In a MAC Championship game that could have BCS implications (we haven’t said that in a long while), Kent State and Northern Illinois will hope to finish the season in the Top 20 and give the MAC some love in the national media.
While BCS haters are hoping for a Kent State win, as they’ll be in the BCS if they win, NFL scouts will be hoping for these offense to put up points, as the Kent State playmakers and left tackle as well as the Northern Illinois junior quarterback are the stars of the game.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State – #1, 5’7, 185 (JR)
One of the most explosive, quick twitch, and fastest playmakers in college football, Archer has gone from an undersized MAC running back to a potential NFL considering junior with explosive upside. I don’t, however, believe he should declare, as he’s more of a “weapon” only and not necessarily a true running back or receiver. Still, he’s a pleasure to watch and should be the focus of the Northern Illinois defense in this game.
Brian Winters, OT, Kent State – #66, 6’6, 344
The best NFL prospect in this game, Winters is a mauling offensive tackle prospect who attacks with his hands violently and through the whistle. He lacks ideal kick slide ability and lateral balance to be a left tackle prospect, Winters has shown ability to block upfield as a run blocker, extension and hand strength to protect in pass protection, and even the inside leverage with great lower body strength to protect the inside.
Tyshon Gooden, WR, Kent State – #5, 6’0, 180
Coming into the season, Goode likely had much higher expectations than just two games over 60 yards this year, as the quick, turn and run receiver was set to be the feature receiver in the offense. However, he’s been overtaken by Archer and other receivers in the offense, and now will have an uphill battle to get the attention he wants and needs for an NFL future.
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois – #6, 6’1, 215 (JR)
An unlikely declaree junior in this game, Lynch is the star of the Northern Illinois team and will be looked upon heavily in this game. He has some offensive weapons around him (Moore especially), and he’ll look to use his elite touch passing ability and run ability to keep the Kent State offense off the field.
Martel Moore, WR, Northern Illinois – #1, 5’11, 182
Ashford is a decisive route runner who gains short area separation well and can get upfield quickly and without wasted steps. He lacks great explosive burst, doesn’t get great separation downfield well enough, and is limited in the open field. A fringe draft pick, he’ll need to step up in this game to keep Jordan Lynch able to produce.
Sean Progar, DE, Northern Illinois – #95, 6’2, 254
A rusher without an idea NFL position, Progar flashes speed rush ability and the ability to get wide and protect the edge in the run game, but isn’t dominant in either area and is beaten off the ball easily at times. He’ll need to show he can match-up with an NFL offensive tackle in Brian Winters in this game if he hopes to develop into a solid NFL prospect.
Rashaan Melvin, CB, Northern Illinois – #11, 6’2, 195
Melvin has the ideal length, ball skills, and size to get attention as an NFL prospect, and he’s flashed vertical coverage ability. He does get beat by physical receivers, however, and he doesn’t have great reaction when transitioning off initial turn and run.