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Published: Jan. 2, 2017 at 09:25 a.m.

Top 10 prospects playing in Jan. 2 bowl games

Looking at the college bowl lineup for Monday, you'd swear it was New Year's Day. Traditional New Year's Day games like the Rose, Cotton and Orange Bowls are being played on the second day of the year in 2017.

 There will be dozens of NFL prospects on the field Monday. Here are my top 10 to watch throughout the day. All times listed are Eastern.

10 Photos Total

  • <b>Game:</b> Sugar Bowl (vs. Auburn), 8:30 p.m., ESPN<br>
The All-American has 1,465 yards receiving this year, as he worked with fellow his Heisman finalist, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, to stretch the field vertically. Auburn's defense has been strong against the pass, though, so the Tiges will be all over Westbrook's downfield routes. Westbrook will help his cause a bit if he's able to separate from Auburn cornerbacks even after they've had a month to gameplan for him. NFL teams will be digging into his background leading up to the draft after reports of <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/">two separate domestic-violence arrests</a> in 2012 and 2013 surfaced last month. 10

    Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

    10. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

    Game: Sugar Bowl (vs. Auburn), 8:30 p.m., ESPN
    The All-American has 1,465 yards receiving this year, as he worked with fellow his Heisman finalist, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, to stretch the field vertically. Auburn's defense has been strong against the pass, though, so the Tiges will be all over Westbrook's downfield routes. Westbrook will help his cause a bit if he's able to separate from Auburn cornerbacks even after they've had a month to gameplan for him. NFL teams will be digging into his background leading up to the draft after reports of two separate domestic-violence arrests in 2012 and 2013 surfaced last month.

  • <b>Game:</b> Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN<br>
After fighting through injuries early in the year, Smith-Schuster's improved health and the emergence of freshman quarterback Sam Darnold helped the Trojans end the season on an eight-game win streak. His production tailed off in November, after teams worked to shut him down (to the benefit of another receiver prospect, Darreus Rogers). Smith-Schuster's pure strength as a receiver and runner gives him a chance to win battles at the next level -- as long as he can stay healthy. A big game against Penn State in the Rose Bowl should allay scouts' fears about durability and once again show his value as a go-to receiver. 9

    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    9. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

    Game: Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN
    After fighting through injuries early in the year, Smith-Schuster's improved health and the emergence of freshman quarterback Sam Darnold helped the Trojans end the season on an eight-game win streak. His production tailed off in November, after teams worked to shut him down (to the benefit of another receiver prospect, Darreus Rogers). Smith-Schuster's pure strength as a receiver and runner gives him a chance to win battles at the next level -- as long as he can stay healthy. A big game against Penn State in the Rose Bowl should allay scouts' fears about durability and once again show his value as a go-to receiver.

  • <b>Game:</b> Cotton Bowl (vs. Wisconsin), 1 p.m., ESPN<br />
Davis is the best-known "underrated" receiver in recent history. With over 5,200 yards receiving and 50 touchdowns in his four-year career, every NFL scout knows who he is, even though he plays outside of the Power Five. His team's quest for an undefeated season goes through Wisconsin at the Cotton Bowl. This year, Wisconsin is known more for its defense than its historically successful running game. Davis' excellent route-running and reliable hands will test the Badgers' secondary, however. His combination of long strides and quick feet make him tough to stay with over the middle and down the sideline. Western Michigan plays a Big Ten opponent every year, so it won't be a new experience for him to face that kind of competition -- but his play against this top-rated Wisconsin squad will be reviewed by scouts during the evaluation process. 8

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    8. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

    Game: Cotton Bowl (vs. Wisconsin), 1 p.m., ESPN
    Davis is the best-known "underrated" receiver in recent history. With over 5,200 yards receiving and 50 touchdowns in his four-year career, every NFL scout knows who he is, even though he plays outside of the Power Five. His team's quest for an undefeated season goes through Wisconsin at the Cotton Bowl. This year, Wisconsin is known more for its defense than its historically successful running game. Davis' excellent route-running and reliable hands will test the Badgers' secondary, however. His combination of long strides and quick feet make him tough to stay with over the middle and down the sideline. Western Michigan plays a Big Ten opponent every year, so it won't be a new experience for him to face that kind of competition -- but his play against this top-rated Wisconsin squad will be reviewed by scouts during the evaluation process.

  • <b>Game:</b> Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN<br>
Although his teammate, Adoree' Jackson, gets deserved hype for his skills, Marshall is the guy NFL scouts point to as the future pro lockdown corner. I'll rank him the top cornerback in college football heading into next season. He has the size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), length and physicality to handle big outside receivers. Marshall's agility in space keeps him with those receivers down the field, and he has good enough hands to create turnovers. Secondary coaches will appreciate Marshall's run-stopping ability -- something he'll be able to show when he tries to corral Penn State's excellent sophomore back, Saquon Barkley (who would be the 11th player on this list). 7

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    7. Iman Marshall, CB, USC

    Game: Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN
    Although his teammate, Adoree' Jackson, gets deserved hype for his skills, Marshall is the guy NFL scouts point to as the future pro lockdown corner. I'll rank him the top cornerback in college football heading into next season. He has the size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), length and physicality to handle big outside receivers. Marshall's agility in space keeps him with those receivers down the field, and he has good enough hands to create turnovers. Secondary coaches will appreciate Marshall's run-stopping ability -- something he'll be able to show when he tries to corral Penn State's excellent sophomore back, Saquon Barkley (who would be the 11th player on this list).

  • <b>Game:</b> Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN<br>
Jackson's athleticism is eye-popping, to be sure. Penn State's special teams coaches are likely warning their guys every day about how they can't allow Jackson to get free (averaging 15.9 yards a return, including two touchdowns). His four interceptions this season show he's able to snatch the ball if the QB makes a poor throw. Scouts are concerned, however, about Jackson's lack of size and issues staying with top receivers consistently. If the junior can make plays on the ball and strong tackles against Nittany Lions receivers Chris Godwin and Desean Hamilton, he might convince teams of his ability to start outside at the next level. 6

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    6. Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC

    Game: Rose Bowl (vs. Penn State), 5 p.m., ESPN
    Jackson's athleticism is eye-popping, to be sure. Penn State's special teams coaches are likely warning their guys every day about how they can't allow Jackson to get free (averaging 15.9 yards a return, including two touchdowns). His four interceptions this season show he's able to snatch the ball if the QB makes a poor throw. Scouts are concerned, however, about Jackson's lack of size and issues staying with top receivers consistently. If the junior can make plays on the ball and strong tackles against Nittany Lions receivers Chris Godwin and Desean Hamilton, he might convince teams of his ability to start outside at the next level.

  • <b>Game:</b> Outback Bowl (vs. Florida), 1 p.m., ABC<br>
The Hawkeyes' top cover man couldn't replicate his eight interceptions from 2015, but it wasn't expected that he would produce like that again. League coaches still named him first-team All-Big Ten because there's not another corner you fear more. King's ball skills are excellent. His strength and awareness are even more impressive. He will knock receivers around, and running toward his side of the field can be hazardous to the health of running backs. Florida needs to find a passing game to beat Iowa in the Outback Bowl, so the senior will likely be tested by sophomore Antonio Callaway on the outside. Scouts will have great interest in that battle. 5

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    5. Desmond King, CB, Iowa

    Game: Outback Bowl (vs. Florida), 1 p.m., ABC
    The Hawkeyes' top cover man couldn't replicate his eight interceptions from 2015, but it wasn't expected that he would produce like that again. League coaches still named him first-team All-Big Ten because there's not another corner you fear more. King's ball skills are excellent. His strength and awareness are even more impressive. He will knock receivers around, and running toward his side of the field can be hazardous to the health of running backs. Florida needs to find a passing game to beat Iowa in the Outback Bowl, so the senior will likely be tested by sophomore Antonio Callaway on the outside. Scouts will have great interest in that battle.

  • <b>Game:</b>Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC<br>
Before the season, Brantley said he believed he was the best defensive tackle in the country. I'm not going to argue with him, because when he's on his game, he's as disruptive a defender as there is in college football. Iowa's interior offensive line is tough enough for NFL scouts to get an idea of how Brantley would fare on Sundays. 4

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    4. Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida

    Game:Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC
    Before the season, Brantley said he believed he was the best defensive tackle in the country. I'm not going to argue with him, because when he's on his game, he's as disruptive a defender as there is in college football. Iowa's interior offensive line is tough enough for NFL scouts to get an idea of how Brantley would fare on Sundays.

  • <b>Game:</b> Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC<br>
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, who will get his own shot in the NFL, is throwing between a rock in Quincy Wilson and a hard place in Teez Tabor in the Outback Bowl. Tabor doesn't have the size that Wilson does, but quarterbacks throwing in his direction have learned the hard way about his ability to anticipate throws and fight through the catch to knock away passes. There isn't a tougher defender in the country when the ball is in the air, and that's as important a trait as any other in evaluating a defensive back. The Hawkeyes will have to throw the ball if the run game can't get going against Florida's front seven, so there will be chances for Wilson and Tabor to show their wares. 3

    Mark Humphrey

    3. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

    Game: Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC
    Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, who will get his own shot in the NFL, is throwing between a rock in Quincy Wilson and a hard place in Teez Tabor in the Outback Bowl. Tabor doesn't have the size that Wilson does, but quarterbacks throwing in his direction have learned the hard way about his ability to anticipate throws and fight through the catch to knock away passes. There isn't a tougher defender in the country when the ball is in the air, and that's as important a trait as any other in evaluating a defensive back. The Hawkeyes will have to throw the ball if the run game can't get going against Florida's front seven, so there will be chances for Wilson and Tabor to show their wares.

  • <b>Game:</b> Cotton Bowl (vs. Western Michigan), 1 p.m., ESPN<br />
One of the better stories in college football this year has been the ascension of Ramczyk, a former Division III student-athlete who has become one of the top left tackles in all of college football. Ramcyzk's athleticism and aggression make him the type of blind-side protector that NFL teams want. When WMU's top pass rusher, Keion Adams, is lined up across from him, scouts will pay close attention to both future NFL players. 2

    Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

    2. Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin

    Game: Cotton Bowl (vs. Western Michigan), 1 p.m., ESPN
    One of the better stories in college football this year has been the ascension of Ramczyk, a former Division III student-athlete who has become one of the top left tackles in all of college football. Ramcyzk's athleticism and aggression make him the type of blind-side protector that NFL teams want. When WMU's top pass rusher, Keion Adams, is lined up across from him, scouts will pay close attention to both future NFL players.

  • <b>Game:</b> Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC<br>
Wilson should be a favorite of NFL teams looking for the next Richard Sherman. He's a big corner with enough athleticism and toughness to stand up to playmakers. His highlight-reel interceptions (made whether in man or zone coverage) and hard hits when attacking plays behind the line are enticing to scouts studying the top defensive backs in the country. 1

    Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

    1. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

    Game: Outback Bowl (vs. Iowa), 1 p.m., ABC
    Wilson should be a favorite of NFL teams looking for the next Richard Sherman. He's a big corner with enough athleticism and toughness to stand up to playmakers. His highlight-reel interceptions (made whether in man or zone coverage) and hard hits when attacking plays behind the line are enticing to scouts studying the top defensive backs in the country.