NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Preview 2020: What to Watch

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The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl expects to have their deepest talent year as they kick off from the Rose Bowl on Jan. 18.

This is one of a series of All-Star games kicking off Draft Season. Many mid to late-round prospects and priority free agents are playing to keep their NFL Draft dreams alive in hopes of catching scouts eyes and playing their way into the Draft, Combine and private workouts.

Here is what else you need to know from Saturday’s Southern California showcase attracting standout seniors from across college football.

Coaching Highlights 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Zero head coaching jobs were filled by Black coaches this year but former NFL head coaches Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson will faceoff in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

That will be a first for the collegiate All-Star game that prides itself in presenting an opportunity to prospects to compete for the draft as well as alumni trying to get coaching opportunities. Notable former NFL coaches who have led the National and American squads include Dick Vermeil, Mike Holmgren, Chuck Pagano, Darrell Green, Mike Tice, Dennis Green, Herm Edwards and Tom Flores.

Lewis and Jackson both join those ranks as former Black head coaches. Both men talked about how this game gives them a chance to get their feet wet with coaching again, after spending a year away from the game. Jackson did a lot of work with his foundation while Lewis stayed close as an advisor at ASU. Lewis got some calls for head coaching gigs the offseason after the Bengals relieved him from his 16 seasons leading them. Jackson was fired after almost three terrible seasons with the Browns. They will try and give their team of prospects as close to a week of NFL practice as possible to maximize visibility for themselves, their coaches and the prospects. 

Lewis’ staff features a number of notable NFL alumni including o-line coach Jackie Slater, d-line coach Frostee Rucker, DB coach Ricky Manning Jr., defensive coordinator Rod Woodson and offensive coordinator Kevin Mawae. 

Jackson’s staff features o-line coach Steve Wisniewski, special teams coach Joshua Cribbs, tight ends coach Chris Cooley and more. Both teams feature active player interns in Pharaoh Brown for Jackson’s American team and Willie Wright for Lewis’ National team. 

Here are more prospects to keep an eye out for on Saturday Jan. 18:

National QB Nick Tiano, No. 7

QB Nick Tiano is fourth Chattanooga player to get invited in a row. Kenneth Berry said he looked good in practice Wednesday.

American WR Darrell Stewart, No. 82

Michigan St. WR Darrell Stewart Jr. put up 697 receiving yards and four touchdowns despite missing four games with a broken leg. He was getting open in Wednesday’s practice. 

National DE Ron’Dell Carter, No. 98

DE Ron’Dell Carter JMU could be a late-round pick, according to Walter Football. The redshirt senior started every game last year for James Madison and received numerous All-American recognition after a 12 sack season. 

American DE Jonah Williams, No. 96

DE Weber State Jonah Williams was an immediate starter for the Wildcats and helped them make the playoffs multiple times. The Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year finished last season with 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He is listed at 6-5 and 275 pounds. 

National WR Josh Pearson, No. 88

WR Jacksonville State Josh Pearson caught 126 passes for 2066 yards and 30 touchdowns combined over the past two seasons. The six-four, 205-pound receiver projects as a big-bodied receiver in the later rounds. 

American WR Josh Koski, No. 86

WR J.J. Koski never missed a game in four years, the first player in six years for Cal Poly to play in this game. He played all over the offense in Wednesday’s practice, flashing his speed. 

American RB Josh Ward, No. 35

RB Central Michigan Jonathan Ward 1,108 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns last year. It was his second of three seasons with over 1,400 yards from scrimmage. Ward projects as a late-round sleeper and gadget back. You can read more about him here. He told Berry on Wednesday he models his game after Alvin Kamara. NFL Network profiled him and he talked about coming back from an injury his JR. season.

American DB Nigel Warrior, No. 28

DB Nigel Warrior Tennessee started final 37 career games for the Volunteers. He capped off his career with 4 interceptions and 7 passes defended. The 6-0 DB can played corner and free safety. 

American WR Juwan Green, No. 84

WR Albany Juwan Green had 83 receptions for 1,386 yards and a nation-leading 17 touchdowns after starting football late. Green didn’t drop a pass in Wednesday’s practice and said his speed translates well at the next level. Look for him to climb up some boards with another big game Saturday.

American LB Shaun Bradley, No. 55

Shaun Bradley, ILB Temple, finished his career with 22 tackles for loss starting his last three seasons. He is another productive inside backer prospect to keep an eye on and you can read his draft profile here

National OT Brady Aiello, No. 66

OT Brady Aiello from Oregon helped his team secure a Rose Bowl win. The 6-6 offensive tackle has been a sleeper on draft boards for a while.

National FB Sewo Olonilua, No. 33

Sewo Olonilua, RB TCU, projects as someone who could go in the final round. He is a power back with good hands. The six-foot-three, 240-pound back finished last season with 9 touchdowns and 651 yards from scrimmage. It was his third season with over 450 yards from scrimmage as a backup. 

National WR Stephen Guidry, No. 84

WR Stephen Guidry 24 catches for 311 yards with his quarterback play all over the place. The six-foot-four receiver projects anywhere in Day Two or Day Three, according to Walter Football. 

National WR Marquez Callaway, No. 80

Marquez Callaway from TN. is another late-round receiver and special teams contributor to watch. He had 29 catches for 616 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. 

National DB Jaylinn Hawkins, No. 36

Cal DB Jaylinn Hawkins 10 picks in his career starting in 38 games and playing in all 50. Last year he had 2 sacks and 3 interceptions along with 41 tackles. He will need to answer questions about his speed as he tries to get drafted in the later rounds or signed, according to multiple draft profiles. 

National QB Jacob Luton, No. 6

Oregon St QB Jake Luton went the JUCO and Idaho route before landing with the Beavers. He’s a six-foot-seven pocket passer who completed 62 percent of his passes for 2714 passing yards and 28 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. NFL Network spotlighted the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year after the first practice but he won’t play Saturday due to some knee tenderness.

American WR Omar Bayless, No. 87

Arkansas State WR Omar Bayless caught 93 passes 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns after battling through tons of adversity including the deaths of several people close to him in college. The six-foot-one receiver needs to answer questions about his speed, he told NFL network but could go anywhere in the middle rounds. Bayless probably has one of the higher profiles in this entire game. 

American LB Jordan Fehr, No. 59

Jordan Fehr, Appalachian State Football finished last year with 107 tackles, 8 TFL, 2.5 sacks and an interception. He is rumored to run 4.45 40-yard dash and registered a 40.5 vertical leap. That athleticism combined with his six-foot-three frame should catch the eyes of scouts. 

American LB Cole Christiansen, No. 54

LB Cole Christiansen, a three-year starter for Army, was also profiled by NFL.com after Day Two of practice. He is the second player benefiting from a new policy that allows service academy athletes who earned commission through ROTC to pursue pro sports. He led Army in tackles the past two seasons.  

National LB Tipa Galeal, No. 50

Tipa Galeal, LB Utah St., began his career at TCU but got dismissed for assaulting two students. The six-five OLB registered 119 tackles, 22.5 TFL, 15 sacks and 2 interceptions over 25 games at Utah State. As a defensive end or standup linebacker, Galeal is someone to look for in the later rounds. 

American TE CJ O’Grady, No. 81

Cheyenne O’Grady, TE Arkansas, finished his career with 87 catches, 967 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He is a solid blocker, athlete and prospect at the next level. 

National WR Aaron Fuller, No. 85

Aaron Fuller, WR Washington, finished last year with 702 receiving yards along with 6 touchdowns. The 5-11 receiving prospect could be a depth player in the NFL but needs to answer some questions about his drops

National DE Qaadir Sheppard, No. 97

Qaadir Sheppard DE Mississippi has the size and scheme versatility to play at the next level even if his stats don’t pop. He also made academic honor roll in the SEC. 

National DT Trevon McSwain, No. 95

Trevon McSwain, DT Duke, played inside and outside in the ACC. He had 4 sacks and 7 TFL in his best season last year. McSwain, at 6-6, is someone to look for in the later rounds as one of the best prospects out of Duke. 

National DB Levonta Taylor, No. 41

FSU CB Levonta Taylor returned to school last year for some unfinished business and finished his career with 4 interceptions and 90 tackles in four seasons.  The No. 1 corner out of H.S. joined FSU under Jimbo Fisher. He played safety in his final year because that is what coaches wanted from him but he told Berry he prefers corner. Taylor also expects his speed to translate at the next level. His swagger was all over Wednesday’s practice. 

National DB Amari Henderson, No. 34

Wake Forest DB Amari Henderson finished last season with 4 interceptions and 40 tackles in what was the best season of his career. He’s a corner to look for in the middle and late rounds. 

National CB Tyler Hall, No. 29

Wyoming DB Tyler Hall finished his college career ranked No. 1 in kick off returns. He is a special teams and nickle candidate to look out for as he was instrumental in Wyoming’s last four bowl seasons. He had 4 interceptions and 108 tackles over his career.

American DB Darrell Stewart, No. 82

Troy DB Will Sunderland ran into some trouble at Oklahoma but made a name for himself at Troy. He spoke with NFL Network about his second chance and the opportunity to play on Saturday.

American DE Chauncy Haney, No. 91

Greenvile edge Chauncy Haney also came on last year with 16 TFL, 9 sacks and 55 tackles. His versatility to play as end or standup backer along with some good play in practice on Wednesday got him profiled by NFL Network. He will look to continue to try and make a name for himself.

National DE Chauncey Rivers, No. 99

Chauncey Rivers is another defensive end to look out for according to NFL Network. He comes from the same high school as Montez Sweat and Preston Smith. Rivers had 5 sacks and 8 TFL last year. The six-foot-three edge was one of the best linemen at practice.

National DB Rojerstman Farris, No. 24

Hawaii corner Rojesterman Farris II was also highlighted by NFL Network via DB coach Ricky Manning who said Farris was one of the best corners all weeks and built a strong case for a late-round selection.

American T Josh Brown, No. 70

Idaho T Josh Brown could be the first NFL player from Idaho in almost 60 years. The NAIA All-American has the size and frame to play tackle at the next level.

National DB Kobe Williams, No. 35

ASU DB Kobe Williams is another player to watch after impressing with his footwork this week in Pasadena. The 5-10 corner finished with 115 tackles and two interceptions in three seasons with the Sun Devils. He talked with Berry about his speed translating to the next level as well as the NFL coaching he got at ASU.

National DT Ray Lima, No. 76

Iowa State Nose Ray Lima is another guy with SoCal and JUCO roots around the Los Angeles area. Lima helped Iowa State resurge and projects as a late round pick. He has been on the draft radar for a bit and needs to consistently show good hands.

American DE Christian Rector, No. 99

USC DL Christian Rector played across the USC defensive line for four seasons. He breakout year came as a sophomore with 11.5 tackles and 7.5 sacks but never really matched that production again. Rector projects in the later rounds as he flashes. He will need to show consistency rushing the passer and playing discipline in this game to raise his stock.

 

Where to watch the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:

 

The NFL Network has exclusive broadcast rights this year. You can catch all these prospects live from the Rose Bowl beginning at 4 P.M. PST on NFL Network. The National team opened as -125 favorites with the score total low.

Founded in 2012, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl allows prospects to showcase their talents to nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches from all 32 NFL teams. Notable alumni in the NFL include Kevin Beachum, Jamal Agnew, Jatavis Brown, Tarik Cohen, Chris Conley, Shaquill Griffin, Marquez Valdes-Scanting, Greg Ward, Luke Wilson, Avery Williamson and more. This game separates itself from other All-Star games by not only providing a week of NFL styled practice but also a series of alumni events meant to teach players how to prepare for the off-field life of a professional athlete.

Follow Pete Camarillo and Kenneth Berry on Twitter as they report live from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  

Kenneth Berry contributed to this reporting. He did live interviews after Wednesday’s practice at the Rose Bowl which you can hear on TouchdownsandTangents.com.

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