2014 NFL Draft Bowl Preview: New Orleans Bowl – Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Ryan GrantBoth Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette will be in familiar territory for the 2013 New Orleans Bowl in the Superdome. The Green Wave will have home field advantage for their first bowl appearance since 2002 but Louisiana-Lafayette returns to the postseason game they’ve won two seasons in a row.

Ragin Cajuns’ dual threat quarterback Terrance Broadway is unlikely to play thanks to a broken arm suffered on November 30 against Louisiana-Monroe, leading the way for backup Brooks Haack to start under center. That likely means even more reliance on Louisiana Lafayette’s top-30 thunder-and-lightning rushing attack led by Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire.

Joe Montana’s son Nick quarterbacks the Green Wave, who rank 116th out of 123 FCS teams on offense. Despite his team’s struggles lately, senior WR Ryan Grant is a prospect to watch in this game.

Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane, (#3), 6’1, 191
Grant is just outside the top 50 in receiving yards per game in spite of the team’s offense, catching more than twice as many passes as anybody else on the team. A tough, reliable receiver on third downs, Grant’s quickness allows him to both get open and gain extra yards after the catch. He makes catches in traffic and is Montana’s most trusted target in the passing game. He’s also a player scouts will want to see dominate this game and make a true name for himself as a mid-round pick in a deep receiver class.

Julius Warmsley, DE, Tulane (#92), 6’2, 269
Warmsley is a tough college defensive end who may not be drafted but will get some looks as a free agent afterwards. He has an explosive first step out of his stance and the strength to get past multiple blockers to make plays in the backfield against the run, as he has 15.5 tackles for a loss this season despite having just 4 sacks. Warmsley will be key for Tulane to keep the Ragin Cajuns’ running game in check.

Derrick Strozier, CB, Tulane (#13), 5’8, 181
Strozier plays a lot of nickel for the Green Wave and that’s a potential depth role he could fill at the NFL level. The senior shows good skills in coverage and penetrates the backfield quickly against the run. Strozier’s quickness makes him a tough player to block and he is good making tackles in the open field. Scouts will want to see Strozier make plays on defense to consider him after the draft.

Other Players to Watch
(JR) Jamal Robinson, WR, Louisiana-Lafayette (#15), 6’4, 205
Robinson’s size makes him a nice target in the passing game and it will be him that Haack will look to target often. He uses his frame well to end routes and has the hands to snatch the ball out of the air.

(JR) Justin Hamilton, DT, Louisiana-Lafayette (#74), 6’2, 295
Hamilton has nice strength and is an effective bull rusher, showing the ability to beat multiple blocks to get to the quarterback. He shows quickness as well and could find himself in Montana’s face a few times.

(JR) Justin Shackleford, WR, Tulane (#80), 5’11, 174
Tulane’s second leading receiver with just 34 catches on the season, Shackleford plays bigger than he is and flashes the ability to high point passes in the air. He hasn’t been consistent and will drop a few passes, but is a nice red zone target for Montana and a player who can make plays down the field. A good game from him could help free up Grant and help the struggling Green Wave offense.