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Published: Dec. 23, 2016 at 04:08 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 26, 2016 at 09:38 a.m.

Top 10 prospects playing in Monday's bowl games

Still feeling the egg nog from Christmas Day? Settle in for Monday's full slate of bowl games. Sure, no team has better than a 6-6 record and Mississippi State's on the schedule with a losing season. That doesn't mean NFL scouts won't be checking out these players, including one of college football's best linebackers. Here are the top 10 prospects playing in Monday's games. All times listed are Eastern.

10 Photos Total

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
A four-year starter and 2016 team captain, Tocho's blend of size (6-0, 200), intelligence (graduated in three years with accounting degree), and leadership gives him a chance to contribute in the NFL. Given NFL teams' interest in larger cornerbacks that are able to battle receivers down the field, Tocho should get a shot in the league. 10

    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    10. Jack Tocho, CB, North Carolina State

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    A four-year starter and 2016 team captain, Tocho's blend of size (6-0, 200), intelligence (graduated in three years with accounting degree), and leadership gives him a chance to contribute in the NFL. Given NFL teams' interest in larger cornerbacks that are able to battle receivers down the field, Tocho should get a shot in the league.

  • <b>Game:</b> St. Petersburg Bowl (vs. Miami (Ohio)), 11 a.m., ESPN<br>
This Canadian possesses the tools to play right tackle in the NFL. He doesn't give much ground against power rushers and has quick enough feet to hold off speed rushers and get angles in the run game. Senior is overshadowed by other "star" linemen in the SEC, but I'd take a chance on his development late in the draft. 9

    Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports

    9. Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi State

    Game: St. Petersburg Bowl (vs. Miami (Ohio)), 11 a.m., ESPN
    This Canadian possesses the tools to play right tackle in the NFL. He doesn't give much ground against power rushers and has quick enough feet to hold off speed rushers and get angles in the run game. Senior is overshadowed by other "star" linemen in the SEC, but I'd take a chance on his development late in the draft.

  • <b>Game:</b> Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Maryland), 2:30 p.m., ESPN<br>
For some reason, Johnson was left off the All-ACC teams by both league coaches and media. NFL scouts have noticed his play, however, as a run-stopper and playmaker in coverage. BC's Harold Landry gets more hype because he regularly appears in the backfield, but the Quick Lane Bowl announcers will be saying Johnson's name more often as he brings bad intentions to Maryland running backs (65 tackles) and receivers (three interceptions, seven pass breakups) alike. 8

    Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports

    8. John Johnson, S, Boston College

    Game: Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Maryland), 2:30 p.m., ESPN
    For some reason, Johnson was left off the All-ACC teams by both league coaches and media. NFL scouts have noticed his play, however, as a run-stopper and playmaker in coverage. BC's Harold Landry gets more hype because he regularly appears in the backfield, but the Quick Lane Bowl announcers will be saying Johnson's name more often as he brings bad intentions to Maryland running backs (65 tackles) and receivers (three interceptions, seven pass breakups) alike.

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
SEC coaches voted Holden second-team all-conference this season. It's easy to see why when you put in the tape. Holden protects Kyle Shurmur's blind side admirably. He also presents toughness and agility in the run game. It will be interesting to see if an NFL team projects him as a left tackle or moves him inside to utilize his quick feet and strength as a zone blocker. Either way, I'd expect you'll be seeing him in the pros for a while. 7

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    7. Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    SEC coaches voted Holden second-team all-conference this season. It's easy to see why when you put in the tape. Holden protects Kyle Shurmur's blind side admirably. He also presents toughness and agility in the run game. It will be interesting to see if an NFL team projects him as a left tackle or moves him inside to utilize his quick feet and strength as a zone blocker. Either way, I'd expect you'll be seeing him in the pros for a while.

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
Dayes bounced back from a 2015 injury to become the Wolfpack's workhorse this season. With 240 carries and 31 receptions, Dayes' powerful running and agile cuts make him dangerous as a runner and receiver. Seeing him take on Vandy's Zach Cunningham at the second level should be worth the price of admission. 6

    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    6. Matthew Dayes, RB, North Carolina State

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    Dayes bounced back from a 2015 injury to become the Wolfpack's workhorse this season. With 240 carries and 31 receptions, Dayes' powerful running and agile cuts make him dangerous as a runner and receiver. Seeing him take on Vandy's Zach Cunningham at the second level should be worth the price of admission.

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
The Commodores' all-time leading rusher shared second-team All-SEC status from league media with LSU's Leonard Fournette. He helped Vandy get to a bowl game by rushing for a combined 237 yards and five scores in home wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee. Webb, who was an all-state runner at Gainesville High School (Fla.), possesses patience to allow holes to open up, as well as the acceleration to take advantage of the situation. Don't overlook him like the Gators did on the recruiting trail. 5

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    5. Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    The Commodores' all-time leading rusher shared second-team All-SEC status from league media with LSU's Leonard Fournette. He helped Vandy get to a bowl game by rushing for a combined 237 yards and five scores in home wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee. Webb, who was an all-state runner at Gainesville High School (Fla.), possesses patience to allow holes to open up, as well as the acceleration to take advantage of the situation. Don't overlook him like the Gators did on the recruiting trail.

  • <b>Game:</b> St. Petersburg Bowl (vs. Miami (Ohio)), 11 a.m., ESPN<br>
The Bulldogs' passing attack lacks bite, ranking 83rd in the FBS. Ross takes none of the blame for that, however, as scouts love his strong, reliable hands and ability to make hay after the catch. Despite all opponents knowing he's "The Boss" on offense, Ross has scored 12 times this season. While he's not a burner, I suspect he'll earn playing time early in his NFL career as a valued interior receiver and return specialist. 4

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    4. Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State

    Game: St. Petersburg Bowl (vs. Miami (Ohio)), 11 a.m., ESPN
    The Bulldogs' passing attack lacks bite, ranking 83rd in the FBS. Ross takes none of the blame for that, however, as scouts love his strong, reliable hands and ability to make hay after the catch. Despite all opponents knowing he's "The Boss" on offense, Ross has scored 12 times this season. While he's not a burner, I suspect he'll earn playing time early in his NFL career as a valued interior receiver and return specialist.

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
The cousin of Georgia running back Nick Chubb and son of former Bulldogs standout linebacker Aaron Chubb made his way to Raleigh instead of sticking in-state. The former linebacker is now a grown end at 6-4, 275 pounds, and is tied for the national lead with 1.8 tackles for loss per contest (21 total) this season. Strong and athletic enough to play either side of the line, and in any defensive scheme, Chubb will challenge Will Holden and the rest of the Commodores' line on every snap. He's starter material at the next level. 3

    Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports

    3. Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. Vanderbilt), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    The cousin of Georgia running back Nick Chubb and son of former Bulldogs standout linebacker Aaron Chubb made his way to Raleigh instead of sticking in-state. The former linebacker is now a grown end at 6-4, 275 pounds, and is tied for the national lead with 1.8 tackles for loss per contest (21 total) this season. Strong and athletic enough to play either side of the line, and in any defensive scheme, Chubb will challenge Will Holden and the rest of the Commodores' line on every snap. He's starter material at the next level.

  • <b>Game:</b> Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Maryland), 2:30 pm, ESPN<br>
The nation's leader in sacks (15) became a force on the edge for the Eagles this season after teasing us with his potential in 2015. Able to play on either side of the line, Landry can use his quickness to win the edge, but he's also able to get under the pads of tackles to push them backward into the quarterback. Landry is a capable run defender, as well, as he disengages from his man to attack backs coming to his side of the field. 2

    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    2. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

    Game: Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Maryland), 2:30 pm, ESPN
    The nation's leader in sacks (15) became a force on the edge for the Eagles this season after teasing us with his potential in 2015. Able to play on either side of the line, Landry can use his quickness to win the edge, but he's also able to get under the pads of tackles to push them backward into the quarterback. Landry is a capable run defender, as well, as he disengages from his man to attack backs coming to his side of the field.

  • <b>Game:</b> Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2<br>
Cunningham doesn't look like your typical inside linebacker, but his tall and lean build (6-4, 238) belies his strength as an interior defender. In the NFL, he might be shifted outside to take advantage of his gifts as a pass rusher; this story is not unlike that of Leonard Floyd, last year's No. 9 overall pick for the Bears who played inside for Georgia in 2015. Vandy doesn't get a lot of prime-time exposure, so make sure to watch the Commodores' first-team All-SEC pick as he runs sideline to sideline to swallow up ball carriers. 1

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    1. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

    Game: Independence Bowl (vs. North Carolina State), 5 p.m., ESPN2
    Cunningham doesn't look like your typical inside linebacker, but his tall and lean build (6-4, 238) belies his strength as an interior defender. In the NFL, he might be shifted outside to take advantage of his gifts as a pass rusher; this story is not unlike that of Leonard Floyd, last year's No. 9 overall pick for the Bears who played inside for Georgia in 2015. Vandy doesn't get a lot of prime-time exposure, so make sure to watch the Commodores' first-team All-SEC pick as he runs sideline to sideline to swallow up ball carriers.