Week 3 of Bowl Games was a wild one. With the college football playoff and New Years Day Bowls, there was plenty of offense and some big defensive play. Since Bowl Games have so many variables (coaching changes, players opting out, motivation, etc) we will focus on who is helping themselves through these games and saw their stock go up.
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Dean was the star of the Georgia defense in every type of role imaginable. He flew around in coverage, especially in the red zone, breaking out potential passes. The Dawgs used him as a pass rusher at times against Michigan resulting in a sack. He played downhill against the run and blew up some runs quickly. It was a good Orange Bowl and playoff game from the Georgia defense who now turn their attention to Alabama. Dean’s instincts and versatility make him a first round pick and potentially the first LB off the board.
Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma
Brooks may not be the ideal NFL RB candidate due to his lack of speed and agility, but he has had an amazing college career. Now with 3 seasons over 1000 yards, Brooks was a consistent producer for Oklahoma. In his final game at the Alamo Bowl, he slashed the Oregon defense for 142 yards and 3 TDs on 14 rushes. He also had the 2nd most catches in a game for his entire career with 3. Brooks should be an intriguing Day 3 option who could sneak into Day 2 if a team buys into the production.
Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
Goodrich was potentially the difference in the Cheez-It Bowl with a Pick-6 on Iowa State’s Brock Purdy being the biggest play of the game. Not only was this big the play a reason for his stock to go up, but he was sticky in coverage throughout the game and showed good instincts with the ball in the area. Goodrich will be attending the Senior Bowl this year and should be able to turn some heads and keep his stock up.
Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
Salyer is a versatile prospect having played all 5 positions on the Offensive Line throughout his career, but his work as the LT in this game was phenomenal. After missing a few games this season with a foot injury, Salyer worked his way back to health. He looked plenty healthy against Michigan’s pass rushing tandem of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo though, easily handling whichever was lined up against him. Salyer isn’t the lightest on his feet, but his hand placement and upper body strength, even when off balance, was excellent in the Orange Bowl playoff game. We have him listed as a Guard, but a team could take him at OT easily. Huge Stock Up for the Senior Bowl participant and a good shot at Round 2 or even late Round 1.
Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
Jones has talent a backseat to Junior WR Cedric Tillman for most of the season, but Jones proved in the Music City Bowl why he is a good prospect in his own right. 10 catches for 85 yards and a TD helped the Volunteers keep pace and get to Overtime where they unfortunately lost. Jones is a physical WR off the line of scrimmage and was making contested catches with ease against Purdue. Add in special teams ability and you have an underrated WR. The Senior Bowl should be a big opportunity for him to make a statement.
Connor Heyward, TE, Michigan State
Heyward is in the newer breed of H-Back who should be a versatile weapon in the NFL. Brother of Pittsburgh Steeler Cameron Heyward and son of “Ironhead” Heyward, Connor flashed his receiving ability in this one with a clutch TD to help the Spartans get the Peach Bowl victory. He also showed some good blocking ability in-line and from the backfield. For NFL teams that use an H-Back type FB, Heyward could prove to be a Day 3 value.
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
Foskey is unlikely to declare for the NFL Draft, but he certainly turned some heads in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State. Foskey got a key sack in the game and was active at setting the edge, especially in the first half. He led the Irish in sacks with 11 for the season and whether he is in the 2022 or 2023 draft, Foskey should be a key EDGE player and his stock is rising.
Tay Martin, WR, Oklahoma State
Martin, who will be attending the Shrine Game, was absolutely dominant against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Martin’s 10 catches for 104 yards and 3 touchdowns was eye popping. He had plenty of contested catches where he was able to turn, find the ball, and make the catch even when not in the best position. Even if he isn’t the biggest or fastest WR, expect Martin to be drafted late and contribute in the NFL.
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