Today's Miami Beach Bowl features two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum. Memphis (9-3, American Athletic Conference Co-Champions) boasts one of the top defenses in the country coming in with the 5th ranked scoring defense while the BYU Cougars (8-4) carry the 20th ranked scoring offense. Neither team has a ton of draft ready talent but there are some defenders that could garner some late round attention.
Memphis DE Martin Ifedi (6-3, 265lbs) is rounding back into shape after a knee injury kept him out of four games this year. Ifedi finished with only 2.5 sacks this season but did record 11.5 in 2013 and is the Tigers' career leader in the category. Ifedi plays inside and out and should test well at the combine if invited. Ifedi also accepted a recent invite to the East-West Shrine game, one of three collegiate post-season showcase games.
Also, keep an eye on Memphis LB Tank Jakes (5-11, 225lbs). He's a bit undersized but could translate well to middle linebacker in the NFL. Jakes is a high motor guy with ability to get sideline to sideline in a hurry. He'll also be a late round prospect but don't be shocked if a team takes a chance on him sooner.
Another late round sleeper is BYU OLB Alani Fua (6-5, 228lbs). Fua was hoping to catapult up draft boards like former teammates and fellow LBs Ezekiel Ansah and Kyle Van Noy. Fua missed a four games in 2014 (all BYU losses) but still recorded career highs in tackles for loss with 5.5 and sacks with 4. Fua could stand to add some weight and is still pretty raw but flashes athleticism that makes scouts drool.
Enjoy the Miami Beach Bowl today at 11am PT on ESPN.