By BBD Writer Tony Wiltshire
The Fiesta Bowl has the potential to be one of the most exciting games of the season when the Oregon Ducks (11-1) meet the Kansas State Wildcats (11-1). Both teams feature explosive playmakers, and are loaded with NFL level talent.
RB Kenjon Barner, 5’11, 192, #24
Barner is one of the top backs in the country and compares favorably to former Duck LaMichael James in terms of size, explosiveness, and versatility. He exhibits average vision and instincts, but he has the burst and acceleration to go the distance every time he touches the ball. He’ll never be a foundation back in the NFL, but he’s dynamic enough to earn consideration as a space player or COP option early in his career. He has value in the middle rounds.
OT Kyle Long, 6’7, 312, #74
Long is an extremely talented but raw prospect. His appeal to the NCAA for another season of eligibility was denied so he’ll be available for the 2012 draft. As the son of Howie Long, he has an intriguing blend of size, power, and natural athleticism. He’s technique is going to have to be coached up, but he’s made dramatic improvement over the course of the season. He’ll be over drafted due to his enormous upside, but he has the potential to be as good as he wants to be at the next level.
LB Kiko Alonso, 6’3, 242, #47
Alonso is another position versatile prospect on the Oregon team. He’s an above average athlete with sideline to sideline range, and he’s instinctive in his ability to read and flow against the run. He has some character concerns, and he projects to come off the board in the middle rounds with the potential to sneak into day two.
DE/OLB Dion Jordan, 6’6, 243, #96
Jordan is a tremendously talented scheme versatile prospect that has yet to declare for the 2012 draft. He’s incredibly athletic, he exhibits terrific bend for a player with his length, and he possesses the burst to threaten the corner with his speed on a consistent basis. He’s excellent in pursuit, and he’s improved his power at the point of attack. He needs to add some bulk to his frame, but it won’t stop a team from taking him off the board in the top half of the first round if he does come out.
OG Carson York, 6’5, 293, #77 (Injured)
OG Nick Cody, 6’5, 310, #61 (Suspended)
DE Taylor Hart, #66, 6’5, 292
LB Michael Clay, 5’11, 224, #46
CB Terrance Mitchell, #27, 5’10, 190*
SAF John Boyett, 5’10, 205, #20 (Injured)
PN Jackson Rice, #49, 6’2, 218
Kansas State Wildcats
QB Collin Klein, #7, 6’5, 226
Klein is an impressive athlete and leader that has had a productive career at Kansas State. At this stage, however, he simply isn’t polished enough as a passer to be considered anything more than a developmental prospect. His mechanics needs a lot of work, and he struggles with his accuracy when he’s asked to anticipate throws from the pocket. He has value in the later rounds.
WR Chris Harper, #3, 6’1, 228
Harper is an Oregon transfer who has improved his draft position in his final season. He possesses NFL size and physicality, and he has the body control to go up and get the football. He’s not vertically explosive, but his long strides eat up ground. He’s smooth, he plays with leverage, and, despite his long speed, he should be able to win on the outside against press-man. He has mid-round value, but he could move higher into if he performs well at the Senior Bowl and combine.
DE Meshak Williams, 6’2, 245, #42
Williams an an undersized defensive end prospect. He exhibits a relentless motor, and he’s been a productive player as his 16.5 sacks over the past two years indicate. He has a nice burst off the edge, and he’s demonstrated impressive range in pursuit. With his limited size and power, however, he’s going to struggle making an NFL roster as a 4-3 defensive end. He could be selected late, but he’s more likely to be a priority free agent.
LB Arthur Brown, #4, 6’, 228
Brown is an impressive athlete and one of the most highly rated prospects in this years draft. He exhibits tremendous athleticism and speed, terrific power as a tackler, and plus level instincts. He’s dynamically explosive with sideline to sideline range, and he has the playmaking ability to someday develop into a featured NFL player. He will one of the first players at his position off the board.
RB John Hubert, #33, 5’7, 192*
FB Braden Wilson, #37, 6’3, 254
WR Tyler Lockett, #16, 5’11, 176*
TE Travis Tannahill, #80, 6’3, 253
DT Vai Lutui, #92, 6’2, 290
DE Adam Davis, #55, 6’. 259
LB Justin Tuggle, #9, 6’2, 233
LB Jarell Childs, #26, 6’1, 230
CB Allen Chapman, #3, 5’11, 180
CB Nigel Malone, #24, 5’10, 185
SAF Ty Zimmerman, #12, 6’, 203
Game Prediction: Oregon 52 – Kansas State 37