In-depth analysis: NFLPA Collegiate Bowl 2018

Here's a position-by-position review of this weekend's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, a game that ended up as a 23-0 win for the National team who scored two late touchdowns. Remember, 23 of last year's participants were drafted.


Toledo's Logan Woodside was probably the biggest name on show but he didn't start well, throwing an interception on the first series. However, his coach Mike Martz had high praise for Woodside after the game, saying he was further along than the other passers he's had at this time and that was sure he'd play in the NFL. Woodside ended up 7-of-12 for 64 yards.

Other than Woodside, Austin Allen was probably the most impressive quarterback, showing some good elusiveness and ending up 6-for-9 for 75 yards. However, he was still sacked four times in spite of that elusiveness. The main knock on each of these is their height. Woodside measured at 6'1" even, while Allen was three-eighths of an inch less than that.

Offensive Linemen

TCU tackle Matt Pryor boosted his stock earlier in the week when he measured up at over 6'6" with an arm length just shy of 36 inches. He backed this up in the game with some good run blocking from the right tackle position. During the season, Pryor split his time between right tackle and right guard and did well in pass protection, but he's big so it will be interesting to see how he fares in workouts.

David Steinmetz, who is also 6'7" but doesn't have the same kind of wingspan, had some struggles at right tackle this year with Purdue. However, he might be the kind of player who projects well to guard at the next level. His technique might need some refining but he was impressively strong at the point of attack and also made this impressive block on the move:


On the whole, the offensive lines were overmatched, so if there are any draftable prospects here, they would likely be projects. One of the players to watch we had identified, Stanford tackle David Bright, must have been injured because he only played a few snaps.

Running backs

One of the biggest names at running back was Colorado State's Dalyn Dawkins and he got plenty of work but he struggled to just 37 yards on 19 touches and also dropped a pass. His best run was the one in the gif above.

Two small-school prospects - Anthony Philyaw from Howard and Martrez Carter from Grambling State flashed. Philyaw had a game-high 12-yard run for a score and caught passes for 24 and 18 yards. However, his other two carries were stuffed for minus-six yards. Carter racked up 69 yards on 13 touches.

Pass catchers

Although the National team won, none of their players had more than two catches. There were a few impressive performances on the American team though.

The 6'4" Marques Valdes-Scantling from USF had three catches, including one for 29 yards. However, the leader in receiving yardage was 6'2" Temple wideout Adonis Jennings. Jennings only had two catches but they went for 61 yards as he made a low grab on an outbreaking route and this catch over two defenders on a deep ball:


At tight end, Washington's Will Dissly also had three catches. Dissly converted from defensive lineman last year and showed some promise as a blocker during the season. His pass catching skills have developed considerably as he went from four catches last year to 24 this season, displaying some surprising athleticism.

Defensive Line

There were plenty of good performances on the defensive line. The teams combined for six sacks with Bucknell's Abdullah Anderson and UCF's Tony Guerad combining for 3.5. However, the most impressive sack came courtesy of this spin move by Southern's Aaron Tiller, who is 257 pounds but only 5'11":


One of the top defensive tackles on display was Bruce Hector who penetrated for this sack:


John Franklin from Stephen F. Austin and LSU's Frank Herron also impressed with their constant penetration with Herron also capping off his performance with a scoop-and-score.


Each team benefited from an outstanding performance from one of their linebackers. Virginia Tech's Andrew Motuapuaka showcased his all-round skills by batting down a pass on a blitz, stuffing a run and recovering a fumble. He also made this play in coverage:


On the American team, DJ Shockley impressed with his coverage abilities. He had six tackles, including a couple of good plays against the run. However, he really excelled in coverage as he was targeted five times, breaking up four of them and stopping the other for a short gain. This was the best of those plays:


Defensive Backs

Penn State's Troy Apke won the game's MVP award after racking up seven tackles, a forced fumble and an interception, which he returned 56 yards. Perhaps most importantly for his NFL prospects, Apke excelled on special teams with two tackles in coverage, including this one to force a turnover:


At cornerback, Tulane's Parry Nickerson was one of the best prospects on display. He gave up one of Jennings' catches but the receiver was stopped for no gain on his only other target.

Two smaller prospects who impressed were UCLA's Jaleel Wadood and Arkansas State's Blaise Taylor. Both will probably need to prove they can play in the slot to have an NFL future. Wadood eluded his blocker well to blow up this play:


Taylor racked up seven tackles and also saw work as a punt returner. He came up fast to make a good stop on this play:


Coming up tomorrow, we'll have part one of our two-part review of the East-West Shrine Game...