Friday NFL Draft watch notes

Otto Greule Jr

Here are the NFL prospects to follow in the Military Bowl, Texas Bowl and the Fight Hunger Bowl.

Military Bowl - Presented by Northrop Grunman

Marshall vs. Maryland, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

This game is light on NFL prospects so just read Bill Connelly's preview of it here. If you're keying on NFL prospects, watch Maryland senior linebacker Marcus Whitfield. He has the size NFL teams will like (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) and the production (50 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks). While Whitfield had most of his production early in the season, he's still a late-round flyer kind of player.

Marshall's top senior is tight end Gator Hoskins. He's more of a fullback or H-back in the NFL because he's only 6-foot-2 and 244 pounds. Hoskins has 23 touchdowns over the last two seasons. In the offseason process he'll have to prove himself as a blocker and special teams player.

Quarterback Rakeem Cato is a fringe NFL prospect who masterfully runs Marshall's high-pace offense. He's a junior not expected to go pro, but if nothing else he's fun to watch in college.

Texas Bowl

Syracuse vs. Minnesota, 6 p.m., ESPN

This game will feature two very good defensive tackle prospects in the nation. Unquestionably the top player is Minnesota senior defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman. The former tight end has 11 tackles for loss this season and needs to show he plays hard for the whole game. You'll be hard-pressed to find a defensive tackle with more athleticism than Hageman, but his effort is questioned at times.

Syracuse senior tackle Jay Bromley is an underrated player. He's put together a nice season with 38 tackles with 12.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He's not a big playmaker, but he's a solid prospect. Like Hageman, some 3-4 teams might prefer him as an end.

Syracuse offensive tackle Sean Hickey has said he'll announce his draft decision after today's game. Hickey has filled in nicely for Justin Pugh on the left side of the Orange line. A two-year starter, Hickey has nimble feet and solid length. Running back Jerome Smith has already announced his decision to go pro.

Fight Hunger Bowl

Brigham Young vs. Washington, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Of the three games today, this one has the most prospects. Arguably the best of the bunch is BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy. He's had another good season, posting 63 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and seven pass breakups. As his stat line implies, there's not a lot Van Noy can't do. It will be interesting to see how he tests out at the Combine. Regardless, he can fit in at linebacker in a 3-4 or 4-3. He's at his best when playing near the line of scrimmage.

Washington is loaded with NFL players on both sides of the ball. Junior Bishop Sankey is the kind of player who may not get picked until Day 2, but is the kind of player who will outperform his draft position. Sankey isn't a burner or a powerhouse runner. He just does all the little things right and is a good player across the board. It's hard to find a distinct negative in Sankey's game.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is arguably the best all-around tight end in the draft next year. He's been inconsistent this season as a pass catcher, but has all the tools and NFL team will like. There have been some comparisons to Jimmy Graham floating out there for ASJ. They're not completely off base, but he's not quite the athlete. Seferian-Jenkins can only go as far as quarterback Keith Price lets him. Price, who will play in the East-West Shrine Game, didn't progress like some expected him to this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, Washington has a draftable safety in Sean Parker. He excels in coverage situations and can man up receivers or freelance over the middle. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton will be attractive to teams looking for linemen who can take up multiple blockers.

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