- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the Cowboys on pace to own a top-10 pick and needing to fill several holes, the interest in this year's draft will be high around these parts. We'll help feed that hunger by looking at potential draft prospects in each game throughout bowl season.
Here's a look at the top prospects playing in the opening week of bowls:
NEW MEXICO BOWL
BYU vs. UTEP, 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
BYU OT Matt Reynolds -- The 6-foot-6, 323-pound Reynolds is considering forgoing his senior season to declare for the draft. He’s started every game the last three seasons at left tackle, but he’s projected to play on the other side in the NFL. The son of a BYU assistant coach is not a great athlete, but he’s a mauler with intelligence. Scouts Inc. ranks him as the No. 12 tackle, projecting him to be a mid-round pick.
Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State, 4:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
Fresno State OG Andrew Jackson – At 6-foot-5, 288 pounds, he’s a little lighter than the Cowboys like their offensive guards. He might be a better fit for a zone-blocking team like the Redskins or Texans. He has good quickness and is extremely intelligent, having been named a first-team Academic All-American in 2009. Ranked as the No. 6 guards by Scouts Inc.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Ohio vs. Troy, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan – Scouts Inc’s No. 6 receiver is small (5-9, 183) but tough to tackle in the open field. If Cowboys decide to cut Roy Williams, receiver is a need. Jernigan, who also operated Troy’s Wildcat offense, could be a shifty complement to big, physical receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
Southern Miss vs. Louisville, 7 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN)
TE Cameron Graham – With John Phillips coming back off a knee injury, tight end isn’t a need for the Cowboys. But Graham is highest-rated player in this game, according to Scouts Inc., which ranks him as the No. 10 tight end.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
Utah vs. Boise State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN)
Utah CB Brandon Burton – He’s a 6-0, 187-pound junior who Scouts Inc. ranks as the No. 9 draft-eligible player at his position. He’s been clocked at 4.35 seconds in the 40. He’s a quality special teams player, having blocked a field goal to seal the Utes’ win over rival BYU this season.
Utah C Zane Taylor – At 6-foot-2, 298 pounds, Taylor isn’t overpowering. But the No. 5 center on Scouts Inc.’s board does a good job of getting into position to make blocks at the second level. The Cowboys like undrafted rookie Phil Costa, so center isn’t a high priority.
Utah OG Caleb Schlauderaff – He’s a four-year starter who gets high marks for his study habits, awareness and nasty disposition. Schlauderaff (6-3 ½, 298) is Scouts Inc.’s No. 13 guard.
Boise State WR Titus Young – He’s a big-play threat with 2,192 yards and 22 touchdowns the last two seasons. But Young, Scouts Inc.’s No. 11 receivers, comes with some character concerns. He was suspended for 10 games in 2008 due to off-the-field problems.
Boise State WR Austin Pettis – Pettis (6-2 ½, 204), Scouts Inc.’s No. 26 receiver, has strong hands and is an outstanding blocker. But there concerns about whether he is fast and quick enough to get open against NFL defensive backs.
Navy vs. San Diego State, 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN)
San Diego State WR Vincent Brown – Brown, the No. 13 receiver on Scouts Inc.’s board, has played his best against the best competition on the Aztecs’ schedule. He had four catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns against TCU. He followed that up with eight catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns against Utah.