Scouting The San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
By Ken Scudero
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.
Not only is the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl the bowl with the longest name, it's also got one of the most intriguing prospects in the entire draft. Northern Illinois and Utah State will collide on December 26 at Qualcomm Stadium. With a few late-round picks getting their last shot at showing scouts what they can do, one prospect was a Heisman finalist and is sure to put on one last show in his last college game.
Ken Bishop, DT
Bishop was named All-MAC first team for the 2013 season. He's sized exceptionally for his position (6-foot-1, 308 pounds) and is surprisingly athletic, even intercepting a pass this season. He racked up 65 total tackles with 5.5 of those for loss. He isn't as quick or strong as the best defensive tackle prospects out there but Bishop has some value in the later rounds.
Jordan Lynch, QB
AP All-American and Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch is one of the most interesting prospects in the entire draft. Comparisons will be drawn to Tim Tebow, with the tough running and the option offense, but Lynch has more to offer than that. He rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 TDs this past season, but he also passed for 2,676 yards with 23 TDs and only 7 picks. Lynch has a slightly above-average arm and he has shown glimpses of greatness when sitting in the pocket. But his running is what makes him truly great. To rush for more than 1,800 yards as a quarterback in back-to-back seasons, you have to be a gifted runner. If he can find the perfect balance of run and pass with an NFL coach, he has the chance to be something special. Expect him to be selected in the 3rd or 4th round with potentially a tremendous upside.
Jimmie Ward, SS
Ward was named All-MAC first team after leading his team with 77 tackles, along with 6 interceptions and 8 pass breakups. Ward has very good speed for a safety and good instincts when closing in on receivers and ballcarriers. He is one of the 10 best safeties available in the draft and could be selected in the 6th or 7th round.
Tyler Larsen, C
Larsen was a Remington Trophy finalist this season and was also named AP second team All-America. He is a 6-4, 312-pound center who's started in 38 consecutive games after recovering from a knee injury. Larsen is a leader on the offense, making all the blocking calls, and NFL scouts will be impressed with his understanding of the offense. He is one of the best centers available and should be drafted in the 4th or 5th round.
Nevin Lawson, CB
Lawson is a physical cover corner at the line of scrimmage and can play all aspects of the position well. He intercepted four balls this season, returning one of them for a TD. He also broke up an impressive 14 passes. He had 53 total tackles, five of those were for a loss of yards. Lawson has great speed and the rare talent of being able to anticipate the moves of a receiver. Lawson will be a sleeper defensive back pick in the 5th round of this draft.
Chuckie Keeton, QB
If Keeton hadn't gotten injured in the middle of the season, I believe he would have declared for this draft. He still hasn't announced his decision, and though I expect him to stay in school for another year, he's still a prospect worth examining. He has an average arm, good accuracy and great running ability. He is just an average overall passer with the potential to be better, and I was looking for that from him this season. He started off strong with 18 TDs and only two interceptions until he suffered a left knee injury in the sixth game of the season. If Keeton chooses to go into this draft, he may not be selected and will be looked at as a project by an NFL team. If he stays at Utah State and comes back healthy next season, he's got the potential to be one of the top QBs in 2015.