NFLPA American Top 5
While many of the scouting world’s eyes are at the Shrine Bowl in Florida, The NFLPA Bowl is happening in Pasadena, California at the famous Rose Bowl – and it does not deserve to be forgotten. With alumni ranging from Marquez Valdes-Scantling who is going to be playing in the NFL Championship, electric playmaker Tarik Cohen, and Seattle’s Favorite Target Will Dissly. Even Josh Lambo played here. This year, we’ll see the American team coached by Hue Jackson take on the National team coached by Marvin Lewis. Now with a nationwide audience, hosted on the NFL Network through 2024, let’s get into some of the cream of the crop. Check out my Top 5 Prospects – who are most intriguing to me – on this year’s American team.
Jordan Fehr – LB – App State
I’m going to beat this fact into the ground, but my man was a Feldman Freak. He can bench 415 pounds, run a 4.45 40-yard dash and vertically jump 40.5 inches. That’s a hell of an athletic profile for someone who is also 6’3” and 230lbs. But when you draft a linebacker, you don’t just want an athlete – you want an intelligent, defensive leader. That’s why he being a Campbell Trophy semifinalist – awarded to the nation’s top scholar-athlete – is almost equally impressive. His peaks are brilliant, but he still is an upside project for most teams. The good news? He has extensive Special Teams experience. He’ll not only be drafted, but I’m betting on him finding a spot on a Final 53.
Cheyenne “CJ” O’Grady – TE – Arkansas
Ok, listen, he has red flags. Plenty. Google them if you need to, but the talent? In this TE class? I think he could’ve ended up a Top 5 guy. Now – he has graduated with his degree. He’s shown up to the NFLPA Bowl to put on a show for scouts. And you know what? I think he does it. I would not bet against him showing out like he did all year, and if a team feels the juice is worth the squeeze, he could end up going earlier than anyone expects. He’s listed at 6’4, 256, and plays like it, but with enough athleticism and versatility to perfectly mesh in today’s NFL. I am very excited to watch him.
Omar Bayless – WR – Arkansas State
1600+ receiving yards. 17 TDs. Physical. Technical. And played against a whole lot of weak competition while having a less-than-Joe-Burrow QB. This is a recipe for a breakout performance here at the Senior Bowl. He’s going to be whichever QB he plays become with his best friend. He also is a great example of how important the NFLPA Bowl is – not many people would look at him outside of a footnote. Here – he can show that he’s worth the hype.
Raymond Calais – RB – ULL
If Calais were any faster, he might start burning the field. The closest competition in the draft to Etienne’s speed came from Calais here, and I am excited to see him show off his abilities in Pasadena. The backfield was a three headed monster at ULL, and despite near constant flashes, Calais never had a chance to prove himself. I could see – even in this deep class – a situation similar to Kerrith Whyte where someone drafts him just to see how fast the man can move. And it’ll be worth it.
Levonta Taylor – S – Florida State
Despite the household name, Levonta never came into his own at FSU. You can throw the blame in a thousand different directions, but at the end of the day – it just didn’t work. However, this past season he moved to safety, and I have to say the move has paid dividends in my eyes. He is still flashy, athletic, and full of that sweet, untapped potential that GMs love. The blue chip recruit can end up a player highly coveted in the later rounds as teams hedge their bets on them being the one to make Taylor the stud he was recruited to be.