With the end of the regular season, many of the prospects we will study over the course of the next several months are gearing up for one (or two…and for a select few, three) more go arounds at the college level.
But not everyone can win six games and be eligible to play in the bowl game, unfortunately. There are some gifted players who, for whatever reason, failed achieve success in the way of wins and losses with program this season.
Below are some of the best 2018 NFL Draft prospects not eligible to play in bowl games this winter:
* Denotes player with remaining eligibility
Offensive Guard Will Hernandez, Texas El-Paso
The heavy hitting offensive guard for UTEP was one of the bright spots of a winless season for the Miners. UTEP’s coach resigned after an 0-5 start, yet that didn’t stop Hernandez from generating a great deal of buzz around his status as an NFL prospect.
Hernandez doesn’t showcase a lot of foot quickness but he’s a powerful drive blocker who takes up notable space in a tight area. Hernandez has the look of a mid-round (3rd/4th) round value when factoring in positional value to his strong film resume.
Wide Receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr, Indiana*
The Hoosiers finished the year 5-7, coming up just short of a bowl game despite what was a promising start to the year with a great half of football against Ohio State in the season opener.
Don’t blame Cobbs for the failure to find the win column, as he set a career high in receptions (72) and touchdowns (8) after coming back from missing all of 2016 with a leg injury. Cobbs’ size, 50-50 ball skills and ability after the catch fall somewhere in the Brandon Coleman – Mike Evans spectrum; he’s cut from the same cloth. Much of Cobbs’ success throughout the pre-draft process will be centered around how he tests at the 2018 NFL Combine.
Cobbs is just a redshirt junior, but he participated in the team’s 2017 Senior Day festivities, suggesting he’s a lock to enter the 2018 NFL Draft pool.
Tight End Adam Breneman, Massachusetts
Breneman finished his career with the Minutemen after playing his first two injury filled seasons of college football at Penn State.
While Breneman’s experience as a member of a football program would have been greatly enhanced at State College the past two years, the change of scenery felt needed. Additionally, playing at UMass allowed a healed Breneman (knee) a chance to be a showcase player in the offense. The 6’5, 255 lb Tight End was on pace to set career highs in receptions and yards early this season before missing two games.
Medicals are going to be an essential piece of the puzzle for Breneman, yet there’s no denying that he’s a physically gifted player and well worth the reputation he received as a highly prized recruit.
Linebacker Fred Warner, Brigham Young
Warner has to be disappointed with how his final campaign with the Cougars turned out. Warner’s career as a starter at BYU had 8 losses between his sophomore and junior seasons. As a senior in 2017? 9!
Warner is an athletic 6’4, 230 lb defender who has found consistent production as a starter, logging 31.5 tackles for loss in three seasons as a regular on the defensive unit and eclipsing 80 total tackles in each of the past 2 years.
Warner isn’t a high profile prospect thanks to his team’s platform and some more high profile players at LB over the past several seasons, but he has an NFL build and will be a riser throughout the winter once put under the microscope.
Cornerback Duke Dawson, Florida
Speaking of disappointing go arounds, CB Duke Dawson and the Florida Gators hit a low point this year, registering just 4 wins. The blame shouldn’t be passed to Dawson too quickly, however.
Playing in 10 games, Dawson set career highs in tackles (29), interceptions (3), passes defensed (9) and scored his third career touchdown in 2017. There will be some debate around Dawson in terms of if he’s a boundary defender or a nickel CB, but he’s got great ball skills and figures to translate well to the next level as a result. Dawson is slapped together very well, he’s listed at 5’10, 208 lbs.
A sturdy build will be earmarked as a plus quality when evaluating his NFL prospects.