Whole Nine Sports

NFLPA National Top 5

NFLPA National
Josh Engler
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This Saturday, some of the Nation’s best prospects get their time in the spotlight at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, played at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  While we already have reviewed some of the most intriguing prospects on the American roster, there are still plenty of incredible players on their roster to look out for! But, in the spirit of the immortal Bill Belichick – we’re on to the National team. This team will be coached by another iconic former AFC North coach, Marvin Lewis, and is set to take the field this Saturday to show why they’re the better roster of the two. Check out my most intriguing prospects below!

Chauncey Rivers, EDGE, Mississippi State

Chauncey rivers

If you’re a fan of Last Chance U, you likely already know his name, and his story. But, if you don’t this former Georgia turned East Miss CC turned Miss State athlete is one of the drafts best kept secrets. Whether it’s rushing the passer or stuffing the run, Rivers motor runs hot and is always guaranteed to play to the whistle. His traits are strong, and I feel his production can ramp up at the next level as a rotational pass rusher at the minimum. I’m certain he can make a roster, and I’m even more certain he can make an impact.

Jaylinn Hawkins, S, Cal

Jaylinn Hawkins

While everyone has eyes on Ashtyn Davis, there’s been TWO Cal safeties who have balled out this year. Standing at 6’2, 210lbs, Hawkins has fantastic size for safety and the athleticism and play strength to put it to work. Hawkins going to the NFLPA Bowl is a coup for the game, as he has the ability to make an impact on any down – from coming up and defending the run to, as seen in the clip below, making incredible plays in coverage! He should not only be drafted – but also see the field in year one. His all-around talent will at minimum keep him around for special teams.

Kirk Merritt, WR, Arkansas State

Kirk Merritt

Wait a minute – didn’t we just hype up a wide receiver from Arkansas State? Why yes, yes we did – and get this… they’re both good. Kirk Merritt and Omar Bayless saved this team from extreme misery and Kirk has made some incredible highlight plays over the years. Now, at the NFLPA Bowl, they play against each other and have a chance to make their own name. One thing to look out for at the combine? His vert. Look at this clip and you’ll see why.

Marquez Callaway, WR, Tennessee

Marquez Callaway
Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Jauan Jennings is the star receiver in this draft form Tennessee in this draft, but Marquez Callaway is NOT to be slept on. If you like the Bryan Edwards and that physical brand of receiver, you’ll love Callaway. Standing at 6’2” and ~205lbs, Callaway not only his earned his respect as a receiver, but he’s an elite Punt Returner, even running one back for a touchdown this year against South Carolina. He’ll fly under the radar in this years stacked class, but he isn’t a name to be forgotten – especially for rookies who can see the field early.

Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State

Jason Huntley

If you told me a 5’9”, 195~lbs. from New Mexico State would get me excited before watching Huntley, I would’ve probably laughed it off. But hey, here we are. Jason Huntley has some of the best sneaky agile traits in this class, and I can see him making a 90 Man and working his way on to a final roster. I think the best way to describe him is a surprise. He was the only NMSU player to score against Bama. He averaged over 7 yards a carry and caught 40 passes his senior year and scored 11 total touchdowns from scrimmage. Underrated, underappreciated, and I’m excited to see him ball out.