Tuesday night’s contest pitting Iowa against Missouri in the Insight Bowl may not receive the same high profile recognition as some of the BCS contests on the horizon, but it is a wonderful matchup of two teams possessing legitimate NFL talent. Missouri could have been deserving of a better bowl, but back-to-back losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech killed its top bowl dreams this season. Meanwhile, Iowa was a fad pick for Big Ten champions this season, only to fall flat on its proverbial face with a 7-5 record. Despite each team’s downfalls in 2010, there is plenty to watch for draftniks craving potential NFL talent in their football games.

3 Keys from the scouts
1. Live arms. As was mentioned in another bowl preview, it always starts with the quarterbacks. These two teams present legitimate early to mid round talents at the position in Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi. Each approach their duties in a different manner and present opposing skill sets. Gabbert has first round ability, prototype size, a big arm,  and has the ability to put up monster numbers in Mizzou’s spread system. He struggles recognizing pressure and his pocket presence is questionable at best. Whereas, Ricky Stanzi was developed in coach Kirk Ferentz’s pro style west coast system. He has become efficient and accurate as a senior. He struggled earlier in his career making the crucial mistake, particularly throwing ill-timed interceptions. Which of these two play more to their strengths than their weaknesses will tell the tale of the tape. But they have large obstacles in front of them, literally.

2. Defensive line rotations. Both teams can pressure the quarterbacks in waves. Names such as Missouri’s Aldon Smith and Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn are the headliners, despite both being somewhat disappointing this year for differing reasons. Smith’s injury has alotted increased playing time to others along the Tigers’ defensive line. Sophomore Brad Madison leads the team with 7.5 sacks. Junior Jacquies Smith has stepped in for Aldon and posted 5.5 sacks. Freshman Michael Sam has contributed 3.5 sacks as well. The team is deep and athletic, particularly among its defensive ends. The Hawkeyes counter with two potential first rounder talents up front. Clayborn may receive the recognition, but linemate Christian Ballard has posted a stronger senior campaign. Karl Klug, Broderick Binns, and Mike Daniels rotate and have combined for 23 total tackles for loss. It is a game won in the trenches and both team are hard to move off the football.

3. Role reversal. Each team has been hit with major losses due to off the field concerns relating to top players. Iowa’s wound has yet to heal with troubled wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos recently being arrested. He was was the school’s all time leading receiver. Missouri senior running back Derrick Washington was dismissed from the team just prior to the season starting. Both team’s take pride in their offensive identities. Iowa runs the football. Missouri loves to pass the football. Each loss hurts the team’s weaker area on the offensive side of the football. Missouri has shown the ability to run the football after its loss. Iowa’s Stanzi will have to shoulder more of the load throwing the football than he is accustomed.

Bold Predictions: Iowa was rocked when allegations came out regarding drug use running rampant throughout the program. Ferentz has stated it is not the issue many claimed and has been contained after a handful of arrests. Iowa is playing damage control at the moment after a disastrous season and now these issues. Missouri strung together a solid campaign in 2010 and are very explosive. They have the advantage of a better quarterback, more athleticism, and a top offense. Mizzou walks away with the win. Missouri 35, Iowa 17.

Pro-Prospect Preview

Missouri

Round Full Name Pos Num Yr Comments
1st Aldon Smith DE 85 3So Dynamite defensive prospect with the makings of a special player. Struggled with injuries in ’10 but still shows the ability to be a disruptive force. Will enter the 2011 draft.
1-2 Blaine Gabbert QB 11 3Jr Strong pocket passer who really elevated his game this season. A favorite of area NFL scouts. Could enter the draft and will be the second passer selected.
3rd Dan Hoch T 77 3Jr Powerful strong side tackle that dominates the opposition once he gets his hands on them.
5-6 Andrew Gachkar OLB 6 4Sr Terrific pursuit linebacker who makes plays sideline to sideline.
5-6 Jacquies Smith DE 3 3Jr Over shadowed by the other Smith yet still a solid ball player.
5-6 Michael Egnew TE N 4Jr
6-7 Jasper Simmons S 9 4Sr Solid run defending safety best in a straight line.
6th Elvis Fisher T 72 4Jr
7-FA Will Ebner ILB 32 3Jr
7-FA Tim Barnes C 62 5Sr Quick, explosive center that may be best in a zone blocking scheme.
FA Carl Gettis CB 19 4Sr
FA Derrick Washington RB 24 4Sr Fast, elusive ball carrier that uses all his blocks and creates his own yardage. Does not play to his size, must pick up the intensity blocking and struggling with off the field issues. Dismissed from the program at seasons start.
FA Jarrell Harrison S 11 4Sr
FA Luke Lambert ILB 33 4Sr
FA Kevin Rutland CB 20 5Sr

Iowa

Round Full Name Pos Num Yr Comments
1st Adrian Clayborn DE 94 5Sr Explosive defensive end whose sack production struggled this season while his play against the run improved. Overrated entering the season when he was graded as the top senior in the nation, but a legit mid-first round guy.
1st Christian Ballard DT 46 4Sr One of the most underrated players in the NFL draft. Ballard is explosive, athletic, powerful and can be used in a variety of defensive line spots.
3-4 Mike Daniels DT 93 3So Small but explosive defensive tackle that makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage or in pursuit. Potential three technique lineman.
4-5 Marvin McNutt WR 7 4Jr Big, tall wide out who looks like a power forward on the field. Starting to develop a fine game.
3rd Broderick Binns DE 91 4Jr Undersized but incredibly quick lineman who plays with great hustle.
5-6 Karl Klug DE 95 5Sr Tough, slug it out player on the inside with limited athleticism.
6th Jeremiha Hunter OLB 42 5Sr Fast, pursuit linebacker who covers a tremendous amount of area on the field.
6-7 Ricky Stanzi QB 12 5Sr Solid college passer with a questionable NFL arm.
7th Allen Reisner TE 82 4Sr Terrific pass catcher best as a move tight end or possibly an H-back.
FA Shaun Prater CB 28 3Jr
FA Julian Vandervelde G 63 5Sr Tough, small area blocker.
FA Derrell Johnson-Koulianos WR 15 5Sr Solid pass catcher who was making a big move up draft boards before major off the field violation sent his draft stock in a nose dive.
FA Brett Morse FB 36 5Sr
FA Tyler Sash S 9 4Jr
FA Brett Greenwood S 30 5Sr

Game Preview: Brent Sobleski

Prospect Preview:  Tony Pauline