NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl has a three loss team and a team from a group of five conference, but there will be a lot of talent on the field. Both UCF and Auburn have a lot of players who can make it in the NFL. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl:

UCF Golden Knights

Mike Hughes, CB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

Mike Hughes (Photo by twitter.com)

Hughes is in his first year with UCF after transferring from UNC and has produced. The junior has had a great season with 44 total tackles, four interceptions and 11 passes defended. He was able to play against some great offenses in the American in Memphis and USF.

He is 5’11” and 185 pounds, which is a good enough start for the NFL, but he’ll need to add some strength. Hughes will likely get selected on day two or early on day three in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Shaquem Griffin, LB

Griffin’s brother, Shaquill, is already an NFL corner back with the Seahawks. Shaquem has been an impact player for UCF for the past two seasons. In his career he has 183 total tackles, 30 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. Griffin only has one hand, which could give some NFL teams some questions, but he has played well and deserves some NFL Draft consideration.

At 6’1″ and 221 pounds, he is a little undersized for a linebacker. He has produced really well for the Golden Knights and should be expected to do so again in the Peach Bowl.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Auburn Tigers

Carlton Davis, CB

Davis is a junior who has gotten significant playing time since his first season at Auburn. He has 136 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions in his career. NFL scouts like the fact that he is a lanky corner who has athleticism to match up with good receivers.

He is 6’1″ and 203 pounds, which is solid size for an NFL corner. Davis will be picked in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Kerryon Johnson, RB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Johnson battled early in his career for more playing time, but shined this season as the SEC’s leading rusher. He has 2,423 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns in his career. Most of his production is from this season, but it has averaged 4.9 yards per carry throughout his career.

At 6’0″ and 212 pounds, Johnson is a decent size for an NFL running back. He will be appealing to teams for his ability to run physically and also catch passes out of the backfield. He won’t go in the first round, but shouldn’t have to wait too long to hear his name after that.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Dontavius Russell, DT

Russell is just a junior and because he isn’t a top-tier prospect, might choose to go back to school. This season he has 41 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. As with most defensive tackles, their impact on the game is more than what shows up on the stat sheet.

He has great size at 6’3″ and 310 pounds. Russell will fit best as a 4-3 defensive tackle and should be good at stopping the run for an NFL team.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Other notable Auburn prospects: QB Jarrett Stidham (3rd round-5th round), G Braden Smith (3rd round-5th round), G Will Bell (7th round-undrafted free agent), C Austin Golson (4th round-6th round), LB Jeff Holland (3rd round-5th round), LB Tre’ Williams (4th round-6th round)

 

 

2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl preview

The last New Year’s Six bowl game before the College Football Playoff is the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Undefeated UCF and battle-tested Auburn will go head to head. Here is the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl preview:

12 UCF Golden Knights (12-0)

2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

McKenzie Milton (Photo by rivals.com)

UCF completed an undefeated season, but was unable to get anywhere close to the CFP. They had their game against Georgia Tech cancelled, but that wouldn’t have done much to help their resume. The Golden Knights beat six bowl eligible teams, including Memphis twice to get to their twelve wins.

The offense scores 49.4 points per game with the running game averaging over 200 yards per game. Adrian Killins Jr. averages 6.8 yards per carry with 762 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. His backup, Otis Anderson, has 456 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback McKenzie Milton is a threat with his legs too, with 497 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Milton also operates a good passing offense with 3,795 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 69.2% completion. He has generated a lot of offense this season for the Golden Knights. His leading receiver is Tre’Quan Smith, who has 1,082 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

They have an average scoring defense that allows 25.2 points per game. UCF ranks 68th against the run and 110th against the pass. Linebacker Shaquem Griffin has been a star for the Golden Knights with 62 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks this season.

7 Auburn Tigers (10-3)

2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl preview

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

The Tigers would’ve been in the CFP had they won the SEC Championship Game, but lost to Georgia. Their other losses were to Clemson and LSU. They beat five bowl eligible teams, which includes their big wins over Alabama and Georgia.

Offensively, Auburn scores 34.4 points per game and does a lot of damage on the ground. Kerryon Johnson was the SEC’s leading rusher with 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns. Kam Martin and Kamryn Pettway also get some work, but Johnson gets the bulk of it with 236 carries.

Jarrett Stidham has been efficient at quarterback for Auburn, completing 66.7% of his passes. They don’t throw the most, but he has 2,827 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Ryan Davis is the leading receiver with 76 receptions for 768 yards and five touchdowns.

The defense ranks 10th in the country, allowing 17.3 points per game. They rank 31st against the run and 15th against the pass. Corner Carlton Davis has shut down opposing receivers this season. He has 34 total tackles, one interception and 10 passes defended.

Prediction

UCF’s defense is going to be gashed by the Auburn running game. Johnson will have a big game, which will set up Stidham in the passing game. While the UCF offense is good, Auburn’s defense will get enough stops to in the game.

Auburn Tigers 48 UCF Golden Knights 27

 

 

NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2016 Peach Bowl

If a team makes it to the College Football Playoff, they more than likely have a lot of guys that are NFL prospects. In the 2016 Peach Bowl, Washington and Alabama have plenty of players who will be playing in the NFL next season. These are the best prospects from this game:

Washington Huskies

Sidney Jones, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Jones is a shut down corner for a Huskies’ secondary that has been compared to the Legion of Boom for the Seattle Seahawks. He doesn’t have many balls thrown his way, but he makes plays on them when they do. Jones has average height at six feet tall, but needs to add muscle to his 181 pound frame so he isn’t pushed off of the line of scrimmage.

John Ross, WR

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Peach Bowl

John Ross (Photo courtesy: lmtribune.com)

A lot of people have called Ross one of the fastest players in college football. His speed has helped him to create a lot of separation for big plays. He isn’t the biggest at five feet eleven inches tall, but Odell Beckham Jr. is the same height and is effective. He will be able to play on the outside and in the slot.

Budda Baker, S

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Baker is a great free safety for the Huskies. His coverage is great and he is decent at coming up and playing the run too, with 8.5 tackles for loss. He has the versatility to play safety or slot corner at the next level. His ball skills aren’t great, but he does have good range for a safety.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Jonathan Allen, DL

Projected Draft Range: Top 10

Allen has so many diverse talents that he can play any position on the defensive line. He has played on a three man front at Alabama as a defensive end. With 8.5 sacks, he is a great pass rusher, that often times gets double teamed. Allen is really good at stopping the run too, making him one of the best prospects in the class.

Cam Robinson, OT

Projected Draft Range: First round

Peach Bowl

Cam Robinson (Photo courtesy: walterfootball.com)

This is a weak offensive tackle class and although Robinson isn’t the greatest prospect ever, he should be one of the first taken. He has good size at six feet six inches tall and 310 pounds and has decent athletic ability. At times he can look stiff on the field and needs to demonstrate better mobility against the pass rush.

Marlon Humphrey, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round

Humphrey should be one of the first corners taken in a very deep draft class at the position. He has good size at six feet one inch and is still growing into his body as a red-shirt sophomore. Humphrey has completely locked down his side of the field. In order to be elite he needs to help stopping the run more.

O.J. Howard, TE

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Alabama doesn’t utilize Howard as much as they should. Howard shouldn’t be faulted for his lack of production, as they just don’t throw him the ball often enough. At six feet six inches tall and 251 pounds, Howard already has a good body for the NFL. His athleticism is also good enough for the NFL. Hopefully the team that drafts him knows how to use him.

Tim Williams, DE/OLB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Williams is a great pass rusher with 8.5 sacks this season, making him a great edge rusher prospect. He has gotten better at defending the run, but still needs to work on that. Williams has the necessary size and athleticism to get after the quarterback in the NFL, but has to get better at other facets of his game to stay on the field for all three downs.

 

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2016 Peach Bowl Preview

The first of the National Semi-Finals, the Peach Bowl pits an undefeated Alabama team against a one loss Washington team.

Washington Huskies’ Offense

Peach Bowl

Jake Browning (Photo courtesy: ncaa.com)

The Huskies won every game on their schedule, besides a match-up against USC, who was very hot at the time. They beat five bowl eligible teams, which included very good wins over Colorado, Washington State and Utah. Washington is coming into this game on a three game win streak.

Jake Browning should have gotten more national attention this year. He threw for 3,280 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is very efficient with the ball and hits his receivers with great accuracy. His arm isn’t the strongest, so he won’t be able to challenge Alabama’s secondary downfield.

Wide receiver John Ross is one of the fastest players in college football and has gashed defenses for 1,122 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Alabama will need to have safety help on Ross’ side of the field. Dante Pettis has also had a successful season with 796 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

Myles Gaskin is another player who has been overlooked by the national media. He has rushed for 1,339 yards and 10 touchdowns. When he needs a breather, Lavon Coleman heads in. He is averaging 7.8 yards per carry and seven touchdowns as a nice change of pace for the Huskies.

Washington Huskies’ Defense

Peach Bowl

Sidney Jones (Photo courtesy: withthefirstpick.com)

Washington has a great run defense, allowing 124 yards per game. The pass defense is equally good, giving up 193 yards per contest.

The strength of the Husky defense is the secondary. They have multiple draft prospects including Sidney Jones and Budda Baker. For Washington to win they need to provide run support and force turnovers.

Alabama Crimson Tide Offense

Peach Bowl

Jalen Hurts (Photo courtesy: usatoday.com)

The Crimson Tide beat everyone on their schedule to get to the College Football Playoff. One of the most impressive things about this team is that they beat 10 bowl teams this season. They have a win over USC, the team that beat Washington. Alabama is the most battle-tested team in the country.

Jalen Hurts was able to win the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. He has had a superb year with 2,592 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Hurts does damage with his arm, but is sucks the life out of a defense with his legs. He has 841 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns. He has to be contained by Washington.

ArDarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard are all good targets for Hurts. All of these players will need to have a big game against a great Washington secondary. Stewart leads the team in yardage (852), touchdowns (eight) and yards per catch (16.4). Ridley is a play-maker with 727 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Howard doesn’t have a lot of production and is under-utilized, but he had a great National Championship Game last season.

Running back Damien Harris is the leading rusher for Alabama. He has 986 rushing yards on a whopping 7.5 yards per carry. Harris and Hurts pick up a lot of the yardage, but Bo Scarborough pounds the ball into the end zone when the Crimson Tide gets close. He has seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Alabama Crimson Tide Defense

Peach Bowl

Jonathan Allen (Photo courtesy: pigskinproject.com)

Alabama has the best run defense in the country and has given up 824 yards in 13 games. That alone makes them a great defense, but the pass defense is also elite with 186 yards allowed. If defenses win championships, Alabama has to be the overwhelming favorite.

Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams both have 8.5 sacks on the season and create havoc for opposing quarterbacks. Reuben Foster is one of the best linebackers in the country behind them and is a great run stopper with 94 total tackles and 12 tackles for loss. The secondary will be without Eddie Jackson, so the rest of the players will have to be fundamentally sound.

Prediction

Alabama’s defense is going to swarm to the football and play good defense. Harris and Hurts will run the football well. Washington will keep things close and will use a lot of trick plays, but will fall just short.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 37 Washington Huskies 29

 

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