In my opinion, the NFLPA Bowl has the least amount of depth of any all-star game going on this week. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have some very impressive talents, including 2-3 guys who may work themselves up to the late Day Two area.
Notable names like Ray Ray Armstrong, pre-season hyped Brad Sorensen, super productive Robbie Rouse, high school stud Sam McGuffie, and Virginia Tech defensive leader Bruce Taylor are in attendance and hoping to maximize the lack of depth of talent in this game.
Keep in mind that these players aren’t ranked by how they are viewed by us/NFL teams, they are ranked by my level of intrigue/excitement about their play this week
1. Ray Ray Armstrong, S, Miami (FL)
After (unfairly) being forced out of Miami, the NCAA, and even the NAIA this year due to a minor infraction at Miami, Armstrong has been out of football all year long. Coming into the year, many (including myself) thought he had a chance at the 2nd round, maybe even higher if he impressed. But after moving to the NAIA Faulkner, staying in shape and active with their football team, Armstrong may have a coming-out party and get back on NFL radars.
2. Xavier Boyce, WR, Norfolk State
In my HBCU scouting in the pre-season and during the year, Boyce consistently impressed despite being consistently double and shadow covered. His stats don’t wow, but his size and ability to play away from his body show all the signs of a late round steal. He should pass the eye test, and if the former Virginia Tech transfer shows the desire to be great, I wouldn’t rule out him having a long NFL career as an outside receiver.
3. Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech
One of my favorite linebackers in this draft, Taylor could go as high as the 2nd round based on his versatility at linebacker, development as a coverage linebacker, and range on the inside or out. He could play inside or out in the NFL depending on the system, and a good week here could propel him to rely on adequate NFL Combine times to be a Top 100 pick.
4. Brad Sorensen, QB, Southern Utah
Coming into the year, Sorensen was thought highly by NFL teams, even as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect. He struggled mightily with his ball placement this year and didn’t show the ability to consistently handle pressure, two scary attributes to have attached to your name. Still, his natural arm and athleticism, flashes of brilliance, and upside as a developmental quarterback could make him a mid-late rounder again, especially if he can impress this week.
5. Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State
The quick, laterally explosive, and decisive up-and-through runners in the 2013 draft, Rouse should be able to really dominate the running back competition this week. Teams will still worry about his plethora of career carries, but if he can impress enough in workouts (and at the NFL Combine, most importantly), he could still wind up in the Top 120 picks.
6. Demetrius McCray, CB, Appalachian State
McCray coming into this year was a 5th-6th round prospect, but after not being consistently targeted and not as dominant as he was in years past (controlled Elon’s Aaron Mellette at times in their match-up in 2011). McCray is the clear-cut top cornerback, but he’ll have challenges at receiver this week. If he can impress (which I expect), he could move himself up to the safe draft area.
7. Jeff Nady, OT, Nevada
By far the best offensive linemen here, Nady has the size (6’7) to potentially fill in even at left tackle long term in the NFL. More likely a right tackle prospect in the NFL, he should dominate this week (few talented pass rushers) and move himself closer to the top five rounds if he plays well.
8. Nate Palmer, DE/LB, Illinois State
A likely 3-4 OLB convert, the 6'3, 240 pound edge setting, tackle finisher likely will have a place in the NFL, at least initially, thanks to his upside as an edge player. With ideal size, long arms, and pass rush moves to develop, he could utilize the lackluster offensive tackle crop to impress NFL teams throughout the week.
9. Sam McGuffie, RB/WR, Rice
The former highlight reel high schooler turned Michigan top recruit, McGuffie landed and has been lying dormant at Rice University these past two years. While he doesn’t have the size to be a true running back or the separation ability to be a consistent receiver, his open field running ability is fun to watch and he could have great value as a kick returner.
10. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
Speed, speed, speed. Goodwin can’t offer much to NFL teams in terms of routes, separation, consistency, or the nuances of the position. But Goodwin has elite speed, and that’ll likely show up this week. If he can get reps and impress as a returner along with flashing the ability to get behind defensive backs as a receiver, their may be a 7th round pick waiting for him.
Others I’m Excited to Hear About
Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
Taimi Tutogi, FB,Arizona
Mike James, RB, Miami (FL)
Chris Slaughter, WR, Fort Valley
Luke Wilson, TE, Rice
Caylin Hauptmann, OT, Florida International
Mario Benavides, OC, Louisville
Deon Goggins, DE, Syracuse
Herman Lathers, LB, Tennessee
Jordan Campbell, LB, New Mexico Highlands
Jake Johnson, LB, South Alabama
Uona Kaveinga, LB, BYU
Andre Kates, CB/S, Virginia Unio
Vaughn Telemaque, S, Miami (FL)
Kemal Ishmael, S, Central Florida
Drew Frey, S, Cincinnati