NFL draft prospects to watch in Wednesday’s bowl games

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It’s becoming a trend in college football for top draft-eligible players to sit out their bowl games in order to avoid the risk of injury with a significant payday looming, including a handful who could have suited up Wednesday. The overwhelming majority of the players who will enter the NFL as rookies in 2018, though, still have one more competitive game to play.

Here’s a look at some of the players NFL scouts will be paying close attention to on Wednesday:

C Alec Eberle, Florida State

FSU vs. Southern Mississippi

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 6 center

As a junior, Eberle extended his streak of consecutive starts to 31 games and was named second-team All-ACC.

DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida State

FSU vs. Southern Mississippi

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 9 defensive tackle

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 25 overall

A third-team All-ACC selection as a senior, Nnadi finished the regular season with 51 tackles, including nine for loss.

C James Daniels, Iowa

Iowa vs. Boston College

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 3 center

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 37 overall

Daniels could return for his senior season but helped his NFL stock during a junior season in which Iowa gained 1,864 yards on the ground.

LB Josey Jewell, Iowa

Iowa vs. Boston College

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 3 inside linebacker

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 89 overall

Jewell, a senior, led the Big Ten with 123 tackles (11.2 per game) and finished the season with 4.5 sacks. He was a first-team all-conference selection.

CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa

Iowa vs. Boston College

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 2 cornerback

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 21 overall

Jackson was tied for the national lead with seven interceptions and returned two of them for scores. His 26 disrupted drop backs (combination of sacks, interceptions, batted passes and passes defended) were four more than any player in the country.

QB Drew Lock, Missouri

Texas vs. Missouri

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 5 quarterback

Lock has yet to announce if he will return for his senior season or depart for the NFL. He threw for 3,695 yards and led the country with 43 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions.

OLB Malik Jefferson, Texas

Texas vs. Missouri

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 9 outside linebacker

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 33 overall

Jefferson is not expected to play due to a toe injury, but coach Tom Herman would not completely rule him out. Jefferson was named the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year after finishing the regular season with 110 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.

P Michael Dickson, Texas

Texas vs. Missouri

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App

Kiper Position rank: No. 3 punter

The Ray Guy Award winner, Dickson announced he will enter the NFL draft with a year of eligibility remaining but will play in the bowl game.

Not playing

  • Florida State CB Tarvarus McFadden (No. 3 cornerback) and S Derwin James (No. 2 safety) elected to sit.

  • Boston College linebacker Harold Landry (No. 8 ILB) will not play due to injury.

  • Texas OT Connor Williams (No. 2 offensive tackle) and DB DeShon Elliott (No. 7 safety) announced in November they will forgo their senior seasons and would not participate in the Longhorns’ bowl game.

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