Scouts crave opportunities like this to compare players on an apples-to-apples level; it is among the reasons why the Senior Bowl practices (and those in other all-star games) and the workouts at the Combine are so valued. "Vince Young against Matt Leinart in the 2006 Rose Bowl was close," one 20+ year talent evaluator said, "but this game is even bigger."
Sometimes too much is made by the performances of prospects during bowl season, as if that one game means more than any in the regular season. But bowl games present a unique opportunity to evaluate prospects in an unfamiliar setting against a formidable opponent.
While most of the conference championships turned into blowouts, Georgia Tech gave Winston and the Seminoles quite a scare. Proving yet again that he has rare on-field poise, Winston guided Florida State to the win. He did, however, get some noteworthy help, including from fellow projected first round pick, cornerback P.J. Williams.
As expected, Jameis Winston and Duke Johnson provided many of the highlights but with NFL talent all over the field Saturday night, scouts couldn't focus solely on the skill positions. In fact, from a scouting perspective, the most important performance may have been turned in by versatile FSU lineman Cameron Erving, a potential top 50 pick this spring.
The defending Heisman Trophy winner threw two interceptions in a surprisingly tough season-opening win against Oklahoma State. Here's why scouts won't be worried by his showing (and which breakout star for the Cowboys they'll be eager to see more of this fall).