NFL Draft Watch Arizona Bowl

2021 NFL Draft Watch: Offerpad Arizona Bowl

As a part of Expand The Boxscore’s NFL Draft coverage, we will be highlighting the draft prospects from each school for every bowl game. The players featured below will also be included in our NFL Draft Guide, which is set to release shortly after the combine. In today’s column, we will be taking a look at the Offerpad Arizona Bowl featuring the Ball State Cardinals and San Jose State Spartans.

Ball State vs. #22 San Jose State Spartans

This is a very underrated bowl matchup. Ball State dropped its season opener but has rattled off six wins in a row, including the MAC Championship game against Buffalo. Meanwhile, San Jose State is also a conference champion (Mountain West) and boasts a perfect 7-0 record.

The Cardinals do not have a very impressive list of NFL Alumni, as undrafted wide receiver Willie Snead is probably the biggest name of note, and they have only had three players selected in the draft since 2010. Unfortunately, not even this year’s impressive season will likely that figure.

Statistically, Ball State does have a couple of wide receivers who stand out in Justin Hall and Yo’Heinz Tyler. Hall has 896 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns, while Tyler has hauled in 37 catches for 504 yards and seven scores.

Defensively, linebacker Brandon Martin leads the team with 85 total tackles and ranks second with 6.5 tackles for loss behind Anthony Epke, who has seven tackles for losses and has the most sacks on the team with five.

San Jose State has a slightly more robust list of NFL Alumni with seven players drafted in the last decade. The most notable are tight end Josh Oliver (69th pick by the Jaguars in 2019), running back Tyler Ervin (fourth-round pick of the Texans in 2016), and David Quessenberry (Texans’ sixth-rounder in 2013).

Wide receiver Tre Walker hopes to add to the Spartan’s list, as he has a chance to be a late Day 3 guy. Walker is a speed demon and vertical threat who boasts a career average of nearly 15 yards per catch. However, he does need to work on some of the small details of the position, like manipulating defenders and ball tracking, to become a more complete receiver.