NFLPA Collegiate Bowl 2022: Top prospects include Sam Williams and Aqeel Glass

With NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices underway and the all-star game kicking off this Saturday, who are top NFL Draft prospects in attendance?

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl receives less hype than the Senior Bowl or Shrine Bowl, yet it is another all-star showcase for top NFL Draft prospects. With practices wrapped up and the game kicking off today at 6 PM ET, let’s take a look at the top NFLPA Bowl prospects.

Top NFLPA Collegiate Bowl prospects

112 players were invited to the NFLPA Bowl, but these prospects stand above the rest.

Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss

Sam Williams has somewhat fallen through the cracks in a crowded edge class. He was a first-team All-American at Northeast Mississippi Community College in 2018 before transferring to Ole Miss. In 2020, he was arrested — though the charges were later dropped — which may cause NFL decision-makers to drop him down some boards.

Nevertheless, Williams’ raw traits tick nearly every box, and he is still progressing mentally. With proper coaching implemented on the field, Williams could unlock immense potential.

Aqeel Glass, QB, Alabama A&M

Aqeel Glass possesses a prototypical frame (6’3″, 233 pounds) and a powerful right arm. While he can maneuver in the pocket and run when necessary, Glass is much more of a pocket passer. His small hands (8.58 inches) may cause concern among NFL clubs.

Regardless, Glass is one of the most prolific HBCU passers of all time, throwing for 12,136 yards, 110 touchdowns, and 41 interceptions in his Alabama A&M career.

Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M

At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Markquese Bell is a hard-hitting safety with explosiveness in the backend. He has showcased sought-after versatility by logging significant snaps in the box, slot, and deep safety at Florida A&M. However, during one-on-ones at NFLPA Bowl practices, he was a bit handsy and playing the ball instead of the receiver. Still, he is asking coaches all the right questions.

“What changed when they got to the league? How did they transition from college athletes to professional athletes? Like, things that they looked at, things that they worked on, their preparation before the games,” Bell explained. “Just little things that as a college athlete you don’t really pay attention to, but as a professional, like, these are grown men, and you’re coming in there to take their job so, you have to be on your Ps and Qs every day.”

Daniel Hardy, LB, Montana State

Daniel Hardy possesses incredible length to go along with his relentless motor. He posted the third-most sacks (16) in the FCS this season while bringing an immense amount of pressure each week. At times, he struggles with poor tackling angles and technique, but he is strong in run defense.

After beginning the year at 223 pounds, Hardy bulked up to 241 at the NFLPA Bowl. He turned heads in one-on-one drills, quickly beating opposing OTs.

Clarence Hicks, LB, UTSA

Zach VanValkenburg, DL, Iowa

With a name like Zach VanValkenburg, the Iowa defensive lineman demands respect. But outside of his exquisite last name, VanValkenburg has produced on the field. He turns speed into power and plays with unquestioned effort. He moves his looming frame (6’4″, 264 pounds) well and is as much of a force against the run as he is rushing the passer.

Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State

Eric Johnson can play anywhere between the B gaps (outside shoulder of guards) and wreak havoc. Although he shined as a run defender at Missouri State, he has had no issue dispatching his opposition in one-on-ones at NFLPA Bowl practices. He is exceptionally sudden and explosive, routinely winning with his first step/move.

Shermari Jones, RB, Coastal Carolina

Shermari Jones is a violent runner who sees the hole and accelerates. He thrived in Coastal Carolina’s spread-option offense, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt en route to 1,040 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021. Jones only caught 3 balls, so he will need to prove he can handle passes out of the backfield. Still, he stands strong in pass protection and is built for the NFL (5’11”, 214 pounds).

Dai’Jean Dixon, WR, Nicholls State

While not quite the 6’4″ Nicholls State lists him as (checked in at 6’2″ at the NFLPA Bowl), Dai’Jean Dixon is a big-play threat. Not only can he bully opponents at the catch point, but he has a little wiggle after the catch, forcing missed tackles. Dixon is the definition of a chain mover, recording 21 touchdowns and 106 first downs on 164 receptions.

Jequez Ezzard, WR, Sam Houston State

If you want a spark plug for your roster, Jequez Ezzard is your guy. He is undoubtedly on the smaller side at 5’9″, but he is a well-built 194 pounds. Ezzard is lethal in space and generated highlight-reel plays at practice. He should thrive during the game, and NFL teams will covet his ability to create as a returner, receiver, and even out of the backfield.

C.J. Holmes, CB, Jackson State

At 5’10” and 180 pounds, C.J. Holmes played much bigger at NFLPA Bowl practices. He routinely made plays on the ball after a strong campaign at Jackson State. Holmes played the most snaps from the slot in the country in 2021, whether FBS or FCS. And while slot corners inherently concede more completions and yards than outside DBs, Holmes allowed a completion rate of just 52%. He is putting his name on the map, and teams are taking notice.

Other top NFLPA Collegiate Bowl prospects

  • Cole Kelley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
  • Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State
  • Bryant Koback, RB, Toledo
  • Kalil Pimpleton, WR, Central Michigan
  • Trae Barry, TE, Boston College
  • Jarrid Williams, OT, Miami (FL)
  • Josh Sills, G, Oklahoma State
  • Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati
  • James Houston, EDGE/LB, Jackson State
  • Benton Whitley, DL, Holy Cross
  • Tre Williams, EDGE, Arkansas
  • Arron Mosby, EDGE/LB, Fresno State
  • Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
  • Samuel Womack, CB, Toledo
  • Kolby Harvell-Peel, S, Oklahoma State

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