The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl certainly lacks in status but the game should showcase two evenly matched teams in San Diego State and Buffalo in terms of on field talent.
The player spotlight will be on Buffalo’s star linebacker, Khalil Mack, but there are a handful of others that will be playing for one last shot at draft consideration before they are left only with pro days and “underwear Olympics” to make an impression. Here are some players to keep an eye on with regard to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo, (#46), 6’3, 245
Our #2 ranked outside linebacker, Mack is a bona fide first round-type talent who enjoyed a very productive college career as a 4-time all conference player and earning the 2013 Jack Lambert Award (given to the nation’s top linebacker). He is a naturally gifted athlete who has demonstrated the skills to be a special pass rusher in the NFL and the instincts to make game changing plays against the run or pass. His ability in coverage has improved this year, showing a better understanding of space and route development. He’s likely to test well during the pre draft process but his instincts are what make allow him to play even quicker on the field than numbers may show. Mack could also have a field day against the Aztecs’ carefree approach to ball security, as he is adept at forcing turnovers.
Bryce Quigley, OT, San Diego State, (#78), 6’5, 295
Quigley is the second best prospect in this game and he’ll have quite the assignment when he’s lined up across from Mack. Considering this, Quigley also has the most to gain in this game as a solid showing (at least) could solidify him as a Day 3 pick. He’s a tight end convert with only two full seasons at LT and is still learning how to recognize various fronts and use his hands but coaches will like his upside. He also has better power than you’d expect from a former pass catcher.
(JR) Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State, (#4), 5’10, 205
After an impressive sophomore campaign, Muema followed up with a very ho-hum 2013 season marred by a nagging ankle injury and inconsistent offensive line play. Still, he announced his plans to declare for the draft this week and he’s put together enough quality film to believe he’ll attract plenty of interest from NFL teams. Muema has average size and bulk but his balance and change of direction stand out immediately. He’s become stronger between the tackles and can break off long runs with above average acceleration after first contact.
Other Players to Watch
Colin Lockett, WR/KR, San Diego State, (#24), 6’0, 180
Lockett is an athletic but unpolished receiver who makes an impact in the return game. He is likely a UDFA prospect who could emerge as an impact special teams player in the NFL.
Nat Berhe, S, San Diego State, (#20), 5’10, 190
The Aztecs play a 3-3 stack type of defense which employs the “Aztec” position that Berhe occupies. The 2013 team MVP has some limitations in coverage but flashes in run support.
Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo, (#19), 6’3, 205
Buffalo’s primary receiver could be a matchup problem for the Aztecs’ smaller corners, especially in the red zone. He isn’t overly physical at the line but if he can beat the jam he has deceptive speed to make plays downfield.
Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo, (#32), 5’8, 203
Another highly productive player for the Bulls, Oliver finishes his career atop many of the school’s rushing record lists. More quick than fast, Oliver projects as a priority free agent at this stage.