NFL Draft season officially began with news surrounding the East-West Shrine Game and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl concluding on Saturday.
The Shrine game started Saturday’s action, and the Collegiate Bowl began a little later. Neither game’s outcome was as important as the players that performed well.
Prospects showed their football skills and traits in both NFL Draft showcases. While both games typically feature late-round NFL Draft picks, here are some of the standouts from each game.
UCLA Corner Fabian Moreau, East-West Shrine Game
UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau was among the standouts at Shine Game practices this week, according to NFL.com.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said that it would be shocking if Moreau slips into the second round of the NFL Draft.
Mike Mayock, another NFL Network draft analyst, said Moreau is at least a second-round player.
“At 6-foot, 205 pounds, and a verified 4.39 (40-yard dash), worst case he’s a second-round pick,” Mayock said.
Mayock also identified Moreau as a player who impressed scouts during the week of practice.
Wow. Mayock just said he and DJ think UCLA CB Fabian Moreau is a second day pick.
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 21, 2017
Moreau registered two interceptions, 31 tackles and nine passes defended in his last season with the Bruins.
Florida Defensive Lineman Bryan Cox Jr., East-West Shrine Game
Bryan Cox, son of a former NFL player with the same name, also got attention at the Shrine Game.
Florida DE Bryan Cox Jr. is having one helluva morning. He's ripping by almost every OT he's faced today. pic.twitter.com/ZPiEujEdVa
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) January 17, 2017
According to Fox Sports, Cox Jr. frequently disturbed any sort of offensive game plan for the East team. He took advantage of pass rushing set-ups by his teammates, which could make him an every-down defensive lineman in the NFL.
The same article said that Cox Jr. headed into the game with a sixth-round grade, but the Florida Gators end could go as high as the fourth-round after Saturday’s performance.
“I thought (vs. Tennessee) was his best game. He had nine or 10 tackles, flashed in pass rush, tough against the run, that’s who he is,” Mayock said about Cox’s draft prospects via an NFL.com article.
Cox Jr. finished his Florida career with 51 solo tackles, 10 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson, East-West Shrine Game
Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson put NFL Draft scouts on notice when he claimed the E. Jack Spaulding Award for Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the Shrine game.
According to Bleacher Report, Hendrickson was the best player on the field during practice and the game. His quick first step and consistent motor helped him get a strip-sack in the Shrine Game. He could provide value for teams looking for a pass rusher in the draft.
— Satter's Sports Talk (@SatterSportTalk) January 21, 2017
Mayock said he is a relentless rusher who is more athletic than people think.
“He had a tremendous week, and I think he got himself into the conversation as a potential top-100 pick,” Mayock said.
Eastern Carolina Quarterback Philip Nelson, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Eastern Carolina quarterback Philip Nelson completed 11 of 18 passes for 102 yards and an interception in the NFLPA Bowl. He also rushed for a one-yard touchdown on the National team’s opening drive.
— Pirate Radio (@pirateradio1250) January 22, 2017
Mike Martz, former NFL head coach and coach of the winning team in the NFLPA Bowl, said Nelson is an exceptional player. Martz said he is excited to see what Nelson can do in camp, according to the USA Today.
“I think Philip is a starter in the league,” Martz said. “I’m certain of it.”
St. Francis defensive back Lorenzo Jerome, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
St. Francis defensive back Lorenzo Jerome was named the game’s MVP, despite his team losing big. The American corner registered two interceptions in the first half.
“Recognizing the play before it happens is my strength,” Jerome said after the game via the USA Today.
Pro Player Insiders wrote that Jerome displayed great ball skills and body control on the picks. Jerome made one interception on the sideline, and he made another diving pick in the second quarter.
— Patrick Woo (@P_Woo) January 22, 2017
This was enough to earn the corner a trip to the Senior Bowl next week.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl is the next NFL Draft showcase. It begins next week, so stay tuned for more NFL Draft news after that game.
[Featured Image by Ric Tapia/AP Images]