/The most intriguing NFL draft prospects in all 41 bowl games

The most intriguing NFL draft prospects in all 41 bowl games

Forty-one games. Eighty-two teams. And hundreds of NFL draft prospects. College football bowl season kicks off Saturday with six games, and NFL scouts will be watching closely.

I went through the full bowl schedule and picked out a prospect to watch for the 2019 class from every team. There are several underclassmen who could still return to school for another year — the deadline to declare is Jan. 14 — and others are seniors who get one last chance to impress for scouts.

Here’s who you should keep an eye on this bowl season, in order of when each game will be played:

Jump to a matchup:
Clemson-Notre Dame | Bama-OU
LSU-UCF | Washington-OSU | Texas-UGA

Saturday, Dec. 15

The game: Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
Info: Noon ET, ABC & ESPN app/Atlanta

Darryl Johnson Jr., DE, North Carolina A&T: The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, Johnson leads the conference in sacks (10.5) and is at his best using his first-step quickness to disrupt plays in the backfield. He also shows the ability to drop into underneath coverage and flashes the ability to pick up backs releasing out of the backfield. That’s important considering he grades out better at 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s just a redshirt junior, so he would do well to return and ideally fill out his frame.

Sterling Shippy, DT, Alcorn State: Shippy has 13.5 tackles-for-loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles this year. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, he’s quick enough to shoot gaps and closes well for his size. An Alcorn State player hasn’t been drafted since the Packers took receiver Donald Driver in the seventh round in 1999, and it is unlikely Shippy ends that drought. But a team looking for depth at three-technique could bring him in as a rookie free agent.

The game: New Mexico Bowl
Info: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN & ESPN app/Albuquerque, New Mexico

E.J. Ejiya, LB, North Texas: Ejiya ranks fourth in the FBS with 23 tackles for loss this season, so it should come as little surprise that he attacks gaps and quickly shifts though traffic as a run defender. He’s also a developing pass rusher with active hands and good straight-line closing burst. While he’s tough and flashes the ability to stack bigger blockers, he is undersized with shorter arms. He projects as a mid-round pick.

Dax Raymond, TE, Utah State: Raymond went on a two-year LDS Church Mission following high school, so he’s on the older side for a fourth-year junior. He’s also been hampered by injuries and didn’t post big numbers at Utah State. The flipside? He’s got the frame, athletic ability and speed to make an impact at the next level. He projects as a Day 3 pick.

The game: AutoNation Cure Bowl
Info: 2:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN/Orlando, Florida

Donnie Lewis Jr., CB, Tulane: Lewis is a redshirt senior and four-year starter with six interceptions over the past two seasons. At 6-foot, 195 pounds, he’s got the size, balance and competitiveness to develop into an effective press corner. There’s room for improvement when it comes to getting off blocks, but he’s an adequate tackler who tends to limit production after the catch. He projects as a Day 3 pick at this point in the process.

Ryheem Malone, WR, Louisiana: Malone grades out as an undersized slot receiver with the quickness to separate from underneath coverage and pick up yards after the catch. He has experience returning punts too. But he will probably be an undrafted rookie free agent.



Marcus McMaryion connects with KeeSean Johnson on a 38-yard strike downfield to put the Bulldogs in scoring position.

The game: Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Info: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC & ESPN app/Las Vegas

Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State: Wren has a total of 75 tackles and three sacks over the past three seasons, but he’s more disruptive than the numbers suggest. He’s a versatile defensive lineman with the length, frame and athletic ability to play on the inside in a base four-man front or the outside in a base three-man front in the NFL. He projects as an early Day 3 pick at this point, but he could improve his stock if he works out as well as expected.

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