More than a few defensive-minded NFL scouts will be watching the Quick Lane Bowl very closely.
The game between Boston College and Maryland isn’t chock-full of elite NFL talent but the teams do have some draftable players, all of whom are defenders. It shouldn’t be particularly surprising, especially for the Eagles, who have fielded one of the nation’s top defenses each of the last two seasons.
And a big reason for their defensive rise is Harold Landry, a sack master who continues vaulting up draft boards. Here are the top 2017 NFL Draft prospects in the Quick Lane Bowl, ranked, led by Landry:
|1||Harold Landry||DE||Boston College|
|2||Matt Milano||LB||Boston College|
|3||William Likely III||CB||Maryland|
|4||John Johnson||S||Boston College|
Harold Landry is the game’s only participant with a chance of being selected in the first round.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end recorded at least one sack in all but two games played, including six over his final three games. His 15 sacks tied for first in the nation.
Although he could return for one more season in hopes of cementing a first-round grade, it’s likely he leaves early.
Two other Eagles’ defenders should join Landry in hearing their name called, including senior linebacker Matt Milano.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Floridian isn’t gigantic and is still improving as run defender, struggling to shoot the gap. Nonetheless, he’s a quick, fiery player who can rush the passer — five sacks in 2016 — and brilliantly disguise blitzes. A likely special teamer in year one, Milano has an early third-day grade.
And Boston College’s hopes for three draftees for the third time in four years rests on safety John Johnson, a good-sized (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), hard-hitting player who could intrigue teams as a late-round flier with his versatility and ball skills.
As for Maryland, they won’t have three players drafted like they did in 2016 (Sean Davis, Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson). They do, however, have a talented cornerback in William Likely III, who passed on the draft to return for his senior season, which unfortunately hurt his draft stock after an October ACL injury ended his season.
The diminutive Likely (5-foot-7) has late-round return man written all over him.