Scouting The Las Vegas Bowl
By Bill Lund
As part of Football.com's coverage of all 35 bowl games, we will provide a draft prospect-primer, so you know whom to watch during every postseason game.
The Las Vegas Bowl is an intriguing matchup featuring one team that had been on track to gain an automatic BCS bid and one that has had three head coaches over the course of a tumultuous season.
Fresno State and USC both feature some NFL talent, highlighted by two potential first-round selections. Here is a look at the top draft prospects from each school, all of whom are hoping to make the most of their last chance to showcase themselves during the 2013 season.
Marqise Lee, WR: Lee has been on NFL radars for the past couple years. After a breakout freshman year and an All-American sophomore season, Lee has battled injury issues that have slowed his progress this season. Lee has tremendous athletic ability that will catch eyes of NFL scouts. He has the speed to separate on deep routes with his reported 4.37 40 time. One of the red flags for Lee, though, is that he has not been as consistent in catching the ball as a prospect of his caliber should be. Lee intends to announce his intentions after the bowl game, but given his talent and his injury prone 2013, it's likely Lee will be entering the 2014 draft.
Morgan Breslin, DE/OLB: Breslin is an athletic pass rusher who was fifth in the country in sacks (13) in 2012. He shows a quick first step and the ability to speed rush off the edge. Against the run, he does well squeezing down blocks with good arm extension and leverage. The 2013 season has been injury-plagued for Breslin, who has missed the last half of the season to sports hernia surgery. USC still has hopes he can return for the bowl game after surgery in early November.
Devon Kennard, OLB: Kennard has been a tweener end in USC’s defense prior to a season-ending pectoral injury in 2012. In USC 3-4 defense in 2013, Kennard has blossomed as an OLB. Kennard shows quickness off the edge helping disrupt run plays. He also can rush the passer with speed and a good burst at the snap. Kennard still need to develop counter moves to utilize when he faces good Offensive Tackles.
Derek Carr, QB: One of the marquee quarterbacks playing in the bowl season, Carr has an effortless and quick release. He has a strong arm to throw through tight windows, and he can be accurate throwing the ball downfield deep and in the intermediate range. He can escape the rush with his athleticism and knows where to put the ball on the run. Carr has the tools, but some teams may still draw comparisons to his brother, former No. 1 overall pick, David Carr.
Marcel Jensen, TE: You may not see Jensen as much as a draft prospect should be given the spread nature of the Fresno State offense. Jensen is a large athlete (almost 6-foot-6, 270 pounds) who can move and shows great hands. He is a solid blocker who can control defenders at the line of scrimmage. Jensen’s ability has made an impact on special teams, blocking four kicks over his career. He may be a riser after the all-star games and Combine.
Davante Adams, WR: Only a redshirt sophomore, Adams has requested a review of his draft status through the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Adams has been explosive the past two years; his speed, jumping ability and body control are elite. Adams makes catching the ball look effortless. Adams is talented but raw, needing work on his route-running. But certainly that is something that can be coached up. He may have the biggest upside of any prospect in the game.
Austin Wentworth, OT: Wentworth is a solid prospect, with prototypical size NFL scouts like. He is a technician in pass pro, utilizing angles and always keeping his hands up and in front. He has a strong punch to neutralize rushers. He is not a great athlete and can be beat with speed, making his matchup against super sophomore, Leonard Williams, intriguing in evaluating his ability.