NFL Draft prospects shine at 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

January 18, 2014

NFLPA 2014 Collegiate Bowl / Photo: Marilyn Gutierrez 

Carson, Calif. – For the third year in a row, Dick Vermeil’s National team came out with a victory at the 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, winning 31–17 over the American Team coached by Dennis Green, the former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals coach.  Vermeil, who won the 2000 Super Bowl while leading the St. Louis Rams, was doused with Gatorade by his players at the end of the game.

Led by the running back tandem of J.C. Copeland (LSU) and Trey Watts (Tulsa), the National team was able to control the line of scrimmage and dictate the tempo on the offensive side of ball.

On almost every possession after a few early three-and-outs in the first quarter, the National team was able to consistently string together lengthy drives, scoring 31 of the game's last 41 points.

Copeland, who is a massive 270-pound fullback, scored two one-yard touchdown runs in an impressive display.  For a player of his size, Copeland moved quite well as a lead blocker, setting the edge for the speedy Watts.

Watts, who ran for 54 yards on 9 rushes, helped himself in front of NFL scouts today. He showed a burst of speed outside, as well as toughness inside. Overall, the National team was able to run the ball effectively for a total of 175 yards on 31 carries – an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

NFLPA 2014 Collegiate Bowl / Photo: Marilyn Gutierrez

In a game headlined by highly accomplished SEC quarterbacks James Franklin (Missouri) and Connor Shaw (South Carolina), it was Sean Schroeder who came out and turned in the best passing performance. The former University of Hawaii quarterback passed for 138 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. Despite his American team's loss, Schroeder's efficiency was demonstrated by his 13 completions on 17 attempts.

Franklin and Shaw did play well in the game, passing for 78 and 71 yards, respectively. Both players showed commanding presence and hit their targets on screens and short passes.

Franklin showed better long range passing ability and ran very well for a quarterback. It will be interesting to see where these two quarterbacks end up in the NFL Draft. Many times the NFL has undervalued quarterbacks who are very accomplished at the collegiate level only to see them later surprise people, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson being just two examples.

By Christian Siagian
Contributing Writer for

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