College seniors will do their best to impress NFL scouts before the NFL Draft, and many players will get their first opportunity via the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
Previous games have featured future NFL players like Trevoyne Boykin, Marquette King and Chris Conley. Former NFL head coaches Mike Martz and Jim Zorn will coach the 2017 crop of players at the Stub Hub Center on Saturday.
Who will stand out in this year’s game? Here are a few names to watch from both the American and National squads.
Offensive guard Josh Boutte, LSU
Boutte started his final season with the LSU Tigers, and earned himself second team ALL-SEC honors. At six-foot-five, he has the size to play guard in the NFL.
CBS Sports gave him a seventh round grade, but offensive linemen from LSU have a chance to get drafted late due to their experience in the SEC. Boutte could increase his draft stock with a good performance in the Collegiate Bowl.
Defensive lineman Tashawn Bower, LSU
Speaking of LSU, Bower is another player to watch according to Proplayersinsider.com. He finished 2016 with 12 rackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks, including a three sack performance against a Louisville team that features Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
Currently, Bower ranks as the No. 224 prospect per CBS Sports. However, the NFL always needs pass rushers. This outside linebacker could make himself some money with a good performance in Carson.
Corner back Adrian Colbert, Miami
Colbert missed five games due to injury, but he still impresses with his hitting. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock already complimented his hitting ability.
Was doing tape on 2 Miami DBs when a 3rd guy made himself known..don't know if Adrian Colbert can play- but will find out ! 3 big hits at CB pic.twitter.com/BU3YxCAdC2
— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) December 6, 2016
Moreover, Colbert can impress with his versatility to play safety or corner, per the same Pro Players Insider article. At six-foot-two, he brings ideal defensive back size. He registered one interception and 22 tackles during his only season with Miami. Colbert transfered from Texas in 2016.
Linebacker Hardy Nickerson, Illinois
Nickerson registered 111 tackles with Cal in 2015. He followed that with 107 tackles in 2016, which was his only season with Illinois.
Nickerson also comes from an NFL pedigree, as his father was drafted by the Steelers in 1987. The younger Nickerson could be considered undersized in the NFL, but he certainly has the football IQ to add value to a pro roster.
Center Jay Guillermo, Clemson
Guillermo should have increased his stock as his team won the College Football National Championship. He played a role in that game by anchoring a Clemson offense that put on a show versus Alabama. Guillermo ranks as the seventh player at his position, according to CBS Sports rankings.
However, Guillermo’s quarterback Dashaun Watson could go in the first round. Therefore, a team may try to draft and stash Guillermo to make Watson more comfortable as a pro. This idea was presented by Niners Nation.
The game kicks off at 1:15 p.m. PST at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif. on Jan. 20.