NFL draft prep: Holiday Bowl prospects

NFL draft prep: Holiday Bowl prospects
December 30, 2013, 1:45 pm

Arizona State and Texas Tech will battle in the National University Holiday Bowl at 10:15 p.m. on Monday. (USA Today Images)

National University Holiday Bowl
No. 14 Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
10:15 p.m., ESPN

*Denotes juniors
**Denotes redshirt sophomores

*Jace Amaro – TE, Texas Tech, No. 22 (Currently ranked 23rd overall on my board)
In today’s NFL, it’s important to have play-making tight ends that can stretch the field and make an impact. There isn’t a tight end in the country who has made a bigger impact in a passing game than the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Amaro, who entering bowl play has caught 98 passes for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns.

Whether he’s in the slot or on the perimeter, Amaro has the ability to exploit a defense with his natural receiving skills and vision. If Amaro decides to cash in on his breakout season, he could land in the first round, but NFL decision makers will be very interested in his 40-time at the scouting combine, which will be a major factor in where he’s selected.

Will Sutton - DT, Arizona State, No. 90 (Currently ranked 62nd overall on my board)
One of my favorite defensive players to scout, the 6-foot-1, 288-pound Sutton is an explosive, undersized one-gap penetrator who plays with a large degree of athleticism and is disruptive behind the line of scrimmage. Sutton, who leading up to tonight’s kickoff collected 44 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, four sacks and an interception, is a big-play performer and can be a terror in the trenches, but he must play with a more consistent motor to live up to his full potential.

*Carl Bradford - OLB, Arizona State, No. 52 (Currently ranked 96th overall on my board)
There’s a lot to like about the 6-foot-1, 243-pound Bradford. He’s a passionate player who brings a unique blend of power and production to the field that scouts are looking for in a rush linebacker, and he has displayed the ability to be disruptive in the backfield as he’s amassed 55 tackles, 18 for a loss, 8.5 sacks and an interception.

Bradford’s passion for the game tends to get the best of him at times, as it did last month when he got into an argument with head coach Todd Graham, resulting in him being benched. Regardless of his temperament, Bradford is an intriguing prospect who can wreak havoc on the opposition. He’s one to keep an eye on during the draft process, if he decides to forego his senior season.

Others to watch
Arizona State: QB *Taylor Kelly (6-1, 204), RB Marion Grice (6-0, 207), FB/TE Chris Coyle (6-2, 240), WR **Jaelen Strong (6-4, 205), DE, Davon Coleman (6-2, 283), ILB Chris Young (6-0, 244), CB Osahon Irabor (5-11, 186), SS Alden Darby (5-11, 195), FS Robert Nelson (5-10, 170), FS *Damarious Randall (6-0, 185).

Texas Tech: RB *Kenny Williams (5-9, 225), WR Eric Ward (5-11, 205), OT **Le’Raven Clark (6-5, 320), DE Kerry Hyder (6-2, 280), OLB Will Smith (6-2, 220), FS Tre Porter (5-11, 205).