NFL Draft Prospects: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

The 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl features the winner of the Mountain West-West Division in Utah State Aggies and the MAC Conference-West winner in the No. 23 Northern Illinois Huskies. While both teams won their divisions both teams failed to win their conference championship games, which took the Huskies out of BCS Bowl contention.

The game was thoroughly dominated by the top-ten ranked Utah State defense. On the offensive side of the ball the Aggies were able to dominate in the trenches with an overpowering, experienced offensive line. While the margin won only seven points the game was in Utah State's control for most of it.

There were a few NFL Draft Prospects in this one that we kept an eye on all game long.

S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

Ward is a senior SS who a lot of people have ranked in their top 5 at that position. Ward led the Huskies in tackles (92) and INT (6). Those six interceptions also led the MAC conference. He stands at 5'11" and 192 lbs with NFL teams probably looking to make him a nickel-back if not safety.

What I liked:

Ward lined up all over the field. Deep off the line of scrimmage, up in the box and a lot in slot coverage, where he made his interception.

Showed good recovery speed after getting fooled on trick play and was able to sprint back to receiver and come up with pass deflection.

Looks very comfortable in slot coverage, which may help his next-level prospects.

What I didn't like:

Seemed to disappear for the entire first half. Aside from a tackle where he came up to make a play in the run game, Ward was a non-factor.

Size could be a factor as he will have trouble making impact in the running game, but will more than likely bulk up in the NFL.

Stock report: Neutral

Did some good things but not enough to raise his stock, but enough to not let his stock drop.

Projected round:

4th-5th round

QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

Lynch had an underwhelming performance and at only 6' with questionable passing ability Lynch will need to change positions to be drafted.

What I liked:

Not a lot. Showed patience on the read-option plays but the NFL has that figured out already. Next.

Showed that he was not afraid of contact, something needed when he changes positions.

Good arm strength shown when he actually set his feet.

What I didn't like:

A lot. Had two turnovers, a fumble on a rushing attempt and an interception.

Threw way too many passes off-balance when he didn't need to, causing the ball to float.

Made wide receivers work extra hard to bring in a number of throws. Many were under thrown.

Became very gun-shy after throwing interception. Does not look like an NFL quarterback. Will undoubtedly be asked to change position.

Stock Report: Down

There was already questions about Lynch's passing ability going into this game, and unfortunately he did not show anything to silence those questions.

Projected Round:

Late Day 3 pick(6th/7th)/Undrafted

C Tyler Larsen, Utah State

Larsen is a senior who was named All-MWC first-team and second-team All-American by USA Today this season. At 6'4" and 312 lbs. Larsen has good size and strength and will be a participant in the East-West shrine game.

What I liked:

Showed good strength all night when he had a nose tackle lined up in front of him.

Mirrored his opponents well and constantly beat them to the punch with his hands.

Got out of his stance quickly and to the second level to deliver blocks on three occasions.

Pulled only one time this game but was able to make solid block.

Showed the ability to recognize blitz's by chipping his primary assignment and picking up the secondary rusher.

Dictated where the line was going by driving the nose tackle one direction or another.

Can handle snaps from shotgun. Good, crisp snaps each time.

What I didn't like:

Looked disinterested at times when there was no one to block instead of helping out.

Quit blocking too early on a play which allowed a sack of his scrambling QB.

Stock Report: Up

Larsen will have another chance to raise his stock again at the East-West shrine game.

Projected Round

3rd-4th round. Has great strength and size and has shot to move up from current projections.

CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State

Lawson, a senior as well, was also named first-team All-MWC this season after having 4 INTs for the Aggies.

What I liked:

Has strong coverage skills as the opposing QB rarely even threw the ball to his side. 

Came off of coverage after ball was in the air to deliver solid tackle early in the game.

Shifted hips well during his backpedal.

Very aggressive/physical at line of scrimmage when lined up in bump coverage.

What I didn't like:

Got beat once off the line of scrimmage by stronger WR.

Stock Report: Up

Great coverage skills turning into a much needed commodity in today's pass-heavy NFL. Like Larsen, Lawson will have another shot at raising his stock in the East-West Shrine Game.

Other notes:

Utah State's defense came in to the game ranked in the top 10 in terms of scoring defense allowing only 17.3 ppg and they showed it tonight.

Led by MLB Jake Doughty who seemingly was in every hole or every tackle that occurred beyond the line of scrimmage. The senior LB hasn't gotten much attention from NFL scouts and I'm curious to know why. Doughty had 140 tackles during the regular season and a ten-plus effort in the bowl game. At 6' and 234 lbs. he isn't exactly undersized either. I say watch this name, it may pop up again.

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