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: April 03, 2014, 02:17:23 AM

NFL Draft: Top Prospects and Their Best Collegiate Performance
By Zachary Krueger

March 31, 2014    9:25 pm

By now it seems like we know just about everything we can about the top prospects in this year's draft. Analysts all over are discussing arm strength, accuracy, pass protecting ability, pass catching ability, route running and so on.

We have a good idea of which prospects appear to be the most NFL ready once they're selected, and we know which ones will need a little bit of polishing before they're able to show their full potential.

With everybody taking a look at what is ahead for these soon to be superstars, this article takes a look back at their best collegiate game. Anything from a victory over a top ranked opponent, to an incredible statistical performance can make the list. Read on to find out more about these players' performances.

Johnny Manziel: November 10, 2012 @ #1 Alabama

Johnny Manziel was already on his way to being put on the map as one of the best collegiate players in the nation.

Prior to Texas A&M's matchup at number one ranked Alabama, Manziel had helped lead the Aggies to a 7-2 record while amassing 2,527 yards passing, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

In its first years in the SEC, Texas A&M traveled to Alabama to take on the top-ranked Crimson Tide. At the time, the Aggies were ranked 15th in the nation, and were facing off against one of the best defenses in the nation.

Manziel should great poise in one of the most hostile environments he had to play in to date. In the end, Manziel handed Alabama its only loss of the season, defeating the Tide 29-24.

He completed 24 of his 31 passes for 253 yards while throwing for two touchdowns, and didn't turn the ball over once.

In addition to his great passing performance, Manziel also carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards.

One interesting fact is that during the game CBS put a graphic on screen showing the top five Heisman candidates at that point in the season.

Manziel's name was nowhere to be found on the graphic, but a big win against Alabama and a stellar performance throughout the remainder of the season resulted in him becoming the first freshman to win the coveted award.

Blake Bortles: November 16, 2014 @ Temple

You could argue that Bortles' performance against a dismal team like Temple doesn't warrant this performance making the list, but defeating Temple was no easy task on this day.

UCF won the game 39-36 on a game winning field goal, and Bortles made one great play after another to keep his team in position to win it.

Bortles threw for four touchdowns on the day, touchdown passes of 30, 38 and 49 yards.

He finished the game going 27-for-38 passing with a whopping 404 yards, including a 64-yard pass to Rannell Hall with 28 second remaining in the game to setup the game winning field goal.

Teddy Bridgewater: December 28, 2013 vs. Miami (FL)

Teddy Bridgewater closed out his collegiate career at the Russell Athletic Bowl against the University of Miami.

Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals were ranked 18th in the nation while the Hurricanes were ranked ninth.

The end result was a 36-9 blowout by Bridgewater and the Cards, where he completed 35 of his 45 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He added another 24 yards on the ground while rushing for another touchdown.

Bridgewater closed out his career in dominant fashion, further solidifying himself as one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft.

Carlos Hyde: November 16, 2013 @ Illinois

It is highly unlikely that a running back will be taken on the first day of the draft, but there are still some great prospects at the position.

Ohio State's Carlos Hyde rushed for 111 yards or more in nine straight games to close out his career, but there was no game better than his performance against Illinois.

Hyde carried the ball 24 times for an enormous 246 yards, and found the end zone four times. He also managed to haul in two catches for 26 yards and recorded a receiving touchdown.

While the game ended in a 60-35 blowout victory, Hyde's individual effort alone helped the Buckeyes put 35 of their 60 points on the board.

Tre Mason: December 7, 2013 vs. Missouri
Tre Mason exploded on the scene in 2013, and was a Heisman finalist at the end of the season.

He played a key role in the team's run to the National Championship where they fell to the Florida State Seminoles 34-31.

Mason had an absolutely dominant performance in the SEC Championship game against Missouri.

Auburn defeated Missouri 59-42, thanks in large to the 304 yards and four touchdowns Mason recorded on a whopping 46 carries.

In the game, Mason set the record for most rushing yards in the SEC Championship game.

He also set the Auburn single-season rushing record, amassing 1,816 yards, beating the previous record set by Bo Jackson.

Jeremy Hill: September 21, 2013 vs. Auburn

Prior to their loss in the National Championship game, Auburn only lost one game in the regular season. That loss came at the hands of the LSU Tigers and running back Jeremy Hill.

Hill and the Tigers took advantage of being the home team, and beat Auburn 35-21 that day.

On the day, Hill rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. His 184 rushing yards are the most he ever recorded in his career, and it couldn't have happened against a better opponent.

Mike Evans: October 19, 2013 vs. Auburn
Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans had two games last season in which he almost reached 300 receiving yards.

There was September 14th against Alabama where he hauled in seven catches for 279 yards and one touchdown, and then there was the game against Auburn where he had 11 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns.

Evans had a flat out dominant performance in the game, hauling in touchdown passes of 26, 64, 42 and 33 yards.

Unfortunately for Evans and the Aggies, his historic performance wasn't enough as they fell to the Tigers 45-41.

Sammy Watkins: January 3, 2014 vs. Ohio State
This year's Orange Bowl was the final game of Sammy Watkins' career, and it game against one of the toughest opponents Clemson would face all season.

Clemson faced off on January 3rd against Ohio State in what would be one of the best bowl games of the season.

Sammy Watkins pulled out all the stops in his final performance in a Clemson uniform. He set career highs in receptions (16) and yards (227) while finding the end zone twice en route to a 40-35 victory.

Marqise Lee: October 27, 2012 @ Arizona
Sammy Watkins' performance against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl was pretty impressive, but in 2012 in a regular season game against Arizona, USC's Marqise Lee put on an even better show.

Lee hauled in 16 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. On the day, USC quarterback Matt Barkley threw for a total of 493 yards, as Lee accounted for 70-percent of Barkley's passing yards.

Unfortunately for Lee and the Trojans, his dynamic performance wouldn't be enough, as they fell to Arizona 39-36.

Eric Ebron: October 17, 2013 vs. Miami (FL)
Tight end Eric Ebron is widely regarded as the best player at his position in this year's draft. Last season he recorded 62 receptions for 973 yards and three touchdowns.

His best game of 2013 came against the Miami Hurricanes, a game that went down to the wire with the Canes coming out on top 27-23.

In the contest Ebron hauled in eight passes for 199 yards, and added a score in the first quarter on a 71-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marquise Williams.

Ebron will likely be the first tight end taken in this year's draft

Jace Amaro: November 2, 2013 vs. Oklahoma State
Jace Amaro is one of the other top tight ends in this year's draft.

Amaro closed out his final season at Texas Tech with 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns.

He had six games in which he eclipsed 100 receiving yards, and 10 games where he recorded at least eight receptions.

His best game of the 2013 season came against Oklahoma State. While the Red Raiders fell to Oklahoma State 54-32, their loss certainly wasn't due to lack of effort from Amaro.

Amaro racked up a career high 15 receptions in the game, and also had a career high with 174 receiving yards. He also scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass mid-way through the third quarter.

While Amaro did have a fumble in the game that was recovered by Oklahoma State, his overall performance was spectacular


blind melon

Hall of Famer

Posts : 15737
#1 : April 03, 2014, 12:39:30 PM

Watkins vs Bridgewater.

Both winners.   Tough Call.

Who knew how good it would feel as a fan when we now know what it\'s like for our team to have a direction, an attitude, and dare I say an offense?.  

Good time to be a Bucs fan.

The Anti-Java

Hall of Famer

Posts : 23497
#2 : April 03, 2014, 09:32:49 PM

Its like deciding who is the hottest cheerleader of the group.

JFF did his damage against the best team in the country, impressive.

blind melon

Hall of Famer

Posts : 15737
#3 : April 03, 2014, 09:44:32 PM

Manziel does have that trailer park quality to him = hot cheerleader in Nirvana video.

Who knew how good it would feel as a fan when we now know what it\'s like for our team to have a direction, an attitude, and dare I say an offense?.  

Good time to be a Bucs fan.
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