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Twentyman: NFL prospects to watch in tonight's BCS Championship Game

Posted Jan 7, 2013

Alabama vs. Notre Dame represents one of the more intriguing championship matchups in recent history. Two storied programs, annually among the best recruiting classes in the nation. Naturally, that lends itself to plenty of NFL talent on display tonight down in Miami.

The college football season officially comes to a close tonight with the crowning of a national champion in the BCS Championship Game.

Alabama vs. Notre Dame represents one of the more intriguing championship matchups in recent history. Two storied programs, annually among the best recruiting classes in the nation. Naturally, that lends itself to plenty of NFL talent on display tonight down in Miami.

Here's a look at some of the NFL prospects who'll be on showcase. Who knows - maybe a couple of them could be in a Lions' uniform next season.

NOTRE DAME

Manti Te'o, ILB, 6-1, 248

Te'o is a three-down interior linebacker NFL teams covet with the kind of intangibles they covet even more. What will he run at the combine? Is he fast enough to play OLB in the NFL? The Detroit Lions have middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch signed through 2016.

Tyler Eifert, TE, 6-6, 250

Eifert is a big target who runs well and could be a first-round pick in April. He had 44 receptions for 624 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. He's versatile enough to stand up in the slot and could cause mismatch problems much the same way Tony Scheffler does currently for the Lions.

Theo Riddick, RB, 5-11, 200

Riddick split carries with junior Cierre Woods in the Notre Dame backfield this season, yet still rushed for 880 yards (4.9 average) with five touchdowns. He's a versatile back, but probably not a 20-plus-carry type of runner in the NFL.

Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE, 6-3, 304

His 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks are both third-best on the team. He also added nine quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles for the nation's No. 1 scoring defense. He's a fifth-year senior and a captain. He's had some knee troubles in the past and is probably a middle-round pick (third).

Jordan Cowart, LS, 6-2, 230

Cowart is the first scholarship long snapper in Notre Dame history and is considered one of the best long snapping prospects in the draft. Lions longtime long snapper Don Muhlbach is an unrestricted free agent.

Cierre Wood, RB, 6-0, 215 (junior)

Wood will decide his future after the season with a year of eligibility still remaining. He's the big-play threat for the Irish run game and has terrific speed and vision. He was suspended the first two games of the season (the old 'breaking team rules' bit) but still managed 740 yards and four touchdowns. His 6.7 yards per rush average is what jumps out. He's a big play waiting to happen. He's projected to be a mid-round pick.

ALABAMA

Chance Warmack, G, 6-2, 325

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said there was too much pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford through the interior of the offensive line this season. It appears Mayhew is looking to upgrade the middle of that line (center and guard). Warmack has been described as “an easy mover” in both the pass and run games and is a good athlete for his size.

Dee Milliner, CB, 6-0, 197

He excels more in zone coverage than man. He isn't an elite prospect like Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne coming out the last two drafts, but he's physical and probably the best cornerback available at this point. He's probably a top 15 pick pre-combine.

Barrett Jones, C, 6-5, 302

He's played all three positions in his time at Alabama, which is the definition of versatile when it comes to offensive linemen. The Detroit Lions are looking for their center of the future and the fact that he could come in and play guard is also a big plus.

Jesse Williams, DT, 6-3, 320

The All-SEC Second-Team selection has shown to be effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper at the college level. He'll need to refine some of his pass rushing skills at the NFL level, but he's projected to be a solid starting-caliber tackle in the league.

D.J. Fluker, T, 6-6, 335 (junior)

He's started 29 consecutive games at right tackle and was an All-SEC Second-Team selection this season. He's a right tackle or guard at the next level. Detroit Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Eddie Lacy, RB, 6-1, 220 (junior)

He's a between-the-tackles runner with good vision and knows how to finish a run. He has adequate speed, but won't run away from anyone at this level. Averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns in the SEC. Also caught 20 passes, which is a plus for NFL teams.

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