NFL Draft

BCS Bowl Games 2013-14: Top NFL Prospects to Watch in Marquee Matchups

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 26:  C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

The 2013-14 BCS bowl games will act as a final send-off for many collegiate players, but a select few are headed to the 2014 NFL draft to test the waters at the professional level. 

Much can be determined about the stock of said players by their final performance before making the jump. Numerous workouts and interviews line a lengthy, rigorous road to the big leagues, but whether prospects end their collegiate careers with a whimper or exclamation point has a major impact on their stock.

Here are a few big names to monitor in the biggest games of all in the final year of the BCS.

BCS Bowl Predictions
Game Date Location Matchup Predicted Winner
Rose Bowl Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Michigan State vs. Stanford Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. Baylor vs. UCF Baylor
Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 New Orleans, La. Alabama vs. Oklahoma Alabama
Orange Bowl Jan. 3 Miami, Fla. Clemson vs. Ohio State Ohio State
BCS Title Game Jan. 6 Pasadena, Calif. Auburn vs. Florida State Florida State
Schedule via ESPN

 

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (Rose Bowl)

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) prepares for the snap of the ball during the 2nd half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Darqueze Dennard has made quite the name for himself this year and has risen to the first round in many draft projections, including the one over at CBS Sports.

Dennard has been the definition of a lockdown corner as a senior and was rewarded for his efforts, as Michigan State's Twitter account illustrates:

Even better, Dennard has been garnering some lofty comparisons, according to Charles Davis of NFL.com: "I've heard chatter that some think he's as good a corner as they've seen since Deion Sanders. I'm not co-signing on to the Primetime comparison, but I think he's very good and has the potential to be terrific at the next level."

We will learn much about Dennard in the Rose Bowl when the No. 4 Spartans take on the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal. While he already did much to solidify his status as a first-rounder in the Big Ten Championship, Dennard can hurt or help his stock in the biggest game of his career to date.

 

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (Sugar Bowl)

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 26:  C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

C.J. Mosley had quite the year as the heart and soul of the Alabama Crimson Tide defense, and he capped it off with the Butkus Award, per the team's Twitter account:

The four-year starter joins a prestigious group of names to win the award in recent years, including Manti Te'o, Luke Kuechly and Von Miller.

Mosley has one final thing to accomplish in his collegiate career: help down the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl.

A statistical monster with 102 total tackles, five passes defensed and one forced fumble this year, Mosley has a game that should translate well to the NFL. He is considered by many as a top player at his position, and he is far and away one of the biggest names to watch in the BCS contests.

 

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (Orange Bowl)

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 30:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers drops back to pass during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Clemson Tigers senior quarterback Tajh Boyd faces some adversity as his team preps to take on No. 7 Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.

Boyd has undoubtedly been explosive throughout his career. He threw for 3,896 yards, 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year as a junior. As a senior, he threw for 3,473 yards, 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

But Boyd has continuously failed against Clemson's biggest rival, the South Carolina Gamecocks. Boyd threw for 225 yards and two interceptions to end the year with a loss and an all-time 0-4 mark against the Gamecocks.

How will Boyd respond under more pressure than ever in his final collegiate contest? There is no question Boyd has the talent to be a first-round selection, but he has something to prove in the biggest game of his career. 

Should he falter once more, Boyd's path to the draft will be a brutal endeavor of tests and questions about his composure.

 

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