy.
When Louisiana-Lafayette has the football:
In terms of NFL talent, the East Carolina defense and the ULL offense has little to offer.
Matchup of the game: White vs. Hardy
Although Hardy is mostly used inside, White could get asked to come inside to jam him up. He may need too. Hardy is putting together a nice season with 83 receptions for 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. To my knowledge, White hasn't scored an all-star game invite yet. If he can help shut down the speedy Hardy, he could work his way into the Shrine Game or the NFLPA game.