The college bowl system may be watered down but it does provide for a final look at a number of draft-eligible players on a nationals stage. Here is the bowl schedule for today as well as a look at a few players that could be on the Lions’ radar come April.
BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss
1 p.m. ET
Ray Graham, RB, Pitt – Graham was well on his way to becoming one of the top running backs in the class before he suffered a an ACL tear last season. Before the injury Graham had rushed for 734 rushing yards in five games and led the country in rushing. Graham bounced back nicely this season earning All-Big East First Team honors with 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also recorded 36 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions could take a shot at him on day three if his forty time improves based on his college production, much like they did with Ryan Broyles in the second round and Kellen Moore as an undrafted free agent.
Chris Jacobson, OG, Pitt – Jacobson is a bit undersized for a guard at 6’2″ 295 lbs, but he’s been a solid member of a stout offensive line for Pittsburgh and could find a spot on the Lions’ practice squad this season. Another factor to take into consideration is his ACL tear during his fifth year at Pittsburgh. It usually takes two seasons for a player to come back from this type of injury so Jacobson could have more upside than his final season at Pittsburgh showed. Offensive line could be an area the Lions address if Jeff Backus retires and Gosder Cherilus and Stephen Peterman enter the free agent market so it’s possible the Lions stock up on lineman. Jacobson will is projected as a late round pick and could be undrafted free agent.
Ryan Turnley, C, Pitt – Regarded as the most consistent member of the Panthers’ offensive line, Ryan Turnley earned second team All-Big East honors from the coaches. He has started 25 consecutive games and played in 42 overall in his college career. Turnley is a huge guy at 6’5″ and 320 pounds but carries just a seventh round/UDFA projection.
Randall Mackey, Athlete, Ole Miss – Most Lions fans are probably well aware of Denard Robinson’s professional prospects and Randall Mackey, while not as dynamic of a player, faces a similar challenge. He came to Ole Miss as a highly regarded dual-threat quarterback as a JUCO transfer and has seen time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver as a Rebel. Mackey isn’t currently a highly regarded prospect but that might be held down by his limited time in a defined role. Perhaps there is an offensive coach out there with a creative mind that sees something to work with.