Scouting The Sun Bowl
By Ken Scudero
With a variety of quarterback prospects available in the 2014 Draft, it's easy for some to get lost in the shuffle. This is sometimes simply due to the wealth of prospects at a given position, but for the two passing prospects in the Sun Bowl, it is due to the inability to meet expectations. Other than the QBs, there are a few possible early round picks as well as arguably, the best defensive prospect out there.
Anthony Barr, OLB
There are still plenty of scouts who rate Jadeveon Clowney as the best defensive prospect in the draft, but I believe Barr is just as good. He's got the size (6-foot-4, 245 pounds), the 4.5 speed, and the playmaking ability you covet in a linebacker. He disrupts plays in the backfield constantly and has a motor which never stops going. He's a rare breed which doesn't come around often and he is sure to be a top 5 pick.
Shaquelle Evans, WR
The Notre Dame transfer is a fast receiver with average hands. He has good size and can play in a multitude of packages. He's a decent route runner and his speed makes him look better than he is. If he was able eliminate the drops this season, he would be a higher-ranked prospect. He's a 5th-round pick at best.
Brett Hundley, QB
To stay or not to stay? Brett Hundley would be very smart to return for his junior season. He's an accurate quarterback with a slightly above-average arm. Hundley extends plays with his legs and great athleticism but has shown he is mistake prone. He has a lot of potential and needs at least one more year at UCLA before being able to step into the NFL and compete. I like Hundley as a future NFL quarterback but he didn't show enough this year to prove he's ready for the big time. If he does choose to come out, he should be selected in the middle of the draft.
Cassius Marsh, DE
Marsh was named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention for this season in which he had 6 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. He is a big, physical defensive end who seizes opportunities when they are presented to him. He won't be in the backfield on every play like an elite pass rusher, but if the quarterback holds onto the ball too long, Marsh is more than capable of finishing the play with a sack. He's a 6th or 7th round selection.
Xavier Su'a-Filo, G
Su'a-Filo is an All-Pac-12 first team selection. He's a 300-pounder who has started at left guard and left tackle. He returned to the team in 2012 after leaving for two years on a Mormon mission. Filo can return for his senior season but if he declares, he's a mid-draft selection.
Antone Exum, CB
Exum worked his way back from an ACL injury and only played in three games. He injured his left ankle and missed the last two games of the season and will likely miss the Sun Bowl. He has impressive size for a speedy corner (6-1, 220). He's an above-average tackler at the corner position and has the speed and technique to cover a team's top receivers. His pre-draft workouts will be crucial to his status. If he can show that his injuries have not affected his ability, he could be a late 4th/early 5th round pick.
Kyle Fuller, CB
Fuller is also injured and may not play in the bowl game. He is a second team Walter Camp All-American selection after starting in nine games this season. Fuller, a corner with quick feet like Exum, will also have to prove he can stay healthy and recover from an injury. He is a top 10 corner and could be drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.
James Gayle, DE
Gayle is 6-4, 255 of pure muscle. He tackles hard and makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. He tallied 10 tackles for loss as well as 5.5 sacks this season, and he will be a good third-down rusher at the next level. There should be a run on defensive ends and outside linebackers in this draft, and Gayle is worthy of a mid-draft selection.
Logan Thomas, QB
Thomas is one of the most confusing quarterback prospects on the board. He has impressive size (6-6, 254), he has a big arm, and he's very athletic. Thomas extends plays and runs for 1st downs and he even looks like Cam Newton at times. But the decision making in the pocket has been nothing short of disappointing. He has a lot of talent but lacks the quarterback IQ needed at the next level. There are definitely some teams who would take a shot on Thomas with the intention of grooming him behind a veteran, since his ability and size can't be ignored. Look for him to go on the last day of the draft.