The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is the night cap of the first day of the bowl season. There aren’t many draft prospects in this game, but there are some notable players to watch. Here are the prospects to watch in the game:
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Nick Mullens, QB
Projected Draft Range: Undrafted free agent
Mullens had a terrific junior season, before slumping as a senior. His 4,476 passing yards dropped all the way to 2,926 this season. Injuries took him out of two games this season, but that isn’t enough to explain the difference in numbers. The good news for Mullens, is that his completion percentage stayed the same. If he wants to get a shot at the NFL he will have to show that he has pinpoint accuracy, because he doesn’t have the arm strength or size to get a lot of looks from NFL scouts. Against the two SEC opponents, Mullens had drastically different games. When the Golden Eagles played Kentucky, Mullens threw three interceptions against a defense that Lee Corso called “the worst defense in college football history.” That was hyperbole and Kentucky actually settled in to be a better defense down the stretch, meaning that it wasn’t against terrible competition, but that still isn’t a good mark for Mullens. In the LSU game, Mullens only threw for 165 yards, but protected the football. This is a trait that scouts will need to see, as Mullens will need to be a game manager at the next level.
Cameron Tom, C
Projected Draft Range: fourth round-sixth round
Tom’s greatest assets as a center prospect are his athletic ability and his mobility. He has shown the ability to pull out on the outside and pick up blocks, while also shifting over and picking up blitzers when he pass blocks. At only 287 pounds, Tom will need to put on some muscle to go with his mobility to be a good center at the next level. Centers don’t get selected as highly as they should in the draft, so Tom will get taken later than his true value indicates.
Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Otha Peters, LB
Projected Draft Range: seventh round-undrafted free agent
Size and speed won’t be a question for Peters. He is six foot two inches tall and 228 pounds he has a good frame to build on for the NFL. His main asset is stopping the run with 11 tackles for loss this season. Peters also had a game with 18 tackles, meaning he has the potential to run the ball carrier down a lot. With only two sacks this season, he won’t be seen as much of a pass rusher. He is raw in coverage, but has the speed and athletic ability to improve in that area. How well he stops Southern Miss running back Ito Smith in this match-up will show a lot to scouts.
Elijah McGuire, RB
Projected Draft Range: sixth round-undrafted free agent
If McGuire can have a 100+ yard rushing game, he could pass Bo Jackson in terms of career rushing yards, moving him up to 73rd all time. He has three straight seasons of 1,000 rushing yards. He is good at finding holes and being patient. His best attribute is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, which is something he specialized at, when playing alongside fellow running back Alonzo Harris. His best season was his sophomore season when he was splitting carries with Harris, so he know how to make the most of his touches, which will appeal to scouts who know he will see limited playing time.