The BCS era has come to an end, and it came to and end with a bang. What started with a thrilling Rose Bowl between Michigan State and Stanford, and ended with one of the best National Championship games in the BCS era — it was a fun month. In that month, a lot of players helped and hurt their draft stocks in this May's draft. Take Cyrus Kouandjio for example, who was dominated in the Sugar Bowl. Let's take a look at some of the New York Giants draft prospects that we profiled at the beginning of bowl season.
1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Watkins likely played himself out of the New York Giants range, with a record setting Orange Bowl performance. Watkins totaled sixteen catches for 227 receiving yards, which is not only an Orange Bowl record but a Clemson record as well. What put a bow on Watkins likely being a top ten draft pick was his highlight reel touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. The 6'1" receiver put to rest any doubts that he might be to short to be a number one wideout, as he high pointed a touchdown grab that only taller receivers usually make. Watkins will be a star at the NFL level.
2. Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
Smith was an unsung hero of Florida State's National Championship victory, totaling a team high fifteen tackles on the night. Smith showed great closing speed getting out to the edge, and was a huge part in the Seminole's second half resurgence. He still needs to work on reading the run, but his skills in zone coverage are top notch. Likely still a third round pick, Smith could be a steal for the New York Giants that late.
3. Brian Stork, C, Florida State
Stork was another player who played a huge part in the Seminoles come from behind victory. The Florida State offense was non existent for almost all of the first half, partly due to offensive line struggling and what seemed to be nerves for quarterback Jameis Winston. The offensive line, starting with Stork pulled itself together in the second half, especially on the final drive of the game. Stork still needs to work on getting more push on his run blocking, but is a player willing to put in the hard work to improve. Likely a mid round pick this coming May.
4. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Not much left to say about Mason that he hasn't already said on the field. A strong, tough runner Mason had an exceptional game, including a near game winning touchdown run where he ran over freshman safety Jalen Ramsey. Mason's last three games might push him out of a comfortable spot for the Giants to take a runningback, but if he is there in the mid rounds the Giants have to at least consider it.
5. Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
Another runningback who improved his draft stock, Johnson ran for three scores in UCF's upset win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Johnson is a great between the tackles runner, and his size and speed give him the potential to be a star at the NFL level. He is also very effective in the passing game, so if the Giants can learn how to effectively run a screen Johnson would be good fit for it. Johnson is likely a mid to late round pick barring an exceptional combine.
1. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
A lot of people have said Robinson dominated in the National Championship, but that is in exaggeration in my opinion. Robinson was exceptional in the run game in the first half. However there were a couple of times Florida State sophomore defensive end (and a guy to keep an eye on for the 2015 draft) Mario Edwards Jr. was able to beat him with pure speed. There was also a play where Edwards Jr. just ran right over Robinson. Robinson's talent still will land him in the top ten to fifteen picks, as he officially entered the NFL draft.
2. Kelvin Benjamin. WR, Florida State
Benjamin was supposed to star in the National Championship, but struggled to get separation in the first half. We noted that drops were an issue for Benjamin in our National Championship preview, and he had a huge third down drop for the Seminoles. Just like the rest of the team however, Benjamin rose to the occasion in the second half. He was key on the final drive of the game, including catching the game winning touchdown. Benjamin's size, speed and talent will overshadow the drops when it comes to draft time, and if he lasts until the second round could be a target for the New York Giants.
1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Shazier was expected to shine in the Orange Bowl, as his speed matched up well with an extremely fast Clemson offense. While he totaled nine tackles, Shazier constantly took bad angles on plays and missed way to many tackles. His overall body of work still speaks for its self, but a poor showing on a national stage solidified him as a day two pick at best. Shazier had a golden opportunity to make a name for himself and just couldn't take advantage of it.
2. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Likely still a top ten pick, Mack was neutralized by the San Diego State offensive line and struggled the entire game. Mack, who dominated the Ohio State offense the first week of the season, was a no show in a San Diego State blow out of Buffalo. Like Shazier, Mack had a golden opportunity to improve his draft stock, and launch himself into the top five but couldn't take advantage. It's unlikely Mack was a real fit for the New York Giants as he projects to be more of a 3-4 linebacker.
3. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Hyde was shut down in the first half of the Orange Bowl by a Clemson defense that sold out to stop the run early. He performed much better in the second half, but a lot of that had to do with Clemson completely selling out on the pass. Hyde didn't have a bad game by any means, but he wasn't the dominant player we saw all season. Hyde is likely a fourth to fifth round pick, barring a spectacular combine.
4. Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Van Noy's stock dropping isn't really his fault, as BYU used him mainly to contain quarterback Keith Price. He didn't do anything to hurt his stock, but Van Noy wasn't able to showcase his true skills due to the defensive game plan. He'll likely fall into the third or fourth round of the draft, where he would be a steal for what ever team selects him.
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- Scouting the Orange Bowl: Potential New York Giants Targets to Watch
- Scouting the Non-BCS Bowl Games Part 1: Potential New York Giants Targets
- Scouting the Rose Bowl: Potential New York Giants Targets to Watch
- Scouting the Non-BCS Games Part 2: Potential New York Giants Targets
- Comparing Potential New York Giants Draft Targets: Darqueze Dennard Vs. Justin Gilbert
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