NFLPA Collegiate Bowl 2013: NFL Prospects Who Boosted Draft Stock
One hundred of the nation's top NFL prospects gathered for the 2013 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, which saw the National team beat the American team 34-0.
Although the game was a blowout, prospects on both sides boosted their draft stock with strong performances. Whether they flashed something new or reinforced what scouts were already thinking, the following three players rose up draft boards on Saturday.
Luke Willson—TE, Rice
Willson struggled with an ankle injury in 2012, which severely limited his production. He was only able to play in six games, catching nine passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite his injury troubles, Willson received an invite to the NFLPA Bowl and he didn't disappoint. After a consistent week of practice, his skills translated to the game. He caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Willson is big (6'5", 250 pounds), athletic and he has great hands. He is also a strong blocker, and as an added bonus, his name lends itself to fun jokes like this one from ESPN's Max Bretos.
In the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Luke Wilson 3 catches 46 yards and a TD. Owen Wilson yet to make the boxscore— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) January 20, 2013
Willson was definitely one of the big winners on Saturday.
Jordan Rodgers—QB, Vanderbilt
Rodgers obviously doesn't have the talent of his older brother (I'll let you guess who that is), but after strong performances in recent weeks, he looks like he's definitely worth a late-round draft pick.
Rodgers had a solid season at Vanderbilt, completing 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,539 yards and 15 touchdowns. He led the Commodores to a 9-4 (5-3 SEC) record and he threw just five interceptions on the season.
As good as he was throughout the year, Rodgers did himself a favor in his last two games. After racking up three total touchdowns in Vanderbilt's Music City Bowl win over North Carolina State, Rodgers impressed again on Saturday.
He was poised and collected throughout the game, completing 8-of-11 passes for 87 yards. He wasn't able to lead the American team to the end zone, but he showed he has the physical and mental tools necessary to succeed in the NFL.
He'll likely never be an MVP like his brother, but Rodgers would be a solid addition to any team's roster.
Orwin Smith—RB, Georgia Tech
Smith missed a couple games with an ankle injury this year, but he put up some solid numbers for Georgia Tech. Despite splitting carries with Zach Laskey and quarterback Tevin Washington, Smith racked up 682 yards and five touchdowns on 79 carries.
He averaged a ridiculous 8.6 yards per carry, and he showed that big-play ability again in the NFLPA Bowl. Smith racked up 40 yards on just eight carries, including a 20-yard run. He didn't find the end zone, but showed an impressive burst.
With his explosiveness, big frame (6'0", 202 pounds) and good receiving skills, Smith will likely be drafted in one of the later rounds.
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