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NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Birmingham Bowl

The Texas Tech Red Raiders and the South Florida Bulls are set to go at it in the Birmingham Bowl. There aren’t any top-notch draft prospects in this game, but there are several players who will get looks from the NFL. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Birmingham Bowl:

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Nic Shimonek, QB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Birmingham Bowl
Nic Shimonek (Photo by texashsfootball.com)

The best chance for a Texas Tech player to get drafted lies in Nic Shimonek. Shimonek was recently benched, but has had a fantastic season and will get some consideration. This season he has 3,547 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He made throws all over the field in Texas Tech’s pass-happy system.

Shimonek is 6’3” and 225 pounds for a solid build. He has great arm strength and continually makes throws down the field. He completes almost 70% of his passes which is even better than Patrick Mahomes, who left the Red Raiders for the NFL at the conclusion of last season.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

USF Bulls

Deatrick Nichols, CB

Nichols has been a star in the South Florida defense for years. A three-year starter, Nichols has 11 career interceptions and 23 career passes defended. He has been one of the best defenders in the AAC the last three years and that will show in the draft.

At 5’10” and 189 pounds, he will have a tough time matching up with bigger receivers. Adding play strength will be a priority for Nichols. He will be able to play in the slot or on the outside. Nichols will get drafted in the middle rounds of the draft if he does well in workouts and the combine.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

Deadrin Senat, DT

Senat is another experienced player from the USF defense. He doesn’t have the best production, but has done enough to warrant some draft consideration. In his four years he has 20.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He has shown he is good at stopping the run, but hasn’t shown a great proficiency for pass rushing.

His size puts him in a unique position to get selected in the NFL Draft. He is 6’1” and 305 pounds, which makes him a candidate to be a run stuffing defensive tackle or nose tackle. If he could show he was a better pass rusher his stock would rise.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Quinton Flowers, QB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Birmingham Bowl
Quinton Flowers (Photo by zimbio.com)

Flowers has been a catalyst for USF to have great offenses and great seasons. He produces a lot of offense and is a play-maker. He has 7,813 passing yards and 3,566 rushing yards in his Bulls’ career. His 107 total touchdowns rank 42nd on the all-time list.

He is a little slight at 6’0” and 210 pounds. The real question for Flowers will be what position he ends up playing. If he can’t cut it as a quarterback, he could be switched to running back or wide receiver. His athleticism is what will get him drafted or picked up by a team.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Auggie Sanchez, LB

Sanchez is another one of those USF defenders that have been around for a while. His 369 total tackles rank him 67th all time. He has missed three games this season, which has hurt his production, but he still totaled 77 tackles and even added two defensive touchdowns.

At 6’2” and 245 pounds, Sanchez has good enough size for the NFL. His instincts and tackling are also good enough for the next level, but his covering ability and speed will be questioned.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

 

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