NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

North Texas and Troy don’t have a long list of NFL alumni, but they do have some superstar defensive linemen. “Mean” Joe Greene graduated from North Texas while Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware honed their skills at Troy. There likely isn’t that good of talent coming out of these schools this year, but there are still some to keep on the radar when the NFL Draft approaches. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:

Troy Trojans:

Brandon Silvers, QB

NFL Draft Prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Brandon Silvers (Photo by independentmail.com)

Silvers is a quarterback that has a lot of experience under his belt at Troy. Last season he threw for over 3,000 yards and could do so again this season with a big game. He is most known for being accurate and doesn’t really stretch the field too much. Silvers also doesn’t throw for many touchdowns, which will likely mean he is in the mold of a game manager quarterback.

At 6’3″ and 213 pounds, Silvers has a good sized body to get a look from NFL scouts. His main selling points will have to be his size, football intelligence, accuracy and experience. If a team likes what they see out of him, they may take him in the later rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Jordan Chunn, RB

In the biggest game of his life, Chunn delivered. When the Troy Trojans upset LSU, Chunn was a major reason why. He rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown against a good SEC defense. That will get scouts to start watching. After that game he slowed down, and missed some time, finishing with under 800 yards. He did manage to finish the season averaging five yards a carry.

Chunn is a big, physical runner that is tough to bring down. He stands 6’1″ tall and weighs in at 235 pounds. The power running is good and the fact that he already has an NFL-ready body will help. Speed will be the question with Chunn and he’ll have to run a good 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine.

As with any running back trying to make an NFL roster he’ll have to show he can catch the ball, pass protect and even play special teams.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Kamryn Melton, CB

Melton transferred in from Auburn and helped bring the Trojans’ defense to new heights. He didn’t play at Auburn and came into Troy fresh. Melton was a starter for two seasons for the Trojans.

He has decent enough size at 5’10” for most NFL teams. In his two season at Troy he only had two interceptions and 12 passes defended. At the next level, Melton will have to prove he can play with the big boys. This includes playing corner in the slot and on the outside as well as playing special teams.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

North Texas Mean Green:

Jeffery Wilson, RB

Wilson has been the lead back for the Mean Green this season. He puts up big plays for North Texas with 16 touchdowns and 6.5 yards per carry. In his college career, he has rushed for over 3,000 yards and has a lot of tape for NFL executives to evaluate.

At 6’0″ and 194 pounds, Wilson probably needs to add a little muscle to be an every down back in the NFL. He is seen as a power back by his coaching staff and that signifies that he needs that muscle for the next level. Being a good power runner and pass blocker, Wilson can justify being on the field during third downs. Because of his production, some NFL team will give him a chance.

*Wilson sat out the last two games and may not play in this game.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

Kishawn McClain, S

NFL Draft Prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Kishawn McClain (Photo by meangreensports.com)

McClain has been a three year starter for North Texas in the secondary. He has experience at both corner and safety, but has more recently played safety. In his career McClain has totaled 323 total tackles, six interceptions and eight passes defended for a great start for an NFL scout to look at.

He may be a better fit at free safety/nickel corner in the NFL due to his 5’11” 187 pound frame. McClain has shown the ability to not only cover, but also come up and help in run support. If he can play special teams he could find his way onto an NFL roster.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Trevor Moore, K

Moore is impressive for never missing an extra point in his college career. He also hit over 90% of his kicks this season. While kickers are hard to project, he does seem to have a limited leg. Moore didn’t hit or attempt a field goal of over 50 yards this season. He was very good within 50 yards, with only two field goals missed this season.

In the NFL, Moore will need to show that he has more leg power, but his accuracy is good enough to give him a shot.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

 

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2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl preview

The 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will have teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA conferences squaring off in the Superdome. The North Texas Mean Green and the Troy Trojans will square off in a battle of quality teams from lower end conferences.

Troy Trojans (10-2)

2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview

Blace Brown (Photo by montgomeryadvertiser.com)

Troy lost two games this season by 11 points each. One loss, at Boise State, was acceptable. The other loss, to South Alabama, raised some eyebrows. The Trojans were able to overcome those two losses to share a conference championship with Appalachian State. Beating LSU in Death Valley was the highlight of the season for Troy and they will be looking to cap off the great season with one more win.

Brandon Silvers is the senior quarterback for Troy. He has thrown for 2,985 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. He does have four games with over 300 passing yards, but for the most part just helps the Trojans move the chains. He spreads the ball out to a lot of receivers, seven of which have over 200 receiving yards. Deondre Douglas is Silvers’ best target with 628 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Jordan Chunn is the leading rusher with 774 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed two games this season, which hurt his overall stats. His best game came against LSU, when he rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown. Since then he has slowed down, but he has still managed to average five yards a carry.

The offense is average, but the defense is the reason why this team is so good. The Trojans have the 11th best scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. They specialize in stopping the run and rank 14th in rushing yards allowed. Defensive back Blace Brown helps the turnover margin with his five interceptions.

North Texas Mean Green (9-4)

2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview

Mason Fine (Photo by ndnsports.com)

North Texas is coming off of a loss to Florida Atlantic in the C-USA Championship Game. Florida Atlantic accounted for two of their losses this season, with the other two coming at the hands of Iowa and SMU. It was a pretty successful season for the Mean Green.

The North Texas offense is good. They rank 20th in points scored with 35.9 points per game. Mason Fine leads the offense from his quarterback position with 3,749 yards passing, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He ranks ninth in passing yards in the FBS. He’s just a sophomore and has a bright future ahead. The Mean Green have four receivers with over 500 receiving yards, but Jalen Guyton and Michael Lawrence lead the way with over 700 receiving yards. Guyton has nine touchdowns on the season as well.

There is some balance to the North Texas offense. Their leading running back, Jeffery Wilson, has 1,215 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He helps set up the passing game with his 6.5 yards per carry. He has been injured and missed the last two games, but Nic Smith has been able to fill in well for Wilson. They’ll be in good hands no matter who is in the backfield come game time.

The Mean Green defense leaves a lot to be desired. They allow 33.8 points per game, which is one of the highest amount of points allowed in the country. Their defense allows 208 rushing yards and 223 passing yards per game. They will need someone to step up in this game to help shut down Troy.

Prediction

Troy has proven they can play with the best, even if they can slip up at times. Jordan Chunn will have a big game against a bad rush defense, which will help the Trojans control the clock. With their defense fresh, North Texas won’t be able to be as effective as usual. The Trojans will win the game because of their defense the turnovers they force.

Final score: Troy Trojans 27 North Texas Mean Green 20

 

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2016 Dollar General Bowl Preview

The Mac-East winner Ohio takes on the Troy Trojans in the 2016 Dollar General Bowl in Alabama.

Ohio Bobcats

The Bobcats had a bad loss to Texas State to start the year, but then finished the year at 8-5 and made it to the MAC Championship Game. They had key wins over Miami (OH) and Toledo, both of which are bowl eligible.

Greg Windham and Quinton Maxwell both played quarterback this year and combined for 2,830 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions. They both have bad completion percentages at around 55%. Both players have the capability to run the ball as well to change the game. For this game, both quarterbacks will likely see some action.

Dollar Genral Bowl

Papi White (Photo courtesy: ndnsports.com)

Sebastian Smith and Papi White are the two best targets for the quarterbacks. Smith is a big receiver who plays on the outside. He currently has 877 receiving yards, but only four touchdowns. That isn’t good enough for his size. Papi White is a running back that moves around a lot. With 203 rushing yards and 608 receiving yards he is a key player for the offense.

Ohio has two running backs who have rushed for over 400 yards on the season. Dorian Brown has rushed for 802 yards and four scores. Maleek Irons rushed for 434 yards and 5 touchdowns. Brown has a good yards per carry average at 5.3.

Luckily for Ohio, they have the seventh best rush defense in the country and only allow 105 yards per game on the ground. Unfortunately, they have one of the worst pass defenses in college football and allow 257 yards per game.

Defensive lineman Tarell Basham has 11.5 sacks on the season to be their star. To go with Basham, Ohio boasts one of the best tacklers in college football, Blair Brown, who has 65 solo tackles on the year.

Troy Trojans

The Trojans had a really nice season at 9-3. Their only bad loss came at the hands of Georgia Southern, who can be a tricky team to beat. Troy’s solid wins include USA, Idaho and Appalachian State.

At quarterback, Brandon Silvers has played well. He has 2,945 yards passing on 65% passing. His 22 to 10 touchdown to interception ratio is also solid, as he will have to prove he doesn’t turn the ball over often with Basham pressuring him.

Silvers has three receivers with over five touchdowns: Emanuel Thompson (five), Deondre Douglas (six) and Tevaris McCormick (five). Thompson is the leader in yardage with 737 yards, but all three are valuable targets for Silvers.

Dollar General Bowl

Jordan Chunn (Photo courtesy: zimbio.com)

Jordan Chunn has had a great season for the Trojans in the run game. 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns. His yard per carry average of 4.8 could be a little higher, but is still good enough.

With their offense scoring 34.2 points per game, the defense usually just needs a few key stops per game. The rush defense for Troy gives up 124 yards per game, which is one of the best in the country. The weak link for Troy is the pass defense, which allows 241 yards per game.

Defensive lineman Rashad Dillard is the best on the team in creating pressure on the quarterback with 7.5 sacks. Defensive back Blace Brown takes full advantage of this pressure and has picked up six interceptions this season.

Prediction

 

Troy will shut down the run game of Ohio and force them to pass. Dillard and Brown will help force turnovers, leaving it up to the Trojan offense. Ohio’s defense won’t be able to keep up with Troy’s offense.

 

Troy Trojans 38 Ohio Bobcats 23

 

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