Today, Bruce Feldman gave us an in-depth look at the weakest non-conference schedules in 2013 from BCS conference teams. Before giving us his top 10, Feldman gave us the criteria in which his formula, and rankings, are based on: “opponent's projected worth (done on a scale of 1-5) with each getting an additional half-point if it's a road opponent and .25 more if it's at a neutral site.” Taking his rankings a step further, we'll shed some light on potential 2013 NFL Draft prospects from all of the teams listed.
OOC schedule: vs Northern Arizona, @ UNLV, vs Texas-San Antonio
Obviously, the biggest name for Arizona is Ka'Deem Carey, the NCAA's leading rusher last season. Allowing him to play against a start up team and a consistently under-par UNLV team, will only improve his numbers and add to his highlights in 2013. Other prospects to look out for on the Wildcat's roster would be defensive play makers: Marquis Flowers (OLB), Jake Fischer (ILB), and Shaquille Richardson (CB). Austin Hill, the junior wide receiver, would also have been on the watch list, if not for an ACL tear which is rumored to sideline him for all of 2013.
2. West Virginia
OOC schedule: vs William & Mary, vs Georgia State, vs Maryland (neutral)
After Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey became NFL draftees, West Virginia doesn't have many prospects that are buzzing with scouts or draftniks. One player everyone is looking forward to seeing is Clint Trickett, the recent Florida State transfer QB. Trickett is projected to start at WVU this season and has two years of eligibility, if he wishes to use them both. Playing against the likes of William & Mary and Georgia State will only result in huge Air Raid passing numbers for him.
3. (tie) Auburn
OOC schedule: vs Washington State, vs Arkansas State, vs Western Carolina, vs Florida Atlantic
The biggest named out of Auburn are ones that played in lower valued positions; Jay Prosch (FB) and Steven Clark (P) are some of the most talented players for their positions. Dee Ford is a lighter linebacker that is generation a lot of buzz, also. The juniors on offense will most likely get a boost from their 2012 performances, but Gus Malzahn and playing time will have more of an effect on that than the actual schedule in front of them. Even though Auburn had a massive letdown of a year in 2012, they're still an SEC team with SEC talent. Washington State is the only team out of the four that will give Auburn a scare. Arkansas State would be up there, but Malzahn isn't coaching them anymore.
3. (tie) Baylor
OOC schedule: vs Wofford, vs Buffalo, vs Louisiana-Monroe
Baylor has some of the most intriguing prospects in the nation with Cyril Richarson (G), one of the best guards in the 2014 class; and Lache Seastrunk, (RB), the Oregon transfer, who started to set the Big 12 on fire last season; Ahmad Dixon (S), one of the highest rated safeties in the senior class; and Jordan Najvar (TE), a big tight end with big potential. Adding the two junior Bryces (Bryce Hager and Bryce Petty) makes Baylor a school to watch NFL prospects for, even if they're playing FCS competition. Bryce Petty, the quarterback, hasn't played significant time at Baylor, but I'd bet we'll see plenty of his arm against Wofford, Buffalo, and ULM.
3. (tie) Kansas State
OOC schedule: vs North Dakota State, vs Louisiana-Lafayette, vs UMass
The second Wilcats on the list, Kansas State has two monster prospects in Ty Zimmerman (S) and Cornelius Lucas (OT). Zimmerman has a legitimate shot at being the number one safety off the board in 2014, and Lucas is a 6'8” monster left tackle that will, and probably already does, have NFL teams drooling at his potential.
3. (tie) Minnesota
OOC schedule: vs UNLV, @ New Mexico State, vs Western Illinois, vs San Jose State
Ra'Shede Hageman (DT) is where the list starts and ends for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Hageman almost made the jump to the NFL last season, before he decided to come back for his senior year. His return landed him on Bruce Feldman's “Freak List” for 2013.
OOC schedule: vs Ohio, vs Eastern Kentucky, @ Kentucky, vs FIU
Hakeem Smith (S) and Preston Brown (LB) are great defensive prospects on the Cardinals team, but no one in Kentucky is generating the type of hype that Teddy Bridgewater (QB) is getting right now. He's being ranked as the top quarterback prospect in 2013, almost as a consensus. Should he declare for the draft a year early, he's Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko quarterback in spot number one. Playing him against the likes of Eastern Kentucky and FIU just isn't fair to those defenses.
OOC schedule: vs Virginia Tech (neutral), vs Colorado State, vs Georgia State, vs Chattanooga
Nick Saban's teams always pump out an insane amount of talent into the NFL. By my count, 19 Crimson Tide prospects would have draftable grades, if they all declared in 2013. Sticking to the blue-chippers, C.J. Mosley (OLB), Cyrus Kouandjio (OT), Adrian Hubbard (OLB), and Haha Clinton-Dix (CB) have very real potential to be first round picks. I'd throw T.J. Yeldon (RB) and Amari Cooper (WR) on the list, too, but they won't be eligible until the 2015 NFL Draft, as they were true freshmen last season.
9. (tie) Cincinnati
OOC schedule: vs Purdue, @ Illinois, vs Northwestern State, @ Miami (Ohio)
Eric Lefeld, a junior, is the biggest name, by far, on the Bearcats roster. The 2012 All-Big East member is light for a tackle at 289, but has enough size, at 6'5”, to build onto his frame without sacrificing athleticism. Tony Miliano could get drafted, even though he's a kicker, but we'll most-likely have to wait until 2015 for the answer.
9. (tie) North Carolina State
OOC schedule: vs Louisiana Tech, vs Richmond, vs Central Michigan, vs East Carolina
Asa Watson, the tight end, might be the biggest senior prospect for the Wolfpack, but Pete Thomas, the former Colorado State Ram, is the guy all the scouts will be taking a long look at. Thomas was close to the head coach that recruited him to Colorado State; so while he did start as a freshman, when the coach left, he left. With Mike Glennon in Tampa Bay, Thomas gets his chance to shine again, on a BCS conference stage this time. Weak competition could only mean big numbers for the 6'5” passer.
9. (tie) Ohio State
OOC schedule: vs Buffalo, vs San Diego State, @ California, vs Florida A&M
Like Alabama, Ohio State has too many names to offer. The juniors have more shine to them than the seniors at OSU, though. Bradley Roby (CB), Ryan Shazier (LB), and Braxton Miller (QB) all have shots at being the number one player of their positions off the board, depending on who else declares. California gave Ohio State a scare in recent memory, and I don't think San Diego State is any sort of pushover. Ohio State will be able to do whatever they wish against Buffalo and the FCS's Florida A&M, though.