The National Team came away with a 20-14 victory over the American Team in yesterday's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. It was the cap on the end of a week of practices that saw some impressive performances from some players and disappointing from others.
While NFL scouts weren't in attendance due to the fact that the NFLPA chose to invite declared underclassmen, the teams were still sent tapes of the practices and were surely watching the game on Saturday. So which players put on a good showing and had the most impressive week?
|QB||Bo Levi Mitchell||Eastern Washington||6-0 1/2||199||American|
Had it not been for a holding call that nullified a beautiful touchdown pass from Mitchell in the 4th quarter it's very possible that the American Team would have won the game and Mitchell would have likely been named the game's MVP. Mitchell reminds me of Boise State's QB Kellen Moore and maybe even a better draft prospect as an inch taller version of Moore.
He was very accurate all week and showed the most anticipation on timing routes, but really showed his intelligence during the game on Saturday. While he certainly doesn't have ideal NFL QB size or arm strength he will almost definitely be in a training camp and might have enough skills to make for a solid backup QB.
Similar to Bo Levi Mitchell, Kinne lacks the pure throwing ability to make NFL teams think he can develop into a starting quality quarterback. However, Kinne is certainly a gamer and showed as much in Saturday's game, winning the game's MVP award.
A 20 yard rushing touchdown by Kinne was the highlight of the game as he avoided two American Team defenders and while it wasn't indicative of his talents as a QB, it was a perfect example of the gritty plays that Kinne showed himself to be capable of. He has an accurate arm and had a strong week of practice throwing the football.
The first thing you notice when you see Tuinei in action is certainly his size and through the week of practice and the game he showed he can use his size well. While he's certainly not the fastest receiver, he can make for a good possession, move the chains type of receiver.
On Thursday, he struggled in practice with some drops, but on Tuesday and Wednesday he was very sure-handed and made smooth, clean adjustments to the ball and always caught with his hands.
Jared Green, son of Redskins Hall of Fame defensive back Darrell Green, wasn't very productive during his time at the University of Virginia and not much more productive after transferring to Southern University for his senior season. But with the success of players like Victor Cruz after lackluster college years, there's reason to not count Green out.
Green showed all kinds of athleticism through the week with explosive start/stop ability and the speed necessary to get behind defenses. American Team coach Tom Flores told the media after the conclusion of Saturday's game that they wanted to get the ball in the hands of Green because of his playmaking ability as a receiver and kick returner.
McGrath looked like a regular blocking tight end for the majority of the week, but on Thursday's practice and during the game Saturday he made for a big target and showed very good hands. He's certainly not the greatest receiver as far as speed and route running goes, but his hands were very strong.
During the game on Saturday, there were a few times when National team quarterbacks threw the ball up high to McGrath with coverage in his face and he went up to attack the ball and bring it down in traffic. He also showed impressive ability for a big guy to go down to the ground and get his hands btween the ground and the ball.
Holloway is much smaller than you'd want from a traditional 4-3 DE and may be a better fit as a 3-4 OLB, but his burst and tenacity as a pass rusher was reminiscent of Jaguars DE John Chick (6-3, 248 pounds). He got called for an offsides on one play during the game that most in the press box disagreed with because his snap anticipation was so quick and his burst off the line was so explosive that it actually made him look offsides.
He was handled at times by offensive tackles that got their hands on him, so his ability to stop the run is questionable and will make him an unattractive option for many 4-3 teams, but his pass rushing ability will warrant some looks.
Bryce McNaul struggled with bad luck shoulder and knee injuries through his time at Northwestern University, but as a healthy player at the NFLPA Bowl he was impressive. He's not overly fast and not overly physical, but he's smart enough to be in the right place at the right time and athletic enough to get the job done.
Through the week McNaul was always around the ball and always filling the right gaps on run plays. During the game he almost intercepted a pass during a drop into coverage and blanketed the giant American Team tight ends.
Johnson is a very imposing figure in the linebacking core at a giant 6-5, 271 pounds that makes him look more like a defensive end. If he runs fast enough in his Pro Day, or the combine if he receives an invite, he could be a player with too much athleticism for teams to pass up on.
He'll certainly find his way into a training camp and it'll be up to his ability to make plays in the secondary and sideline-to-sideline that will determine whether or not he sticks on a roster. There's no question, though, that he can blitz and when he hits someone he hits like a truck.
Crawford was my favorite defensive back for the majority of the week, showing impressive coverage ability during the 1-on-1 drills. He stayed hip to hip with receivers in man coverage and used the sideline very well without being too physical.
He mirrored receivers well and did a good job of going up to knock the ball away from the tall, physical receivers in practices and in the game. Crawford also brings value as a sure-handed punt returner.
Bademosi might make for a better fit at safety, but he has the coverage skills necessary to be a very large cornerback. Whether or not he has the speed necessary will be the question. Bademosi was a very physical corner all week with excellent ball skills.
During the game, Bademosi showed his physicality as a tackler and provided strong run support. In the NFL, Bademosi could excel in a zone coverage scheme as a cornerback.
Scott is certainly the smallest of the three cornerbacks that impressed me this week, but he was the one that had the most people talking at Home Depot Center. On one play during the game he ran step for step with the explosive Jared Green and knocked the ball away in the endzone 40 yards downfield.
It was a play that looked like the rest of the plays that Scott made routinely all week. While his small size will likely prevent teams from spending a draft pick on him, Scott will likely find himself in a training camp and has the athleticism to stick on a roster as a special teamer and maybe even a nickel corner.
||Fort Valley State
A punter? Yes, a punter. Marquette King had easily one of the more impressive weeks out of any prospect there as he continuously turned heads every time he boomed a 50-60 yard punt with tons of hangtime. There's something incredibly impressive about watching a punt turn over in the air while in a tight spiral and King made it look routine.
During the game he blasted a 40 yarder that landed on the opposing nine yard line and bounced back a yard and followed with a 50 yard punt that had no return due to the hangtime that forced a fair catch. King, a former wide receiver who started punting during his junior year of high school, is also rumored to have a 40 time in the 4.5-4.7 range.