By Matthew Postins
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was the second of three All-Star games this past weekend. This game, sponsored by the NFL Players Association, brought together a large group of mid- to late-round prospects who hoped to improve their draft stock.
RattleandHumSports.com reviewed the tape from Saturday’s game and these players stood out as players the Dallas Cowboys could have potential interest in come late April.
LB Herman Lathers, Tennessee: Lathers’ story gets your attention. He had bone cancer as a child, underwent treatment for five years and didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. He missed his entire 2011 season with a fractured ankle. In 2012 he finished the year with 66 tackles, including 40 solo. His size – 6-foot, 230 pounds, suggests he would make a good Cover 2 corner. During the broadcast Bill Polian suggested he would make a good weak side linebacker. Right now Lathers is outside the draft, but he had a good game in the NFLPA and he’s worth tracking.
RB Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech: If Felix Jones departs in free agency, the Cowboys will probably open up the backup job to competition. A premium will be placed on finding a player that has the speed and power to handle the outside runs. Smith sure showed that in this game on a 20-yard run on an outside zone play, the kind of play that Jones always looked explosive on earlier in his career. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he’s big enough to handle NFL contact and lean enough to outrun it. Smith doesn’t have a lot of mileage on him either, since he ran in the triple option in Georgia Tech and had more than 1,800 yards rushing. He also has receiving ability.
WR Jamal-Rashad Patterson, Stanford: This guy was completely off the radar before the game because he had just 25 receptions. He had eight catches for the National team, leading all receivers. He didn’t get much attention because the National team was shut out. But at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, he showed he has some skills and his height makes him someone worth keeping on the radar.
RB Mike James, Miami, Fla.: Polian said during the broadcast that James was the one player that everyone was very high on after the week of workouts. James had 1,340 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. He’s 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, and showed great speed during the game. His frame suggests he can take a NFL pounding.
QB Greg Jenkins, Alabama State: Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist had the best overall game. But Jenkins, a FCS prospect, drew the most attention. The quarterback decided mid-week that he would make the transition to wide receiver. The announcers, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, raved about his overall speed, his football intelligence and his willingness to not be married to the quarterback position. He showed the speed on a couple of options runs and showed that he has a good arm. He’s a dual threat quarterback. If he stays at quarterback, he’s purely a developmental guy and makes no sense for Dallas. If he chooses to change positions, well, that’ll just intrigue the heck out of Jerry Jones. He loves gadget guys who can play multiple positions.
DT Jeremy Coleman, TCU: Never heard of him? That’s OK. In his first three years at TCU he never started a game and didn’t play in 2011. He was a role player last year. But in this game he did something that Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin likes – penetrated the line of scrimmage. The 290-pound nose tackle had a sack and a tackle for loss in this game. Those were his only two tackles. Interesting.
CB Demetrius McCray, Appalachian State: McCray was a productive, All-America selection for the Mountaineers, a perennial playoff team in FCS. So you know he can handle top talent. He put up numbers at Appalachian State. He had nine interceptions and 22 passes defended in his final two seasons. Plus, he’s 6-foot, 185 pounds. Remember – Kiffin is always looking for big corners that are around the football. In the NFLPA game he had five tackles, an interception, a pass-break up and a forced fumble.
Players we profiled before the game: Safety Duron Harmon of Rutgers had two tackles. … Louisville center Mario Benavides blocked for an offense that rushed for 72 yards … SMU linebacker Taylor Reed led the National team with six tackles and also forced a fumble … Utah defensive tackle Dave Kruger did not record a tackle. … Stanford DT Terrence Stephens did not record a tackle … Virginia Union defensive end Kentrell Harris had a tackle for loss. … Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers was 8-of-11 for 91 yards … Brigham Young linebacker Uona Kaveinga had four tackles, including a tackle for loss … Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin did not have a catch.