Collegiate seniors will have a great opportunity to impress NFL scouts and improve their draft stock in the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as the American Team and the National Team face off Saturday at 4:15 p.m. eastern time at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
This game is not fully about the outcome, but about players showing NFL teams how valuable they can be to their roster.
On the American Team, Stanford wide receiver Michael Rector is a player to watch. He is a speedster that is able to outrun defenders when he has the football in his hands. In a game against USC, Rector outran 2016 Thorpe Award winner cornerback Adoree Jackson on a jet sweep on his way to a touchdown.
Rector will have a talented quarterback to distribute the football to him in Louisiana Tech University quarterback Ryan Higgins. After sitting out the first game of the 2016 season due to a DWI incident, Higgins still managed to throw for 4,617 yards and 41 touchdowns while only throwing eight interceptions.
In the American Team backfield, Western Kentucky running back Anthony Wales is someone to keep an eye on. At 5’10” 195 pounds, Wales had an average of 6.8 yards per carry on his way to 1,621 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns in 2016. Wales can also be a passing threat out of the backfield. He caught 30 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
Utah cornerback Brian Allen is a player that could impress scouts defensively for the American Team due to his 6’3” stature. The NFL is looking for bigger cornerbacks because of the height of wide receivers in the league. Allen finished his senior season with four interceptions and six pass deflections.
For the National Team, the most notable name out of all the players playing in the game may be University of Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. At 5’11” Ward is a small quarterback, but his speed is something scouts may like. Ward can possibly convert to a wide receiver or running back in the NFL due to his skill set. He ran for 2,381 yards in his career at Houston and played wide receiver his first two years on campus.
Ohio State University Dontre Wilson was used at running back and wide receiver in college, but he will be lined up in the mostly slot during the game. His quickness gives him an advantage over defenders and is able to elude tacklers when he has the football in his hands.
Adrian Colbert out of the University of Miami can impress scouts due to his height at the cornerback position. Standing at 6’2” and weighing 205 pounds, he can provide the physicality at the NFL level. Colbert needs to stay healthy as he did miss five games his senior season.
Defensive end Tashawn Bower out of LSU will be looking to do the same thing against the American Team he did to 2016 Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Bower sacked Jackson three times in LSU 29-9 win in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against Louisville.
The future starts now for these players and they look forward to ending their college football and starting their childhood dream in playing in the NFL. Players just need one NFL team to fall in love with them and they can start that process in this game.
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