The Gildan New Mexico Bowl doesn’t feature a ton of NFL prospects but does have at least four who have a chance to make a splash at the next level. This game with give both players an opportunity to further build their resume.
Trent Matthews/S/Colorado State: Matthews is a nice sized safety developing his game at a rapid pace. The red-shirt sophomore is an athletic three down player that shows toughness against the run (64 tackles) and top ball skills (4 ints/3 PBU’s). He possesses the range to go sideline-to-sideline as well as the ball skills necessary to play over the slot receiver. Matthews needs a little polish but comes with a large upside. 3rd Round
Deone Bucannon/S/Washington State: Deone Bucannon is an aggressive safety who excels at supporting the run. He takes proper angles to the football, has the burst to quickly attack the line of scrimmage and isn’t afraid to take on blocks in the hole. It helps that he has good size for the position that allows him to deliver big hits and disengage. The main concern I have surrounding Bucannon is his feel in coverage. He has a tendency to peek into the backfield and lose positioning. The way he aggressively supports the run can also be a problem for his coverage ability. On the positive side, Bucannon keeps his pads down which helps him quickly get in and out of his backpedal. This is a prospect with real upside, but needs to round out his game and improve his coverage ability to reach his full potential. 3rd Round
Weston Richburg/C/Colorado State: Weston Richburg is one of those prospects whose best football is still ahead of him. He’s natural athlete with the size and quickness needed to succeed at the next level. That athleticism also gives Richburg the potential play multiple positions along the offensive line. Richburg’s strength is his ability to quickly get out of his stance, cross the face of the defender and reach the second level. He appears to love run blocking showing a nasty streak to generate a push off the line. The one area Richburg needs to improve is his commitment to keeping his pads down. Improving in this area will directly benefit his balance and ability to anchor in pass protection. Richburg still needs to grow as a player, but has as much upside as any center prospect in this draft class. 4th Round
Kivon Cartwright/TE/Colorado State: Cartwright is everything NFL teams are looking for in a tight end these days. The athletic junior has the speed and pass catching skills to consistently get downfield and create mismatches in the secondary. He averaged 16.4 yards on 25 receptions in 2013, six which resulted in scores. Blocking is not his forte’, though its not due to lack of effort. In time Cartwright will be a fine move tight end at the next level. 4th Round