New Mexico Bowl: 2019 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Utah State vs. North Texas bowl game
A powerful, speedy RB and a tackling-machine LB headline the draft prospects in this bowl game
Bowl season kicks off on Saturday with five matchups, and Utah State will travel south to take on an explosive North Texas team in the New Mexico Bowl at 2:30 p.m. ET.
We're going game by game to let you know exactly who you should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Darwin Thompson, RB
A junior from the junior-college ranks, Thompson is still undecided about the NFL Draft, but it wouldn't be shocking if he declared after his debut season for the Aggies yielded 14 rushing touchdowns on 132 attempts and a hefty 7.4 yards-per-carry average. The compact and explosive Thompson also caught 22 passes for 353 yards with two scores in 2018. He's a super-twitchy runner with a speedy top gear and the balance and leg churn needed to bounce off weak arm-tackle attempts. There's a fair amount of Tarik Cohen to his game.
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Dax Raymond, TE
Raymond has actually already declared for the 2019 NFL Draft as an early entrant. The junior had just 25 receptions for 335 yards with two scores in 2018, so his decision elicited some head-scratching. Raymond does have an intriguing skill set, as he's a smooth athlete at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds with the ability to pluck the ball outside his frame and has experience as a blocker. In 2017, he had 41 grabs for 456 yards and one touchdown. Likely a late-round pick, Raymond has TE2 upside at the NFL level.
E.J. Ejiya, LB
Ejiya followed a 108-tackle, 12-tackle-for-loss, seven-sack 2017 with 113 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, and nine sacks in his senior season for the Mean Green. More linearly explosive than he is twitchy when changing directions, Ejiya routinely attacks downhill with a lot of force, and because of that, is a good blitzer. His speed is his greatest strength on the football field, and at 6-2 and 230 pounds, he has NFL size for the linebacker spot. Eliya needs to get more tenacious shedding blocks, but right now has the game to potentially get drafted as a late-round pick.
Mason Fine, QB
Fine's prooobably going to stay at North Texas for his senior season, but he's been good enough in his first three years for the Mean Green that I feel compelled to write about him here. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes in 2018 at a respectable 8.2 yards-per-attempt average with 27 touchdowns to just five interceptions. The biggest problem with his pro projection is that he's listed at only 5-11. He's operated the offense of Seth Littrell -- a Mike Leach disciple -- marvelously. Fine has a quick delivery, good accuracy, and more arm strength than you'd expect for someone his size.
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