Neither team in the St. Petersburg Bowl has a record above .500, but both teams have some quality players, who deserve a shot at the NFL. Both schools have quarterbacks starting for some of the NFL’s most storied franchises. Ben Roethlisberger, of Miami (OH), is a future Hall of Famer for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dake Prescott is off to a solid career start with the Dallas Cowboys. Here are some players who could follow in their footsteps and make the NFL:
JT Jones, DL
Projected Draft Range: Sixth round-undrafted free agent
Jones has been a menace for opposing quarterbacks with 6.5 sacks this season and 10 last season. The production is good as he also had 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015. He has good enough height at six feet three inches tall, but is pretty slender at 246 pounds. He will need to put on a lot of muscle-weight for the NFL. Otherwise, NFL lineman will be able to push him around pretty easily.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Fred Ross, WR
Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-fifth round
If teams are looking for a guy who could develop into a good outside receiver and have value in the middle rounds, Ross would be a good player to take. His 40 yard dash time should be pretty mundane. To go with that, his height is good at six foot two, but isn’t that much of a mismatch for defensive backs. Ross has produced, with over 1,000 yards receiving last season and 873 this season. In order to be great as an NFL receiver, Ross needs to be a great route runner with a good football IQ.
Richie Brown, LB
Projected Draft Range: Third round-fifth round
Brown adds a lot of value due to his ability to play inside linebacker and outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. He also has good size at six feet two inches tall and 245 pounds. Last season Brown had over 100 total tackles, and at the moment has 93 tackles on the season. He is decent at getting to the quarterback, with 6.5 sacks in 2015, but only has 1.5 this season. He needs to run well in the 40 yard dash, which he is not expected to do, in order to get a desirable draft grade.