Trips to North Texas during New Year's have long been common for NFL teams. That won't change this year, as Cotton Bowl participants Wisconsin and Western Michigan have a slew of future NFLers on their rosters.
Although the Badgers and Broncos won't match the 12 players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft from last year's teams, Alabama and Michigan State, they still have some intriguing talent, including a stud receiver.
Here are the top 2017 NFL Draft prospects in the Cotton Bowl, ranked:
|1||Corey Davis||WR||Western Michigan|
|3||Taylor Moton||OT||Western Michigan|
Western Michigan hasn't had a first-round pick since the Houston Texans selected defensive end Jason Babin 27th overall in 2004. That streak may end in April when the FBS' all-time receiving leader is up for grabs.
Corey Davis, a 6-foot-3, 213-pounder, is the only player in the nation with 1,400 yards in each of the last three season seasons — he also scored 45 touchdowns and averaged over 16 yards per catch over that time. A good route-runner with above-average speed and physicality, he's a potential No. 1 target down the road.
Last year was just the second time since 2006 that Western Michigan had two offensive players drafted. The Broncos will do it again in 2017, with offensive tackle Taylor Moton joining Davis in the first two rounds. A big (6-foot-5, 328-pound), strong (squats 570 pounds and benches 400 pounds with ease) two-time All-MAC player, Moton could be a plug-and-play starter in the NFL immediately.
But Western Michigan's big man will have a hard time leap-frogging another elite Wisconsin lineman in Ryan Ramczyk, one of the best stories in college football.
A former D3 transfer from UW-Stevens Point, he earned All-American honors in his first season at the FBS level. A future blind-side protector in the NFL, the 6-foot-6, 314-pound Ramczyk is rocketing up draft boards.
Another Badgers' prospect, Corey Clement, has his All-American tackle to thank for averaging 123.1 rush yards over their final eight games.
A powerful but quick and explosive ball-carrier, he needs work in pass protection and will be dinged for Wisconsin's heavy use of a fullback, an near-extinct position in the NFL. An early third-day selection seems most likely for him, while fellow running back Dare Ogunbowale could be chosen shortly thereafter.
And the lone defensive player in our rankings, Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel has draft sleeper written all over him. He's 6-foot-4, 245 pounds and wreaks havoc everywhere on the field, displaying everything from decent pass-rushing skills to coverage versatility.
A likely rookie special-teamer, Biegel sits as a fifth-round prospect, with some room to improve during interviews and pre-draft workouts.