4 Bowl Games NFL Scouts Will Be Watching Closely

Bowl season is almost here, and that means NFL scouts will have one more chance to evaluate draft targets against high-level competition. Some games will feature more future NFL prospects than others...and these are four matchups loaded with talent you can expect to see on Sundays in the near future.

Note - this is heavily geared toward the 2015 and 2016 NFL drafts, since forecasting further ahead is so imprecise. This also doesn't include draft prospects who won't be playing in

1. Belk Bowl, Georgia vs. Louisville

The Belk Bowl might not have been the #1 choice for either of these two teams, but NFL scouts certainly won't mind that they're playing each other. Todd Gurley might be sitting this one out, but Georgia has an absurd amount of future NFL talent, and Louisville also has some future NFL players who might have flown under the radar up until now.

Players to watch:

2015: Georgia DE/OLB Leonard Floyd (proj 1st-2nd rounder)

2015: Georgia DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins (proj 3rd 4th rounder)

2015: Georgia ILB Ramik Wilson (proj. 4th-rounder)

2015: Georgia DE/DT Ray Drew (proj. 4th-5th rounder)

2015: Louisville WR DeVante Parker (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: Louisville S Gerrod Holliman (proj 2nd-rounder)

2015: Louisville DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin (proj 3rd-4th rounder)

2. Cotton Bowl Classic, Michigan State vs. Baylor

This year's Cotton Bowl is one of the most exciting matchups of bowl season, and both rosters are loaded with future NFL players. Art Briles and Mark Dantonio know how to develop players who can succeed at the next level...and there'll be plenty on display when January 1st rolls around.

Players to watch:

2015: Baylor DE Shawn Oakman (proj. 1st-3rd rounder)

2015: Baylor QB Bryce Petty (proj 3rd-5th rounder)

2016: Baylor OT Spencer Drango (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: Michigan State CB Trae Waynes (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: Michigan State DE/ILB Shilique Calhoun (proj 1st-2nd rounder)

2015: Michigan State S Kurtis Drummond (proj 3rd-rounder)

2016: Michigan State QB Connor Cook (proj. 1st-2nd rounder)

3. Russell Athletic Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Clemson

While these teams fell short of expectations in 2014, both are absolutely loaded with NFL prospects. Clemson DE Vic Beasley will be a first-rounder this year, and Oklahoma has no shortage of NFL talent on their roster.

Players to watch:

2015: Oklahoma OLB Eric Striker (proj. 2nd-3rd rounder)

2015: Oklahoma OT Daryl Williams (proj. 2nd-3rd rounder)

2016: Oklahoma ILB Frank Shannon (proj. 1st-rounder)

2016: Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight (proj. 2nd-3rd rounder)

2015: Clemson DE Vic Beasley (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: Clemson DE Corey Crawford (proj. 3rd-4th rounder)

2015: Clemson ILB Stephone Anthony (proj. 5th-7th rounder)

4. National University Holiday Bowl, USC vs. Nebraska

How often do two of the top five NFL draft prospects play each other in a bowl game? There's no guarantee that USC's Leonard Williams and Nebraska's Randy Gregory will be the first names off the board, but both are at - or near the top - of every single draft board we've seen.

Players to watch:

2015: USC DE Leonard Williams (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: USC WR Nelson Agholor (proj. 2nd-3rd rounder)

2015: USC RB Javorious Allen (proj. 2nd-3rd rounder)

2016: USC OT Chad Wheeler (proj. 3rd-rounder)

2015: Nebraska DE Randy Gregory (proj. 1st-rounder)

2015: Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah (proj. 2nd-rounder)

2016: Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp (proj. 3rd rounder)

2016: Nebraska DT Vincent Valentine (proj. 5th-7th rounder)


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