It's becoming a trend in college football for top draft-eligible players to sit out their bowl games in order to avoid the risk of injury with a significant payday looming, including a handful who could have suited up today. The overwhelming majority of the players who will enter the NFL as rookies in 2018, though, will suit up for their team in a bowl game.
Here's a look at some of the players NFL scouts will be paying close attention to on Thursday:
Virginia at Navy, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App
S Quin Blanding, Virginia
Kiper position rank: No. 9 safety
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 145 overall
Virginia's all-time leader in tackles (479), Blanding was a first-team All-ACC selection and a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.
QB Kurt Benkert, Virginia
Kiper position rank: No. 10 quarterback
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 151 overall
Benkert, who started his career at East Carolina, set Virginia's single-season school record with 3,062 yards passing to go along with 25 touchdown passes.
LB Micah Kiser, Virginia
Kiper position rank: No. 4 inside linebacker
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 126 overall
Kiser was named first-team All-ACC after finishing the regular season with 134 tackles for the second straight season.
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State, Camping World Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App
OG Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
Kiper position rank: No. 10 offensive guard
Teller was named first-team All-ACC playing on an offense that averaged over 400 yards per game and totaled 2,006 yards rushing. He will play in the Senior Bowl.
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Kiper position rank: No. 1 outside linebacker
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 31 overall
Edmunds is viewed as a potential first-round pick but has the ability to return for another season.
QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Kiper position rank: No. 6 quarterback
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 55 overall
One of the most prolific passers in college football, Rudolph has thrown 13,267 yards in his career, including 4,553 this season to go along with 35 touchdown passes.
WR James Washington, Oklahoma State
Kiper position rank: No. 10 wide receiver
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 63 overall
Arguably the most dangerous deep threat in the country, Washington caught 69 passes for 1,423 yards (20.62 yards per catch) and 12 touchdowns. His 3,890 yards receiving over the past three seasons are the most in the FBS.
Stanford vs. TCU, Valero Alamo Bowl, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App
RB Bryce Love, Stanford
Kiper position rank: No. 2 running back
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 38 overall
The latest in Stanford's proud tradition of finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting, Love rushed for 1,973 yards and averaged an astounding 8.32 yards per carry.
FB Daniel Marx, Stanford
Kiper position rank: No. 7 fullback/H-back
Marx has served as the lead blocker for Christian McCaffrey and Love. Not bad.
DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford
Kiper position rank: No. 6 defensive tackle
An FWAA second-team All-American, Phillips pulled off a rare feat for a defensive lineman by recording 100 tackles during the regular season, including 17 for loss.
S Justin Reid, Stanford
Kiper position rank: No. 4 safety
Reid, the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid, was a first-team All-Pac-12 honoree after finishing the season with 97 tackles and five interceptions.
DE Ben Banogu, TCU
Kiper position rank: No. 7 defensive end
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 61 overall
In his first season on the field with the Horned Frogs after sitting out last season following his transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, Banogu developed into a potential first-round pick. He finished with 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in the regular season.
Washington State vs. Michigan State, San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, 9 p.m. ET, FS1
QB Luke Falk, Washington State
Kiper position rank: No. 9 quarterback
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 49 overall
Falk needs 187 yards to pass former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore for sixth on the BCS all-time passing yards list. Falk threw for 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns this season, but struggled with holding onto the ball and was sacked 39 times.
OG Cody O'Connell, Washington State
Kiper position rank: No. 5 offensive guard
Known as The Continent, the 6-foot-8, 354-pound senior was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection a year after being selected as a finalist for the Outland Trophy.
C Brian Allen, Michigan State
Kiper position rank: No. 9 center
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 155 overall
Allen has started games at left guard (16), center (15) and right guard (five) in his career and was named second-team All-Big Ten.