Originally posted on Optimum Scouting  |  Last updated 12/21/12
This game may give many the ammunition to speak on how “bad” bowl games are. However, based on talent, especially young talent, this game should provide some excitement. And even in NFL Draft evaluation purposes, this game still features six players with NFL hopes in the future, with 2-3 having outside shots at getting drafted. It’s Friday Football, and if your one of the 14 teams in the NFL already out of the playoff picture, take a look at these six prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft.   Notes from Jimmy O’Brien and Alex Farnworth of Optimum Scouting Latavius Murray, RB, UCF - #28, 6’3, 220 With an NFL body and the productivity to lead the C-USA in rushing for much of this year, Murray certainly should be on the minds of NFL teams as of now. The physical, downhill runner is limited laterally, but runs through arm tackles with great lower body strength. He lacks explosiveness as a runner, but does have build-up speed to pull away at the second level. Not quite worthy of a draft pick, Murray may be a solid UDFA and maybe more if he tests well and plays well in his final game. Phil Smith, OT, UCF - #75, 6’5, 292 Smith, who comes from Tech’s run-heavy option based attack, struggled early this season adjusting to UCF’s zone blocking system. It was only recently, when Central Florida switched to a power, man-blocking scheme, that Smith began to look more comfortable and play to his potential. A solid drive blocker, with the balance and quick feet to mirror opponents in the passing game, Smith did a solid job maintaining a wide base and staying engaged versus opposing rushers. As an inexperienced pass protector, he battled all game, and showed potential for development; however, he was slow cutting off speed rushers on the edge, and struggled versus counter moves, giving up a big sack on an inside counter in the fourth quarter. At this point, Smith looks like a late round prospect, who could develop into a solid right tackle in a man-blocking scheme, if given the time and coaching to improve his pass protection skills, which are under-developed due to both Georgia Tech’s and UCF’s heavy emphasis on running the football. Theo Goins, OG, UCF - #68, 6’4, 317 A fairly athletic, consistent presence on the inside for the Central Florida, Goins is arguably UCF’s best prospect. He attacks well to the second level, holds his ground on the interior well (although he could react better against stunts/blitzes), and uses his hands well both in space and in pass protection. Also, before watching him play in his final game, read this story about how “Football Saved [His] Life”. Kemal Ishmael, S, UCF - #18, 5’11, 206 Despite being a bit undersized and lacking great hips or elite speed, Ishmael is a ballhawk in the run game, and finishes tackles very well in space. Not only does he attack in the run game, but he takes good angles against receivers and rarely seems out of place. Still, his lack of great athleticism and length may limit how many teams chase after him in the draft. But as a special teamer and situational safety to start, he could stick (and last) in the NFL. Jason Pinkston, CB, Ball State - #6, 6’0, 185 The 6-foot, tight coverage cornerback attacks the ball well off the receivers initial break, and times his jumps and swats well in man coverage. He doesn’t have great hips or downfield speed, but his vision of the quarterback and decisive steps in coverage allow him to be solid in man coverage. He may not be tested much in this game, but he’ll need to test better throughout the draft process if he hopes to get drafted. Travis Freeman, ILB, Ball State - #8, 6’0, 238 The physical, instinctive interior presence for Ball State has been a consistent force inside for this tea all year long. He shows great vision of the quarterback, attacks with good angles, and finishes tackles in traffic. However, he’s lack of coverage fluidity, block shedding, and poor use of hands is what likely makes him a special teamer only, and maybe limited to a 3-4 set at the next level.
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