Bowl Games: Who To Watch

December 20

===> Bahamas Bowl—- Buffalo vs. Charlotte
2 p.m. | ESPN 
Evin Ksiezarczyk, Buffalo OT
Alex Highsmith Charlotte EDGE
Cam Clark Charlotte LT
Benny LeMay Charlotte RB

Bills fans are Bulls fans, and the Bulls lead the MAC in rushing yardage, so there are two great reasons to watch. It’s also the first bowl game worth watching. We liked the Bulls’ Evin Ksiezarcyk when he held his own against RD1 EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos in the Penn State game. You’ll see Ksiezarcyk in the Shrine Game if you miss him here. EDGE Alex Highsmith vs Ksiezarcyk would be a fun matchup if they go that route. Highsmith’s 18.5 TFLs in 12 games last year (his junior season) was impressive, and his .95 TFL’s per game over his career is Day-2 worthy. Now a redshirt senior, Highsmith was a walk-on at Charlotte and now he’s up for the Burlsworth Award, given last year to the most outstanding college football player who began their career as a walk-on.

===> Frisco Bowl—- Kent State vs. Utah State
7:30 p.m. | ESPN2
December 21
Jordan Love Utah St QB
Tipa Galeai Utah State EDGE

Hoping Love plays in his bowl game, as he’s declaring for the NFL. Love is big (6-4, 220) and inaccurate statistically, if you know any QB like that. He’s likely a RD2, early RD3 type. Galeai (“NOLLY-uh”) was dismissed from TCU for assaulting 2 students, and transferred to Utah State. He has impressive quickness on his speed rush here, but he’s not part of the Process. RD7-UDFA.

December 21

===>Cure Bowl—- Liberty vs. Georgia Southern
2:30 p.m. | CBSSN 
Antonio Gandy-Golden Liberty WR
Kindle Vildor Georgia Southern CB
Monquavion Brinson Georgia Southern CB

The Bills paid a visit to Liberty, and there’s only one guy they’d have gone to see. I expect the Bills would take another gander at Gandy-Golden at the Senior Bowl/Combine/Pro Day, but if you haven’t seen him, he’ll be going against late-round corners in Vildor and Brinson. Why isn’t Gandy-Golden a RD1 receiver? While he’s 2nd among draftables in receiving yards (1,304), you wonder about the level of competition (NM, Maine, Idaho State) and his questionable straight-line speed. AG-G struggles to get separation going vertically and relies too much on his size. Good box-out with big frame, but rounds off routes. See what you think.

===> Boca Raton Bowl —- FAU vs. SMU
3:30 p.m. | ABC
James Proche SMU WR
If you want to bake cookies or something, this is a good game to miss. Proche (“pro-SHAY”) is a smurf who doesn’t have the speed Daboll looks for, but he does have grit, body control, and contact balance. Still, he’s not Isabella or Samuels from the last two years. 5 TDs against AP-ranked teams in ’18.

===> Las Vegas Bowl —- No. 19 Boise State vs. Washington
7:30 p.m. | ABC
Curtis Weaver Boise St SSDE
John Hightower Boise St WR
John Molchon Boise St G
Ezra Cleveland Boise St OT
Trey Adams Washington OT—won’t play
Jacob Eason Washington QB
Nick Harris Washington C
Hunter Bryant Washington TE—wont play

My Boise State Broncos get to go to Vegas, but my Boise daughter-in-law says the media is making this too much about retiring Huskies’ HC Chris Peterson (former Boise State HC), and not about the players. I’d watch EDGE Curtis Weaver on defense. The strong-side DE had 11 sacks last season, 21 quarterback pressures this season. He led the nation in pressures in 2018, leads CFB in sacks this year. He’s a gregarious, locker-room guy whose name you can’t forget if you played Grand Theft Auto. 3rd-most TFL per game. Would the Bills take an EDGE rusher at around #50? Depends on Free Agency, but Hughes isn’t getting younger, even after what I consider his best year. WR John Hightower helped the Broncos land a MWC Championship, (3 catches, 64 yds, 1 TD) but he’s the skinniest 6’2″ draft-eligible receiver. The other drawback is only 22 games played over 2 seasons. To Hightower’s credit, his 16.3 ypc overall is excellent, and he does return kicks (10 KR for 20.1 ypr this year). This catch in the MWC Champ game shows you determination, balance, and YAC. Watch Boise State’s OL play on the left side from Ezra Cleveland at T to John Molchon at G.

December 24

===> Hawai’i Bowl—- BYU vs. Hawai’i
8 p.m. | ESPN
Matt Bushman BYU TE
Khyiris Tonga BYU DL1T
Cole McDonald Hawaii QB
Cedric Byrd Hawaii WR

The Bills scouted BYU this season when they were playing Utah State, and Khyiris Tonga was impressive. Tonga is Lotu-sized (6’4, 340), and excels vs the rush. In 2018, he had 30 Tackles, 2 sacks, and 4.5 Tackles for Loss, but like Lotulelei, his main function is to keep LBs clean. Factoid: The last 3 iDLs brought in by McBeane played NT in college, not 3T (Horrible Harry, Jordan Phillips, and Ed Oliver). Tonga even played FB on goal-to-go. I’m not a fan of Cole McDonald, who I saw in the MWC Championship. I think we have 3 QBs on the roster better than he. Matt Bushman impresses as a versatile TE. Here, he shows he’s a downfield problem for DBs. Cedric Byrd at 175 lbs is the Smurfiest of Smurfs, but his 8 TDs in two games got my attention. The Slot/pick move here might remind you of Isabella or Bills PS’er WR Nick Easley.

December 26

===> Independence Bowl—- Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.)
4 p.m. | ESPN
L’Jarius Sneed Louisiana Tech CB
Shaquille Quarterman Miami ILB
Jonathan Garvin Miami EDGE
—won’t play
DeeJay Dallas Miami RB
Trevon Hill Miami EDGE
—won’t play
Romeo Finley Miami SS
Jeff Thomas Miami WR
—won’t play
If ILB Shaquille Quarterman plays, he’s worth a watch. Otherwise, you may skip the Independence Bowl (thus showing your independence). The wrap-up ILB played alongside Vontae Johnson, who’s on the Bills’ IR, but could be a big factor in next year’s training camp. At one point in late summer, Quarterman was Kiper’s No. 2 inside linebacker. Quarterman has the second-most games played (Bills’ brass look for this), and the second-most tackles by a ‘backer in this draft. Bills didn’t scout Miami this year, so maybe they expect him to go too early for them to draft ILB.

===> Quick Lane Bowl—- Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh
8 p.m. | ESPN
Kevin McGill Eastern Michigan CB
Patrick Jones II* Pittsburgh EDGE
Damar Hamlin Pittsburgh SS
A.J. Davis Pittsburgh RB
Dane Jackson Pittsburgh CB
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh QB

Beane and Company may look to Pitt as scouts were there this year. Patrick Jones was Pittsburgh’s second-leading tackler in last year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl vs Stanford. Jones logged 5 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble in that game. I’d watch both McGill and Dane Jackson at CB, too. McGill is an excellent ,tall, screen defender with an extremely low passer rating when targeted. Dane Jackson is smaller, but has been very productive for Pitt. He’s an excellent tackler (14 PBU in 2018, 1 INT/12 PBU this season).

December 27

===> Pinstripe Bowl—- Michigan State vs. Wake Forest
3:20 p.m. | ESPN
Kenny Willekes Michigan State DE43
Raequan Williams Michigan State iDL
David Dowell Michigan State FS
Joe Bachie Michigan State ILB
Brian Lewerke Michigan State QB
Josiah Scott Michigan State CB
Essang Bassey Wake Forest CB
Carlos Basham Wake Forest EDGE
Cade Carney Wake Forest RB

Two scouts were at the Michigan State-Ohio State game, but no word on if they were Beane and Schoen. Who were they looking at? EDGE Kenny Willekes (1 tkl, 6 asst) is a fit as a RD2 rusher, who’s in the top 5 in career sacks with 22. He has more upside than some of the Day 2 rushers. Raequan Williams (5 tkl, 3 asst) is also likely RD2, and also has plenty of upside. He has what the McBeane braintrust looks for. He’s a team-first player, a co-captain, and has 48 games played on a good run-defensive team. Raequan’s fit is huge –especially if he somehow got to RD3 like Harrison Phillips did. Day 3 is where I’d look for competition for Tremaine Edmunds’ backup role, and I really like ILB Joe Bachie (6 tkl, 5 asst, 2 sacks in the scouted game vs the Buckeyes) .I have him in RD4 right now. Another favorite player here is David Dowell at FS. He is an excellent communicator, a hard worker, and he never missed a practice. He’s one of those guys who practices at full-go, then sprints to the weight room, then will race you to the film room. McDermott will covet this kid. I have him at RD3#88 –exactly where the Bills would pick as I write this.

===> Texas Bowl—- No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
6:45 p.m. | ESPN
Chuba Hubbard Oklahoma St RB
Tylan Wallace Oklahoma State WR
A.J. Green Oklahoma State CB
Marcus Keyes Oklahoma St G

While I’ll hear arguments for Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace at playmaker spots, I think the best fit is CB A.J. Green as early as RD4. Green has been a 3-year starter with 31 games notched on his bandolier, preventing touchdowns and making INTs. We’ll see which OK State player gets invited to 1 Bills Drive. RB Chuba Hubbard is 6-1, 207, 4.3 forty; Singletary is 5-7, 203, 4.66 forty. While Hubbard has the height and speed, I think they’d prefer one of the scouted RBs in that 215-230 lb. range who still has <4.5 juice and some receiving chops (J.K. Dobbins, Jonathan Taylor, Tavien Feaster, Lamical Perine, A.J. Davis). Hubbard and un-scouted RBs D’Andre Swift, Kylin Hill, and Michael Warren II round out the possibilities.

===> Holiday Bowl—- No. 16 Iowa vs. No. 22 USC
8 p.m. | FS1
Tristan Wirfs Iowa OT
A.J. Epenesa Iowa EDGE
Alaric Jackson Iowa OT
Michael Ojemudia Iowa CB
Nate Stanley Iowa QB
Austin Jackson USC OT
Michael Pittman Jr. USC WR
Justin Houston, Jr. USC WILB
Christian Rector USC DE
Brandon Pili USC iDL

I have a good feeling that the Bills are interested in both of these schools’ players. Scouts for the Bills went to Iowa games three times. One scout was at Iowa 30, Rutgers 0; then Beane and Schoen saw Michigan 10, Iowa 3. Two scouts followed up at Purdue 26, Iowa 20. In addition, Beane saw USC 35, Colorado 31 (maybe for Shenault), so both schools have been on the Bills’ radar. My most-likely-a-Bill might be CB Michael Ojemudia. He had been a hard-hitting S/LB hybrid in high school, then converted to CB, and got a hammy, was relegated to nickel. But Ojemudia still mentored the young CB room because he’s a team player, with great leadership and smarts. He has a thick build and long arms at 6’1″. Most importantly, Ojemudia had the lowest passer rating when targeted among FBS CBs. He might be there RD2#56, or be a short trade-up like Cody Ford was. The OTs from Iowa will get a lot of attention during the draft season, and A.J. Epenesa at EDGE matches draft position with a long-term need. Michael Pittman, Jr. needs a dominant game, and to do that, USC’s OT Austin Jackson needs to provide time. The Bills could use one more OLB via the draft, and Justin Houston, Jr.can play any of our LB roles. Currently an ILB, Houston has sideline-to-sideline speed, and has improved the most on getting off blocks. Physical, smart, disciplined. Good fit.

December 28

===> Camping World Bowl—- No. 15 Notre Dame vs. Iowa State
Noon | ABC
Julian Okwara Notre Dame EDGE
Tommy Kraemer Notre Dame G
Alohi Gilman Notre Dame FS
Chase Claypool Notre Dame WR
Liam Eichenberg Notre Dame OT
Jalen Elliott Notre Dame SS
Khalid Kareem Notre Dame EDGE
Tony Jones, Jr. Notre Dame RB
Daelin Hayes Notre Dame EDGE
Troy Pride Jr. Notre Dame CB
Asmar Bilal Notre Dame LB
Greg Eisworth Iowa State SS
Ray Lima Iowa State iDL
Chase Allen Iowa State TE
JaQuan Bailey Iowa State EDGE

I have no sources saying that the Bills scouts visited Iowa State, but the Bills’ attention over the last 2 years on Notre Dame continues. And for good reason. Need an EDGE? How about Julian Okwara in RD1-2,Khalid Kareem in RD4-5, and Daelin Hayes (if he declares) later on Day 3? Need O-Line help? Liam Eichenberg at Tackle and Tommy Kraemer at Guard can do that. Back 4 on D? Sure, FS Alohi Gilman fits the persona of the Bills, and SS Jalen Elliott has four years –43 games– of Safety experience, and he’s headed to the Senior Bowl after this game. Both Gilman and Elliott are co-captains with Kareem.

===> Cotton Bowl Classic—- No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 17 Memphis
Noon | ESPN
Yetur Gross-Matos Penn State SSDE
Steven Gonzalez Penn State G
K.J. Hamler Penn State WR
Garrett Taylor Penn State SS
Cam Brown Penn State OLB
Robert Windsor Penn St iDL
Patrick Taylor Jr. Memphis RB
Bryce Huff Memphis OLB/ILB
Damonte Coxie Memphis WR
Joey Magnifico Memphis TE

An arm injury could keep EDGE rusher Gross-Matos out of the Cotton Bowl Classic. I hope not, because he’s in my “Pick-Six” a lot. Reach, speed to close, good club move, competent edge-setter, moves blockers away like rag dolls. Pegula’s alma mater. K.J. Hamler is a slot WR with 4.3 speed, moves and contact balance. He averaged 25.4 ypc against AP-ranked teams last season. More important, he returns kicks and is a punt-return specialist. Get him in space and he’s an Andy Isabella. If he’s hit by a strong safety, he’s the rag doll. Steven Gonzalez is one of only three guards I’d draft into this offensive line (Kindley and Dotson). I think we’re good at Guard. Big Cam Brown, who is PSU’s defensive captain, and Memphis traffic cop Bryce Huff (39 TFLs in 43 games) are dueling LB candidates in this game.

===> Peach Bowl (CFP semifinal)— No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
4 p.m. | ESPN
Joe Burrow LSU QB
Grant Delpit LSU SS
Rashard Lawrence LSU iDL
Kristian Fulton LSU CB
Michael Divinity Jr. LSU ILB/OLB
Lloyd Cushenberry LSU C
Justin Jefferson LSU WR
K’Lavon Chaisson LSU OLB/DE
Breiden Fehoko LSU iDL
Clyde Edwards-Helaire LSU RB
Jacob Phillips LSU ILB
Saahdiq Charles LSU OT
Patrick Queen LSU ILB
CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma WR
Jalen Hurts Oklahoma QB
Kenneth Murray Oklahoma OLB/ILB
Neville Gallimore Oklahoma iDL
Marquise Overton Oklahoma iDL
Parnell Motley Oklahoma CB

There are very few QBs I’d move heaven and earth for, because I love Josh Allen. Joe Burrow is one. That said, I have several more-realistic choices in this epic game. SS Grant Delpit would still require a trade-up, but the fit is tremendous. An outstanding athlete and team-first young man, but is a TE Eraser (I forget who said that, but it’s true). Delpit exudes toughness, is a hard worker, and an outstanding athlete who lays the lavender with textbook tackles and ball-popping, fumble-forcing shots. The Bills will like his team-first spirit, his toughness, and hard-working attitude. Tre White will like the team he’s from. CeeDee Lamb is a RD1 pipe dream who’ll be fun to watch. LB Kenneth Murray, though, is a very real possibility in Buffalo. The son of a minister (fantastic story) , Murray is patient, competitive, determined, polite, compassionate (until he steps over the side line), and he has an amazing work ethic that shows nonstop, in the weight room and in the film room. My pet cat is EDGE rusher Breiden Fehoko. You can read my backstory about LSU’s unsung hero and his amazing family here. A powerful bull rush, ridiculous get-off speed and power, versatility to move inside, and son of Vili The Warrior. BillsMafia needs to dance the Haka It’s the next step after breaking tables..

===> Fiesta Bowl (CFP semifinal)— No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
8 p.m. | ESPN
Chase Young Ohio State EDGE
Jeffrey Okudah Ohio State CB
Malik Harrison Ohio State OLB
J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Jordan Fuller Ohio State FS
Shaun Wade Ohio State CB
Luke Farrell Ohio State TE
Damon Arnette Ohio State CB
Binjimen Victor Ohio State WR
Jonathon Cooper Ohio State EDGE
K.J. Hill Ohio State WR
Pete Werner Ohio State OLB
Thayer Munford Ohio State OT
Davon Hamilton Ohio State iDL
Robert Landers Ohio State iDL
Isaiah Simmons Clemson S/OLB
Tee Higgins Clemson WR
Travis Etienne Clemson RB
A.J. Terrell Clemson CB
Tanner Muse Clemson SS/OLB
John Simpson Clemson G
Gage Cervenka Clemson C
Sean Pollard Clemson C/G/T
K’Von Wallace Clemson FS
Tremayne Anchrum Clemson G

While I will enjoy The Revenge Game live, I will record it to re-watch several players in this contest. Clemson wasn’t scouted by the Bills this year, so let’s focus on the Buckeyes. FS Jordan Fuller is a team captain who made the right decision to return this season…he’s a great leader, super smart, flies around to the football, is reliable, athletic, and experienced. He’s always in the right spot. Poyer and Hyde are in full flower, but you plant the seeds now at both positions. At Free Safety, it’ll be Fuller, Xavier McKinney, Julian Blackmon, Antoine Winfield, Jr., Kyle Dugger, Alohi Gilman or David Dowell. CB Jeffrey Okudah is my top corner. Okudah gets added points for a new coach, a new scheme, as well as being mature, humble, hardworking, and self-motivated. He constantly seems to be playing at a higher RPM than his opponent. This letter to hiis Mom tells you all you need to know about his heart. I expect him to go top 10. OLB/ILB Malik Harrison would be a splendid third linebacker over the next decade if he’s there at RD2. For Clemson, WR Tee Higgins led my top 25 wide receivers this year in YPC with 20.9. He’s the tallest of my top 10 WRs, but two (Shenault and Nico Collins) outweigh Higgins by 20 pounds. I’m a fan of WR K.J. Hill (6-0, 198, 4.42), who’s now the OSU all-time receptions leader. He’s done it with excellent hands, using blockers well, and getting separation with crisp cuts. If I take a Center to back up Mitch Morse, I’d look at C Gage Cervenka (6-3,325). A former D-Lineman, Cervenka has a workhorse attitude in the gym, and incredibly strong. He can bench 225 over 40 times, which I’d love to watch at the Combine. His hand strength is legendary, so if he locks on, you’re out of the play. Clemson boasts the third-best offensive line in the nation. Watch Auburn’s iDL Davon Hamilton

December 30

===> Music City Bowl—- Louisville vs. Mississippi State
4 p.m. | ESPN
Mekhi Becton Louisville OT
T.J. McCoy Louisville C
Darryl Williams Mississippi State C
Cameron Dantzler Mississippi State CB
Stephen Guidry Mississippi State WR
Kylin Hill Mississippi State RB
Brian Cole Mississippi State NCB/S
C.J. Morgan Mississippi State FS
Greg Eiland Mississippi State OT

Last June, I made a short list of Tackles in the draft I think fit the Bills‘ power-blocking scheme, and the A-ranked fits after 6 months of play are largely the same. Louisville OT Mekhi Becton (mick-HIGH”) is the most mammoth of those. Affable locker room guy, and energetic, he was the best pass-blocker in the ACC as a freshman. Watch him turn Okwara here and you see why: tremendous arm strength. This year Becton was the highest-graded run-blocking tackle per PFF (73.7), allowing 6 pressures over 312 snaps. Our last O-Lineman from Louisville, Eric Wood, would approve. I don’t think the Centers have the sand in their pants for the Bills’ scheme, and the position isn’t likely drafted on Day 1 or Day 2, where they’ll find a team. While he wasn’t scouted, WR Stephen Guidry has qualities the Bills still need: height (6-4), speed (4.38), yards vs. AP-ranked teams (29.2, the highest of my top 50 WRs), toe-drag swag, and separation. OT Greg Eiland is one of the 4 biggest Tackles. His first full year starting full-time was 2018, but, because Martinas Rankin was out the previous season due to injury, he filled in at LT before that. You’ll see his physicality, but you might also see that footwork that loses to outside speed rushers. According to this thread, he likes chips and pancakes. As long as the chips slow down a rusher and the pancakes are made on the second level.

===> Redbox Bowl—- California vs. Illinois
4 p.m. | FOX
Evan Weaver California ILB
Ashtyn Davis California SS
Jaylinn Hawkins California FS
Reggie Corbin Illinois RB

A Bills scout at the Cal game vs Oregon saw Strong Safety Ashtyn Davis lead the defense with 7 tackles and an INT, while ILB Evan Weaver had 5 tackles. I’d keep an eye on both of them here. Right now, I have Weaver in RD5 (Bills have 2 picks there), and Davis being drafted RD5-6. Remember, half of the Bills’ 10 picks are those 2 rounds. Bills didn’t scout Illinois, but RB Reggie Corbin‘s start-stop ability is impressive. He reminds me a little of LeSean McCoy. Both are shifty, explosive runners with receiving ability. The cutback ability will surely remind you of LeSean. Corbin had the top YPC vs AP-ranked teams in 2018 at 8.0 ypc. His numbers fell off this year due to a hip pointer.

===> Orange Bowl—- No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia
8 p.m. | ESPN
C.J.Henderson Florida CB—won’t play
Jonathan Greenard Florida EDGE
Jabari Zuniga Florida EDGE
Lamical Perine Florida RB
David Reese II Florida ILB
Brad Stewart Florida FS
Bryce Hall Virginia CB
Hasise Dubois Virginia WR
Charles Snowden Virginia OLB

Florida wasn’t scouted by the Bills this year, but definitely was last year with the selection of LB Vosean Joseph (RD5#147). Vosean’s former teammate, LB David Reese II, is worth watching, although he had a quieter year without his sidekick. I would watch two of the FBS’s best EDGE rushers in Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. Greenard’s the TFL guy, heavier, averaging over 1 TFL per game over his career. Zuniga’s the lighter sack-man who’s had success getting home against quarterbacks. CB Bryce Hall was atop many draft sites’ positional boards this summer, but his 2019 injury likely dropped him a bit. Hall led the FBS in PBU in 2018 with 21, but still returned for his senior year. Beane will love him; he’s the ultimate team player and a warrior on the field. Watch two plays here, first the INT and then the sack by the Cavalier. Just as Devin Singletary’s “Missed Tackles Forced” put him on Beane’s radar, bigger back Lamical Perine (5-11, 218, 4.48) forced 78 missed tackles by defenders over his four years. Perine’s coach at Florida has a connection to the Bills. It’s current RB Coach Kelly Skipper’s younger brother, Tim. I expect Perine to be in the RD4-5A range. He’s an excellent receiver, with 67 career receptions, 35 of which were in 2019.

December 31

===> Sun Bowl—- Arizona State vs. Florida State
2 p.m. | CBS
Brandon Aiyuk Arizona State WR—won’t play
Eno Benjamin Arizona St RB
—won’t play
Zach Robertson Arizona St OT
Cam Akers Florida St RB
—won’t play
Hamsah Nasirildeen Florida St S/LB
Levonta Taylor Florida St CB
Joshua Kaindoh Florida St WSDE
Marvin Wilson Florida St iDL

Without Aiyuk playing, and some Seminole injuries, this one won’t be as fun. Hamsah Nasirildeen is that prototype Safety-Linebacker hybrid Sean McDermott likes, but the assumption is he will return to FSU. If he declares, expect him to be in the convo with Day 3 fits like ‘Cuse’s Kendall Coleman and Gamecocks’ D.J. Wonnum. If the Bills bring in a RT from Day 3 rather than a LT from Day 1, I hope they look at RT Zach Robertson #51 here. He blocked for Kalen Ballage, has a quick get-off, gets nice and low, and stays square to his target. At times, though, he seemed lost on whom to block at the 2nd level.

===> Arizona Bowl—-Georgia State vs. Wyoming
4:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Dan Ellington Georgia State QB
Alijah Halliburton Wyoming SS
Logan Wilson Wyoming ILB

My bet here is on Alijah Halliburton, who leads FBS safeties in tackles this year with 119. Alijah was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week following his performance against Missouri The only drawback is experience; only 1 season as the full-time starter at strong safety. He was subbed in when injuries moved Epps to FS. My favorite player in the game is ILB Logan Wilson, who quarterbacked the defense while Josh Allen was quarterbacking the offense. As the MIKE backer in a 4-3, Wilson has had 360+ career tackles. Wanna see split-second decisiveness? Watch this. Here, on another play, he shows that double-A-gap blitz the Bills run. He’s going to the Senior Bowl, too. We need a Wyo Cowboy on the defense.

===> Alamo Bowl—- No. 11 Utah vs. Texas
7:30 p.m. | ESPN
Jaylon Johnson Utah CB—won’t play
Julian Blackmon Utah FS/CB
Bradlee Anae Utah EDGE
Terrell Burgess Utah CB
John Penisini Utah iDL
Zack Moss Utah RB
Brandon Jones Texas FS
Sam Ehlinger Texas QB
Devin Duvernay Texas WR—shoulder injury
Collin Johnson Texas WR
Zach Shackelford Texas C

Terrell Burgess is awesome, so I’m kind of glad that Jaylon Johnson won’t play in this one. It will give Burgess the chance to show his awesomeness on a bigger stage. FS/CB Julian Blackmon could boost his draft stock the most with a good game vs Collin Johnson & Company. I’d characterize him as athletic, strong, tough vs run, a notoriously hard worker, and driven from within. He just oozes Process. I’m willing to bet that Bradlee Anae (6’3/265) is on the Bills’ short list at EDGE rusher, along with Gross-Matos, Kenny Willekes, Curtis Weaver, Alton Robinson, and Patrick Jones II. iDL John Penisini in RD5 would be nice; I don’t think the Bills would take a 3-tech DT before that, and Penisini’s strong, athletic, has the motor, big tree-trunk arms, and a dose of on-field nastiness to go with a great off-field personality. That’s what’s in the Bills’ D-Line room now. Texas has gone unscouted for a second-straight year. I like FS Brandon Jones the most.

Jan. 1, 2020

===> Citrus Bowl—- No. 13 Alabama vs. No. 14 Michigan
1 p.m. | ABC
Tua Tagovailoa Alabama QB
Jerry Jeudy Alabama WR
Alex Leatherwood Alabama OT
Xavier McKinney Alabama FS
Henry Ruggs Alabama WR
Raekwon Davis Alabama iDL
Trevon Diggs Alabama CB/PR/KR
Najee Harris Alabama RB
Jedrick Wills Alabama OT
Anfernee Jennings Alabama EDGE
DeVonta Smith Alabama WR
Terrell Lewis Alabama SLB
Matt Womack Alabama G
Khaleke Hudson Michigan OLB/S
Donovan Peoples-Jones Michigan WR
Nico Collins Michigan WR
Josh Metellus Michigan SS
Joshua Uche Michigan SLB/DE
Ben Bredeson Michigan G
Lavert Hill Michigan CB
Jon Runyan Michigan OT
Tarik Black Michigan WR
Shea Patterson Michigan QB
Michael Onwenu Michigan G
Cesar Ruiz Michigan C
Sean McKeon Michigan TE
Mike Danna Michigan EDGE

Whoah! Anybody staying behind after the draft? My fave in the top five there is FS Xavier McKinney; he’s a playmaker extraordinaire. More the Jordan Poyer of the group, he was recently dubbed Matt Miller’s Best Free Safety. He’s the textbook definition of “wrap-up tackler”, and that’s very important for the Bills. McKinney is a gregarious teammate, an able blitzer, but also tempers the killer instinct with vision, awareness, and football smarts. Don’t be dumb, don’t be dirty. Xavier is neither. Of the next five, I’d take RB Najee Harris. He’s always in my mock drafts. On Michigan, I’d draft OLB/S Khaleke Hudson for McDermott’s Shaq Thompson type player, especially if I get him in RD4 like I did here. I’d take WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (6-2, 208, 4.4) for his basketball background, because his extra-long arms gives him a wiiiiide catch radius. And everybody loves a little YAC Magic. He’d also be my punt returner down the line. Finally, I’d take WR Nico Collins because I want one of the “Big Five” from this draft: Collins (6-4, 222), Gandy-Golden (6-4, 220), Claypool (6-4, 227), Michael Pittman (6-4, 215), or Laviska Shenault (6-2, 220). Collins had the best YPC vs AP-ranked teams of them all.

===> Outback Bowl—- No. 12 Auburn vs. No. 18 Minnesota
1 p.m. | ESPN
Derrick Brown Auburn iDL
Nick Coe Auburn WSDE
Marlon Davidson Auburn EDGE
Prince Tega Wanogho Auburn OT
Jeremiah Dinson Auburn FS
Javarius Davis Auburn CB
Antoine Winfield, Jr. Minnesota FS
Carter Coughlin Minnesota EDGE
Rodney Smith Minnesota RB
Kamal Martin Minnesota RB
–won’t play
Tyler Johnson Minnesota WR
Thomas Barber Minnesota LB

Auburn wasn’t scouted, but Minnesota was, and they showed up at home vs Penn State, beating them 31-26. In that game, Minnesota’s Stars were FS Antoine Winfield (9 tkl, 2 asst, 2 INT) , and EDGE Carter Coughlin (4 tkl, 4 asst, 1 sack). Those are the two prospects I’d be paying close attention to on defense for the Gophers. I have Winfield’s father’s jersey, so it’d be a win-win. For Auburn on defense, watch weakside DE Nick Coe. Versatile and fierce, Coe could be a power left end who also moves inside. McDermott will love another wrestler on his D-Line, and Coe won two state championships and three national championships at Asheboro High. Before the game, read this great story of Coe’s second family that got him where he is.

===> Rose Bowl Game—- No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
5 p.m. | ESPN
Justin Herbert Oregon QB
Calvin Throckmorton Oregon OTOG
Jake Breeland Oregon TE
Thomas Graham Jr. Oregon CB
Troy Dye Oregon ILB
Shane Lemieux Oregon G
Jake Hanson Oregon C
Juwan Johnson Oregon WR
Jordon Scott Oregon iDL
Austin Faoliu Oregon iDL
Tyler Biadasz Wisconsin C
Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB
Cole Van Lanen Wisconsin OT
Zack Baun Wisconsin LB
Chris Orr Wisconsin OLB

Oregon players had two Bills visits in 2019, the Oregon 17, Cal 7 game (1 scout) and the Oregon 45, Colorado 3 game a week later, which could have had Beane and Schoen in attendance. In both games, TE Jake Breeland led all pass-catchers. CB Deommodore Lenoir was the top defender in one game, with 4 tackles and an assist. Thomas Graham, Lenoir’s bookend CB, was badly beaten for the only TD vs Cal, but he was a top tackler in the Colorado game. OT Calvin Throckmorton is wicked smart and versatile. Few players in the draft can start at four different offensive line spots.

===> Sugar Bowl—- No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor
8:45 p.m. | ESPN
Andrew Thomas Georgia LT —won’t play, declared for draft
Jake Fromm Georgia QB
D’Andre Swift Georgia RB
—won’t play
Solomon Kindley Georgia G
Ben Cleveland Georgia G

Brian Herrien Georgia RB
Charlie Woerner Georgia TE

Isaiah Wilson Georgia RT
Tyler Clark Georgia DL1T

Monty Rice Georgia ILB
Tae Crowder Georgia ILB
J.R. Reed Georgia SS
Richard LeCounte Georgia FS

Rodrigo Blankenship Georgia PK
Denzel Mims Baylor WR
JaMycal Hasty Baylor RB
Chris Miller Baylor FS
Clay Johnston Baylor LB
— out for season
QB Jake Fromm’s stock has dropped following an underwhelming SEC Championship Game, but he’s likely drafted Day 2. OG Solomon Kindley’s also a name we’ll hear on Friday night, along with seven other hulking power-blockers (Gonzalez, Lemieux, Dotson. Bredeson, Womack, Stenberg, and Lavaka). Kindley has impressive dexterity for his mammoth size, so he can pull or push that pile in the run game. His improvement in pass protection this year has been the most noticeable improvement. While he’s not svelte at 335 pounds, he’s dropped 30 lbs of ugly fat since coming to Athens. Watch both Georgia Safeties against Baylor’s WR Denzel Mims. Then draft the winner. Since Georgia runs a 3-4, I’d steer toward offense and the back end of that D. You’d like the heart and dependability of RB Brian Herrien, and he’s quicker than his 4.55 timed forty would purport. He makes up for his forty with nifty spin moves, quickness, and vision, He’s played on special teams as the KR=>, hard work.

Jan. 3

===> Birmingham Bowl—- No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Boston College
3 p.m. | ESPN  
Michael Warren II Cincinnati RB
A.J. Dillon Boston College RB
—won’t play
Ben Petrula Boston College OT

We should annually thank Boston College for giving us Matt Milano. There, I’ve said it. Without A.J. Dillon, the game has less of a luster, but Cincinnati’s unscouted RB, Michael “Truck” Warren II (5-11, 218, 4.34), is a Gore-type back that I believe the Bills should look into as a complement to “Motor” Singletary. A strong between-the-tackles runner, Truck’s very productive, runs low, and his excellent lateral agility is almost a dance. He has speed, has the legit jump-cut move, and is a better receiver than Najee Harris. There, I’ve said it. OT Ben Petrula won’t go early in the draft, but I think he sleeper potential in a very strong Tackle draft. He’s versatile (RT, C, LT), smart (Carroll School of Management as a finance major), and a NJ native. Petrula has a very strong mental game and has outstanding work ethic. He was 3rd in the ACC in run-blocking (Mekhi Becton, Bo Scaife), and Petrula’s OL gave up the fewest sacks in the ACC. Maybe we can thank Boston College again some day.

===> Gator Bowl—- Indiana vs. Tennessee
7 p.m. | ESPN
Marcelino Ball Indiana SS
Darrell Taylor Tennessee EDGE
Trey Smith Tennessee OT
Marquez Callaway Tennessee WR
Jauan Jennings Tennessee WR
Daniel Bituli Tennessee OLB
Ty Chandler Tennessee RB
Aubrey Solomon Tennessee iDL
Nigel Warrior Tennessee S/NCB

No scout visits again this year for either team, but there are some players worth a watch. Tennessee is on a five-game winning streak after a horrendous start, and players credit seniors Jauan Jennings, Nigel Warrior, and Daniel Bituli for that turnaround, WR/PR Marquez Callaway (6’2/204) got an NFLPA invite, and needs to show separation and speed. He has the YPC working for him, more than 21 yards per catch. WR Jauan Jennings (6’3/221) is taller and, though not as fast as Callaway, he caught twice as many passes this year. Both are frequent captains. The Bills are also looking for Safeties in the draft, and SS Marcelino Ball (he’s on Bruce Feldman’s “freaks” list) is a difficult projection. Ball led the Big10 in coverage stops, per PFF, but mental errors might drop him to late Day 3. You just know some cocky GM will take him earlier with his Takeo Spikes-sized neck. OLB Daniel Bituli has led the Vols in tackles three years straight, if I’m not mistaken, and is joining Callaway at the NFLPA Bowl. He should demonstrate his tackling ability on special teams as well in these games, to prove he should be a mid-Day-3 selection.

Jan. 4

===> Armed Forces Bowl—- Southern Miss vs. Tulane
11:30 a.m. | ESPN
Quez Watkins Southern Miss WR
Patrick Johnson Tulane EDGE
Darius Bradwell Tulane RB
Darnell Mooney Tulane WR
Corey Dauphine Tulane RB

This is a battle between two schools the Bills didn’t scout, but there are some intriguing reasons to watch. Southern Miss WR Quez Watkins, 6-2, 190, is a deep threat with 4.4 speed, and reminds me of a triple-mix of Robert Foster’s speed, Duke Williams’ grit, and Cole Beasley’s affability . Quez has jukes and YAC, with an electrifying 18.6 ypc this year. He’s 9th in receiving yards (1,024) this year. He works his magic best in the open field with that second gear, and is an affable locker room presence. RB Darius Bradwell (6-1, 230, 4.48) has the size the Bills need to complement Singletary, and that “team-over-me” mentality. You see the gleam in his eye that speaks volumes. A former QB, Bradwell has football intelligence, quick uptake, grit and grind. He’s my sleeper pick for the Bills in RD5-6. Diminutive WR Darnell Mooney (5-11, 175, 4.41) is this year’s Nick Easley/Cole Beasley waterbug slot type. He’ll kill it at the three-cone this year if he’s invited. Though small, Mooney made the Biletnikoff Watch List because of his Top 5 YPC vs AP-ranked teams in 2018: 19.3 yards per catch. Watch his zigzags.That’s not booing you hear; it’s “Mooooney!” If he comes to the Bills (RD6#201ish), this Smurf will get onto that field. RB Corey Dauphine has a 8.1 ypc average, but no receptions in 3 years.

Jan. 6

===> LendingTree Bowl—- Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Miami (Ohio)
7:30 p.m. | ESPN
Robert Hunt Louisiana – Lafayette OT
The Draft Network just wrote a great article about Hunt. It’s stories like these that make sports worth writing about, reading about, and believing in. Give it a read. RT #50 on this play. Hunt was voted 2nd-Team PFF Mid-Season All American Team, but may be a better Guard than a Tackle. The redshirt senior has three years’ worth of starting experience, with two seasons at RT.

Jan. 13

College Football Playoff National Championship Game
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
8 p.m. | ESPN
Ohio State and LSU is my guess, with at least 1-2 Bills picks/PFA’s coming from those two teams . Let’s hear from you in the comments below!