Top 5 NFL Draft Prospects in the Orange Bowl

By Tyler Brett

Top 5 NFL Draft Prospects in the Orange Bowl

dak prescott
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

The Capital One Orange Bowl will kick off on December 31 with the No. 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-2) facing off with the No. 12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-3) in an SEC vs ACC clash. Both teams will bring a plethora of talent to the game and the NFL will be watching closely. Here are five of the top NFL Draft prospects playing in the Orange Bowl.

5. Darren Waller, WR Georgia Tech

darren waller
Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

5. Darren Waller, WR Georgia Tech

 darren waller
Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

He’ll get an opportunity to be the No. 1 receiver with DeAndre Smelter sidelined with an ACL injury and could turn some heads. Waller has elite size (6-foot-5, 241 pounds) but has not really lived up to his potential at Georgia Tech. He finished second on the team with 21 catches for 328 yards and five touchdowns and could sell a team on his potential with a strong showing in the bowl game.

4. Isaiah Johnson, SS Georgia Tech

isaiah johnson
Jason Getz - USA TODAY Sports

4. Isaiah Johnson, SS Georgia Tech

isaiah johnson
Jason Getz - USA TODAY Sports

Johnson is a hard-hitting safety that adds some muscle to the GT defense. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior finished the season with 64 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss, to go along with five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception. He’s a solid player that could earn a late-round flier at the next level with a big Orange Bowl and solid pre-draft workouts.

3. Preston Smith, DE Mississippi State

 preston smith
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

3. Preston Smith, DE Mississippi State

preston smith
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

Smith is a massive and disruptive force of nature off the edge. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end led Mississippi State with 9.0 sacks and 15 QB pressures this season to go along with 44 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss. He’s also shown some nice athleticism with two interceptions on the year with one getting returned for a touchdown. The senior figures to be a mid-round pick this spring and should make a solid addition to an NF

2. Dak Prescott, QB Mississippi State

dak prescott
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

2. Dak Prescott, QB Mississippi State

dak prescott
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

Prescott has received his grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board but has yet to announce whether or not he will enter the draft this season. The junior emerged this season as one of the more dynamic playmakers in the country, accounting for 2,996 yards passing, 939 yards rushing, and 38 total touchdowns. His dual-threat ability could make him an intriguing prospect at the next level if he chooses to leave school early.

1. Benardrick McKinney, LB Mississippi State

benardrick mckinney
Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

1. Benardrick McKinney, LB Mississippi State

benardrick mckinney
Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

McKinney hasn’t officially declared and won’t make his decision known until after the bowl game, but many project the MSU linebacker as the top ILB in the upcoming draft and a lock to turn pro after a successful junior season. He led the Bulldogs with 61 tackles, including 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. His size, strength, and athleticism will make him an early pick this spring.

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