The bowl season gives fans and scouts alike a chance to analyze NFL Draft prospects against solid competition. Bowl scheduling allows all eyes to be on each game. Here are the NFL Draft prospects in the 2021 Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
Alabama Crimson Tide Draft Prospects
Evan Neal, OT
Neal has been a great offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide over the last three seasons. He played left guard as a freshman and made the Freshman All-American team. Neal moved to right tackle as a sophomore in 2020 and then moved to left tackle as a junior in 2021. His play helped him get named an All-American for the 2021 season.
He is a large offensive tackle at 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, but he moves extremely well for a player of his size. Neal has been one of the best tackles in the country and his measurables will make him the first tackle selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. He is a projected top 10 pick.
Projected Draft Range: Top 10 Pick
Jameson Williams, WR
Williams started his career at Ohio State before transferring to Alabama for the 2021 season. In his career, he has caught 83 passes for 1,711 yards and 18 touchdowns. Most of his production has come this season, as he has 68 catches for 1,445 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
While he may need to add weight, Williams has a solid frame for the NFL. His main calling card is his speed and the separation he can generate with it. Williams has just one big year of production, but has been one of the best receivers in the country. He is a projected first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick
*Cornerback Josh Jobe is out for this game with a foot injury. He is a projected day two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Other Draft Prospects: S Jordan Battle (2nd-3rd), LB Christian Harris (2nd-3rd) WR John Metchie (2nd-3rd), DL Phidarian Mathis (2nd-4th), LB Henry To’o To’o (2nd-4th), RB Brian Robinson (3rd-5th), TE Jahleel Billingsley (5th-7th), OG/C Emil Ekiyor (5th-7th), DL Justin Egoigbe (UFA), DL Byron Young (UFA), OT D.J. Dale (UFA), LB Christopher Allen (UFA), CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, WR Xavier Williams (UFA), LB Shane Lee (UFA), DL LaBryan Ray (UFA), S Daniel Wright (UFA), OG/C Darrian Dalcourt (UFA), S DeMarcco Hellams (UFA)
Cincinnati Bearcats Draft Prospects
Ahmad Gardner, CB
Gardner has been a shutdown corner for the Bearcats over his three-year career. During that time, he has registered 94 total tackles, nine interceptions and 16 passes defended. This season, Gardner has played great with 35 total tackles, three interceptions and four passes defended.
At 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds, Gardner is a lanky corner, who may need to add some strength. His length can help him be disruptive and he has never given up a touchdown catch in his career. As things currently sit, Gardner is a projected first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick
Desmond Ridder, QB
Ridder has been a four-year starter for the Bearcats and has become one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history. He has passed for 10,095 yards, 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions on 62.3 percent completion in his career. This season, he has 3,190 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 65.9 percent completion. Ridder also has rushed for 2,186 yards and 28 touchdowns over his time as a Bearcat.
At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Ridder has decent size for an NFL quarterback. Ridder does a lot of things decently, but isn’t overly great in one area. He has really improved over his college career and is now one of the few quarterbacks that could be selected early in the draft. Ridder is a projected first or second round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick-Second Round Pick
Other Draft Prospects: EDGE Myjai Sanders (2nd-3rd), CB Coby Bryant (2nd-4th), WR Alec Pierce (2nd-4th), LB Darrian Beavers (3rd-5th), S Bryan Cook (3rd-5th), RB Jerome Ford (3rd-5th), TE Josh Whyle (4th-6th), DL Curtis Brooks (6th-UFA), S Ja’Von Hicks (UFA), TE Leonard Taylor (UFA)
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