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Players Who Helped Boost Their Draft Stock During The Bowl Season

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Besides for the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, the college football bowl season has come to an end, which means the start of draft season. For a chunk of college football players, their bowl game was their last opportunity to put some more positive game tape in the hands of scouts, coaches and executives.

Some players took advantage of their opportunity to boost their draft stock and some didn’t. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which players put a positive stamp on their college football careers.

Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech

Kenneth Dixon was flying below the radar as a upper-echelon running back prospect prior to the bowl season; however, that all changed when Dixon went off against Arkansas State on the national stage. Dixon went for 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries to go along with six catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Dixon showcased a skill set that deserves to be selected in the first 50 picks of the 2016 NFL draft. Dixon may be the best receiver out of the backfield in this class. He has a great knowledge of route concepts and he has great hands with electrifying ability with the ball in his hands.

When he is running the ball, Dixon showcases great vision and fantastic elusiveness. He is extremely difficult to bring down on first contact and he often made his offensive line at Louisiana Tech look better than it was. On top of that, Dixon has sneaky power and he knows how to contort his body so that he doesn’t receive a ton of punishment.

All in all, Dixon is a very well-rounded running back who could fit into any scheme. If he went to a power-five conference team instead of Louisiana Tech, you would probably hear about him being a first-round pick.

Jared Goff, California

You couldn’t have put a bigger exclamation mark on a college football career than what California quarterback Jared Goff did against Air Force. Currently, Goff is embroiled in a competition with Connor Cook and Paxton Lynch to be the first quarterback, and possibly player, taken in the NFL draft and he did all he could to prove that he should be the front-runner.

Goff finished with 467 yards passing with six touchdowns and a 67.6 percent completion percentage. Many detractors would point that Goff did it against a subpar Air Force defense, but that would be ignoring all the beautiful touch and pinpoint accurate passes that Goff hit during the Armed Forces Bowl. Goff has been extremely productive behind an awful offensive line at California, and while many would view that has a negative for his career, it has required him to develop the necessary skills that will allow him to compensate for their failures. These skills, like operating in a muddy pocket, are extremely vital in the NFL because it is rare that you get a perfect pocket.

While many college quarterbacks struggle to deal with pressure in the NFL, Goff will have a leg up because of what he dealt with throughout his career.

The battle for the No. 1 quarterback in this class is long from over, but Goff definitely ended on a higher note than any other quarterback who could be considered.

Jarran Reed, Alabama

Unlike the other two players mentioned in this article, Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed didn’t fill up the stat sheet. In fact, he only recorded three total tackles against Michigan State. Despite the fact that he didn’t put up big numbers, Reed played extremely well.

On nearly every play that he was in, Reed lined up against quite possibly the best draft-eligible center in college football, Jack Allen. Despite that fact, Reed was dominant against the run, just like he has been all season. Reed controlled Allen for the entirety of the game and he was the biggest reason why the Spartans couldn’t get their running game going.

Reed used his lower body strength to hold his spot and his superior hand placement to eat up multiple blocks, which allowed the linebacker to flow to the ball carrier and make plays.

Ultimately, Reed is never going to be a defensive tackle who generate much of a pass rush; yet, he can become a dominant run stuffer who occupies multiple gaps and allows his teammates to prosper.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com