Scouting the Outback Bowl: Florida vs Iowa

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Colin Littlefield

Draft Analyst Writer

A consistent New Year’s Day favorite, this year’s Outback Bowl provides a matchup between two very good defenses, as both Iowa (8-4) and Florida (8-4) are tied for 10th in the nation in points allowed per game, with 17.9. Iowa enters the bowl game on a three game winning streak, that includes victories over Michigan, Illinois, and Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are looking to bounce back from last year’s postseason, when they were handily defeated by the Stanford Cardinal, 45-16, in the Rose Bowl. Florida, on the other hand, enters the game with a bad taste in their mouths. They’re coming off a big loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, which ended 54-16. The Gators are looking for their first bowl win, under second-year head coach Jim McElwain.

Outback Bowl Prospects

Rnd

Grade

School

Full Name

Pos

Number

Year

1st

3.99

Florida

Jalen Tabor

CB

31

3Jr

1st

3.98

Iowa

Josey Jewell

OLB

43

4Jr

2nd

3.94

Florida

Quincy Wilson

CB

6

3Jr

2nd

3.93

Iowa

Desmond King

CB

14

4Sr

2nd

3.87

Florida

Caleb Brantley

DT

57

4Jr

2-3

3.79

Florida

Jarrad Davis

ILB

40

4Sr

3rd

3.64

Florida

Marcus Maye

S

20

5Sr

3rd

3.60

Iowa

Miles Taylor

S

12

3Jr

4th

3.53

Iowa

Jaleel Johnson

DT

67

5Sr

4th

3.52

Florida

Bryan Cox Jr

DE

94

5Sr

5th

3.45

Iowa

C.J. Beathard

QB

16

5Sr

5th

3.41

Iowa

Ike Boettger

T

75

4Jr

6th

3.37

Iowa

Boone Myers

G

52

4Jr

6th

3.35

Iowa

Sean Welsh

G

79

4Sr

6th

3.34

Florida

David Sharpe

T

78

3Jr

7th

3.29

Iowa

Cole Croston

T

64

5Sr

7th-FA

3.25

Iowa

Greg Mabin

CB

13

5Sr

FA

3.23

Florida

Austin Appleby

QB

12

5Sr

FA

3.22

Iowa

Ben Niemann

OLB

44

3Jr

FA

3.22

Florida

Alex Anzalone

ILB

34

4Jr

FA

3.11

Iowa

George Kittle

TE

46

5Sr

FA

3.10

Florida

DeAndre Goolsby

TE

30

3Jr

FA

3.05

Iowa

Leshun Daniels

RB

29

4Sr

FA

3.05

Iowa

Matt VandeBerg

WR

89

4Sr

FA

2.99

Florida

Joey Ivie

DT

91

4Sr

FA

2.98

Iowa

Bo Bower

OLB

41

4Jr

Gator cornerback Jalen Tabor is our highest rated Florida player in the Outback Bowl. He enters the game leading Florida with four interceptions, while also making 32 tackles, so far. His regular season performance was enough to earn First Team All-SEC Honors. His size (6’1”, 201 lbs) and speed combination should translate well to the next level and as reported in December 27th’s DA Draft Buzz, we expect him to make the jump. Tabor is our fourth-ranked cornerback and we grade him as a first round pick. Our third-ranked prospect in the game is fellow Gator cornerback, Quincy Wilson. He is entering the game with three interceptions and 31 tackles, which has been enough to earn him a Second Team All-SEC Selection. Wilson is a little bit thicker than Tabor, standing at 6’1” and 213 lbs, yet has similar speed. He has great athleticism and is a solid tackler. As Tony Pauline reported in December 27th’s DA Draft Buzz, we expect Wilson to declare for the NFL Draft. He is our sixth-ranked cornerback and is presently graded as a second round choice, but a good performance in the Outback Bowl, as well as a good combine, could help him sneak into the first round. Should he enter the draft Gator defensive lineman Caleb Bentley, presently rated as a second round prospect, could sneak into the late first round.  Bentley is an explosive but slightly undersized lineman who could line-up as a three technique tackle or possible as a 3-4 end in a one-gap system.  Will Bentley enter the draft?  Source told our Tony Pauline while Bentley has spoken with agents and is seeking out information its only about 50/50 right now.

Our top-rated Hawkeye prospect is outside linebacker Josey Jewell, who has said in the past that he does not intend to leave Iowa for this year’s draft. He completed his regular season as a Butkus Award finalist, as well as garnering Second Team All-Big Ten Honors. The redshirt junior has an incredibly aggressive and physical style of play, which makes up for being a tad undersized. He’s entering the game with 105 tackles, .5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Jewell is our second-ranked outside linebacker and had he declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, we project he would have been a first round selection. Another Hawkeye defensive player to keep your eyes on is Iowa cornerback Desmond King. The senior defender is coming into the game with 52 tackles, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. King earned both First and Second Team All-Big Ten Honors this season. He made the first team as a cornerback and the second team as a returner. As reported in our DA Draft Buzz on December 13th, some teams are grading King as a safety, as he’s a physical player and could have a greater benefit to an NFL team when his role has a greater emphasis on watching an entire play develop, rather than having to be one-on-one with a receiver that has top-end speed. The 5’11” 200 lb senior is our seventh-ranked cornerback and we presently grade him as a second round choice.