South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers is one of a few players looking to boost their draft stock in the Birmingham Bowl.
COMPARE: Quinton Flowers vs. Nic Shimonek | Deadrin Senat vs. Ed Oliver
Though the Dec. 23 game in Alabama isn't laced with big-time prospects, you can expect an entertaining and high-scoring affair that could prove important for the NFL futures of Flowers, Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek and others.
Here are the top 2018 NFL Draft prospects in the Birmingham Bowl.
Deatrick Nichols – CB, USF
Deatrick Nichols is the only USF player and Birmingham Bowl participant with a chance of earning a second-day selection.
The 5-foot-10, 189-pound cornerback is a three-time all-conference selection and plays much bigger than his size. He has good hands, projects as a nickelback in the NFL and could be a return man as a rookie.
Nichols can slide into the third round if he tests well.
Deadrin Senat – DT, USF
Deadrin Senat passed on offers from Florida State, LSU and others when he signed with USF as a three-star, top-500 player in 2013. It worked out just fine.
The 6-foot-1, 318-pounder has at least 5.5 tackles for loss each of the last three years, moves extraordinarily well for a big man and has been imperative to the front-seven success for the Bulls in 2017. Senat won't provide much — if anything — as a pass-rusher at the next level, though he could be a true nose guard by adding a little more beef.
Mid-to-late second day seems like the best case scenario.
Quinton Flowers – QB, USF
Despite being one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country for the last three years, Quinton Flowers will fight to get drafted.
He has the arm strength, mobility and stats to turn heads but size (6-foot, 200 pounds) and inconsistent throwing motion will shove him the third day, if not into the free-agent pool.
Nic Shimonek – QB, Texas Tech
Texas Tech may go without a draft pick for the second time in three years. Their best chance at avoiding a goose egg is fifth-year senior quarterback Nic Shimonek.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound former Iowa transfer was terrific as Patrick Mahomes' replacement. He threw 30 touchdowns (eight interception) while averaging 8.2 yards per attempt. He has a quick trigger, moves well for his size, can throw outside the pocket and is rarely irresponsibly aggressive.
Sixth or seventh round is most likely for Shimonek.