The big name prospects in the Sun Bowl are UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller. However, don’t sleep on UCLA’s Xavier Su’a Filo who has the talent to sneak into the first round. Keep an eye on quarterback Brett Hundley who has yet to make a decision about his future. A strong performance in this game could impact his decision. Jon Dove breaks down the prospects in this contest.
Anthony Barr/OLB/UCLA: Anthony Barr is easily one of the top five prospects available in this year’s draft. He’s a versatile defender capable of rushing the passer, holding up against the run and dropping in coverage. However, it’s his potential as a pass rusher that makes him such an attractive prospect. It’s also important to note that Barr is still developing as a player. This past season was only his second year fully focusing on playing defense. Barr isn’t just a high upside players as his raw skills will allow him to make an immediate impact. Early 1st Round
Kyle Fuller/CB/Virginia Tech: Kyle Fuller is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. He’s a physical defender who features solid athleticism and excellent ball skills. This is a well rounded cornerback who excels at supporting the run and fits in any coverage scheme. Fuller’s best attributes are his ability to limit a receiver’s separation and break on the ball. He has a knack for breaking up passes and avoiding contact with the receiver. Fuller could be the first cornerback off the board if he runs well at the combine. 1st Round
Xavier Su’a Filo/G/UCLA: Xavier Su’a Filo is a very underrated prospect who should be able to step in and make an immediate impact. His future in the NFL is at the guard position, but he’s more than capable of playing some tackle in a pinch. Su’a Filo held his own this year when asked to fill in at left tackle when UCLA was dealing with some injuries. He’s a solid athlete who plays with a ton of balance. His wide base, long arms and fluid movements allow him to hold up well in pass protection. Su’a Filo is committed to gaining inside hand placement and Velcro to the defender. This allows him to both create space in the running game and seal defenders from the play. Early 2nd Round
James Gayle/DE/Virginia Tech: James Gayle enjoyed a highly productive career at Virginia Tech. He excels at generating pressure on the quarterback thanks to his quickness, low pad level and change of direction ability. This past year he improved his snap awareness which helped Gayle become a more consistent player. The one major question facing Gayle is what position he’ll play at the next level. Virginia Tech lined him up at defensive end throughout his career, but he’ll need to get stronger at the point of attack to stick in that spot. 2nd Round
Antone Exum/DB/Virginia Tech: Antone Exum’s draft position is in jeopardy because he failed to fully come back from a knee injury he suffered last year. He was only able to suit up for a handful of games and didn’t look like himself when on the field. When healthy, Exum proved to be a solid cover man who liked to play a physical brand of football. He showed the overall athleticism to stick with quicker receivers and the size to handle the bigger targets. The medical exams will be what determine where Exum ultimately gets drafted. 5th Round
Cassius Marsh/DL/UCLA: Cassius Marsh is a prospect who is likely to have a more successful career in the NFL than this college production would suggest. He’s a good athlete who plays with a high motor and solid awareness. The issue is that UCLA used him all across the defensive line and often out of position. Marsh actually shows the burst, long arms and balance to play defensive end in a 4-3 attack. He also fits as a five-technique because of his ability to play some two-gap football. However, he remains an unfinished product who needs to improve his consistency. This is someone who fits the mold of a high-risk/ high-reward prospect. 5th Round
Jordan Zumwalt/LB/UCLA: Jordan Zumwalt has the quickness and instincts needed to succeed at the next level. He plays with a tenacity that allows him to make plays sideline to sideline. His ability to hold up in coverage adds some versatility to his game. However, he lacks the strength and bulk evaluators look for in a linebacker prospect. Zumwalt will struggle taking on blocks and disengaging at the next level. There’s potential here but it may take a year or two before Zumwalt can develop into a starting caliber player. Late 5th Round