NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
The crop of available talent in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this season will likely be overshadowed by the ongoing East-West Shrine Game practices, but, similar to the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic, there are a number of players suiting up who may interest New England’s scouts. Read on for some more information regarding the game’s most intriguing prospects.
WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas (5’9”, 180, 4.35)
Participated in the 2012 Olympics as a member of the United States’ long jump team. Was named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Also contributes as a kick returner; has one career return touchdown. Sometimes given the ball on reverses. Undersized, but his blazing speed could interest teams late as a return specialist.
C Mario Benavides, Louisville (6’4”, 285)
Finesse center with some mobility who was named to the All-Big East First Team by conference coaches this season; was also a finalist for the Rimington Award. Four-year starter who nonetheless comes with some durability concerns (knee/ankle.) Could potentially end up shifting to offensive guard in the pros. Projected as a mid-round draft pick (fourth round or so.)
DT Dave Kruger, Utah (6’5”, 300, 4.95)
Brother is Baltimore Ravens strongside linebacker Paul Kruger. Began his career around 270 pounds, gaining weight to become a four-year starter at tackle for the Utes. Reasonably athletic for a man his size. Has never been one to push the pocket; has just 3.5 career sacks and ten tackles for loss throughout his career. Projects best to a three-man front as a five-technique defensive end.
IB Will Compton, Nebraska (6’2”, 230, 4.75)
Relatively undersized linebacker who was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team by conference coaches. Became the leader of Nebraska’s defense after 2012 second-round pick Lavonte David left the team. Dramatically improved from his sophomore to his junior year, then made his senior season his most impressive. Above-average coverage skills could earn him some looks as a sub-package defender.
FS Duron Harmon, Rutgers (6’1”, 205, 4.60)
Was named to the 2012 All-Big East First Team by conference coaches. Became a full-time starter in 2011, intercepting five passes (one for touchdown.) Size and athleticism are adequate for either safety position; may project more naturally to free safety at the next level. Has also contributed on special teams units throughout his career. Intelligent ath;ete who graduated with a 3.4 GPA.
FS Kemal Ishmael, Central Florida (5’11”, 205, 4.65)
Highly productive four-year starter. Selected as the 2012 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year; also ended up on the C-USA First Team, as voted on by conference coaches. Smooth movement skills make him play faster than he will time. Very active in run support; quick to diagnose, with strong tackling technique. Consistent open-field tackler. Solid ball skills; six career interceptions, seven career forced fumbles.