Who's Skipping A Bowl Game To Focus On The NFL Draft?

Who's Skipping A Bowl Game To Focus On The NFL Draft?

2019 NFL Draft

Who's Skipping A Bowl Game To Focus On The NFL Draft?

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It’s now the new norm – which NFL draft prospects are skipping their bowl games to stay healthy for the next level?


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Finally, the smart players have figured out that there’s absolutely no point to risk a whole lot of money and possibly an NFL dream by playing in a bowl game. Which players are sitting out and skipping a bowl to preserve themselves for the next level? Who’ll replace them?


LB Devin Bush, Michigan

With a hip injury, there is a legitimate reason to not push it against the Gators. If Michigan was in the College Football Playoff or the Rose Bowl, he’s probably finding a way to give it a go, but considering he’s a fringe first rounder, there’s absolutely no reason to mess with it.

Bowl Skipping: Chick-fil-A Peach vs. Florida
Draft Projection
: Late First, Early Second Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Joshua Uche, Jr.

OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia

The NFL stock of the 6-4, 321-pounder couldn’t get a whole lot higher. He’s already an All-Big 12 talent with the size and pass blocking ability to fill in just about anywhere on the line.

Bowl Skipping: Camping World vs. Syracuse
Draft Projection
: Late Second, Early Third Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Kelby Wickline, Jr.

LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota

Uhhhhh, okay. There’s a place in the league for him, but the 6-2, 235-pounder is a bit undersized and will likely be a special teamer early on before finding a role. He led the Gophers with 104 stops and got behind the line for 15 tackles for loss. Against Georgia Tech’s option, he had a chance to come up with at least ten tackles and boost his tape that much more.

Bowl Skipping: Quick Lane vs. Georgia Tech
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Julian Huff, Sr.

TE Noah Fant, Iowa

TJ Hockenson won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, but Fant led the Hawkeyes with seven touchdown passes on 39 catches for 419 yards. The 6-5, 241-pounder it likely the first tight end off the board.

Bowl Skipping: Outback vs. Mississippi State 
Draft Projection
: 1st round, top 25
Who’s Replacing Him?: TJ Hockenson, Soph.

DT Rashan Gary, Michigan

The team was used to playing without him for parts of the season, but when he was on, he was every bit the NFL starter he’s supposed to be. There was a shoulder issue, but he still managed to make 44 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Against a physical team like Florida, he’ll be missed.

Bowl Skipping: Chick-fil-A Peach vs. Florida  
Draft Projection
: 1st round, top 15
Who’s Replacing Him?: Carlo Kemp, Jr.

OT Donnell Greene, Minnesota

The 6-7, 320-pounder should be a top 100 pick, but he could’ve showed off just a little bit more to potentially get a boost. He’s good, but the Minnesota running game could’ve used him on the outside against the Yellow Jackets. The Gophers need to control the clock as much as possible, and Greene would’ve been a key part of that.

Bowl Skipping: Motor City vs. Georgia Tech
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Quinn Oseland, Jr. or Kyle Sassack, RFr.

QB Will Grier, West Virginia

It’s a slight shocker considering he’s probably going to have to battle to get into the first round. This would’ve been a showcase to bomb away and make one final statement, but considering the catastrophic injuries to McKenzie Milton and Alex Smith, there’s no reason to risk it.

Bowl Skipping: Camping World vs. Syracuse
Draft Projection
: Second Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Jack Allison, Soph.

WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State

This is a problem. The Wolfpack still have a good target in Jakobi Meyers, and QB Ryan Finley makes everyone around him better, but Harmon was the gamebreaker the team could’ve really, really used to keep up with this Aggie team.

Bowl Skipping: TaxSlayer Gator vs. Texas A&M
Draft Projection
: 2nd Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: CJ Riley, Soph.

WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

The Sun Devils have other good targets, but Harry was by far the team leader with 73 catches for 1,088 yards and nine scores – the rest of the team combined for ten touchdown catches. There will be some rearranging to find someone who can stretch the field at the X.

Bowl Skipping: Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas vs. Boise State
Draft Projection
: Late First Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Brandon Aiyuk, Jr. or Ryan Jenkins, Sr.

RB Darrell Henderson, Memphis

One of the best home run hitters in college football had his final act with a brilliant performance against UCF in the American Athletic championship loss. He’s missing out on a 2,000-yard season – just 91 yards away – with 22 touchdowns and averaging close to nine yards per carry. There’s nothing else he can do to up his stock too much – he’s a fringe top 100 pick.

Bowl Skipping: Jared Birmingham vs. Wake Forest
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Patrick Taylor, Jr.

RB Karan Higdon, Michigan

It’s not a bad call considering he’s locked in as a fringe top 100 pick, but one big performance against Florida in a high-profile bowl might have pushed him into the third round. He’s a good back who’ll play in the league, but it’s not like he’s a sure-thing guy who’s protecting millions in generational wealth by not playing.

Bowl Skipping: Chick-fil-A Peach vs. Florida
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Chris Evans, Jr.

RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys are always going to throw the ball, and Chuba Hubbard proved himself worthy when he got his chances, but a rested Hill would’ve been a huge help in what should be a shootout vs. Missouri. Hill led the team with 930 yards with nine scores.

Bowl Skipping: AutoZone Liberty vs. Missouri
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Chuba Hubbard, Fr.

CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston

With a special combination of size, athleticism and ball skills, he’s ready for the league. the former wide receiver is 6-4 and 203 pounds and can hit, coming up with 66 tackles on the season – 50 in the open field – with two picks and seven broken up passes. He’s probably more of a safety at the next level, but he’ll be a high-riser in the process.

Bowl Skipping: Lockheed Martin Armed Forces vs. Army
Draft Projection
: Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him?  Javian Smith, Soph.

CB Justin Layne, Michigan State

It’s a curious move for the second-team All-Big Ten performer. He made 72 tackles with a pick and 15 broken up passes, but he’s a fringe top 100 prospect. This was a high-profile game to stand out against a great quarterback and good passing team – he could’ve only helped his stock.

Bowl Skipping: Redbox vs. Oregon
Draft Projection
: Third Round
Who’s Replacing Him?: Shakur Brown, RFr.

RB Bryce Love, Stanford

Wait, he played this season? He was bottled up all year long, running for just 739 yards and six touchdowns after being near the top of everyone’s Heisman list. His draft stock is already baked in – he’s probably going just inside the top 100 as a part of a rotation. No one’s featured back, he’s dangerous when he stays healthy, but he hasn’t been quite right for the last season and a half. GMs know what he is, but one big performance – he had just one 100-yard game – might have moved him up a bit.

Bowl Skipping: Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. Pitt
Draft Projection
: Third Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Cameron Scarlett, Sr.

DT Ed Oliver, Houston

Why did he even play at all this season? He declared before the year began that he was off to the NFL once the year was done, and he was great when he was on the field making 54 tackles with three sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. But it was obvious that he was ready to roll – but the Cougars could’ve certainly used him against the Army option.

Bowl Skipping: Lockheed Martin Armed Forces vs. Army
Draft Projection
: Top Ten Overall
Who’s Replacing Him? Aymiel Fleming, Jr.

LB Germaine Pratt, NC State

Ugh. Against one of the nation’s better rushing attacks, losing the leading tackler and the leader off the defense front seven might be a killer. The senior  on the weakside came up with 104 tackles with six sacks and 104 tackles for loss. Backup Brock Miller has 16 tackles on the year.

Bowl Skipping: TaxSlayer Gator vs. Texas A&M
Draft Projection
: Third Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Brock Miller, Soph.

WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

It was sort of surprising when he came back after missing almost all of last year hurt, but he got through with a big year catching 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 scores, ripping up Clemson for 210 yards and three scores.

Bowl Skipping: Belk vs. Virginia
Draft Projection: Third Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Josh Vann, Fr.

CB Greedy Williams, LSU

The 6-3 sophomore is part of a killer Tiger secondary, but he’s a key element to the puzzle with his length and his cover skills. You don’t take out a Thorpe award-caliber defensive back against this no-joke UCF offense without it stinging.

Bowl Skipping: Fiesta vs. UCF
Draft Projection
: Top 15 Overall
Who’s Replacing Him? Kary Vincent, Soph.

OG Larry Williams, Oklahoma State

Uh, okay. He’s definitely a NFL prospect, but he’s likely a right guard only. The 6-5, 330-pounder has the size, and he’s ready to go to the next level, but he’s almost certainly not a top 50 pick and could slide into the fourth round.

Bowl Skipping: AutoZone Liberty vs. Missouri
Draft Projection
: Late Third, Early Fourth Round
Who’s Replacing Him? Deionte Noel, Sr.

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