With approximately 250 players on active NFL rosters or practice squads each Sunday, there are numerous NFLPA Collegiate Bowl standouts every week around the league. The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, known for being the most diverse all-star game on the NFL Draft circuit has announced the 11th annual event will be held on Saturday, January 28th, 2023 and will air on NFL Network. While we await the next class to be announced, here’s a look at some of the notable alumni who made an impact in NFL week four action!
The jet fuel rockets of the one Darnell Mooney are starting to rev up. The third-year pro is coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season while having scored four touchdowns in each of his first two years. Despite a slow start out of the gates in 2022, Mooney began to heat up against the New York Giants this past week, collecting five catches for 94 receiving yards. There were several opportunities to score his first touchdown of this season—the Bears were close but no cigar in this affair. However, keep an eye on the electrifying speed burner, as Mooney could catch fire in the coming weeks!
A fourth-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 2018, John Franklin-Myers got an early lesson on the business of football. Following a rookie Super Bowl performance, in which he strip-sacked Tom Brady, he would find himself amongst the final roster cuts the following year in training camp. Upon signing with the New York Jets, Franklin-Myers would endure a season-ending injury but would find new hope with the hiring of Robert Saleh as head coach. As he worked his way back from injury and emerged as a key force on the Jets defense, Franklin-Myers would go on to start all 16 games in 2021 and earn a four-year, $55M contract extension along the way. He was back to making big plays this past week, rallying the Jets to a fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Heinz 57 is in need of a new spokesperson, they should look no further than Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Teair Tart, who is the epitome of good things happen to those who wait. Tart made an incredible tipped ball interception off Matt Ryan to help seal the deal for Tennessee in their victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The second youngest of 11 children, the Philadelphia native left football for a brief moment during his time at ASA College after his brother was tragically killed. He would later return to Valley Forge Military Academy before transferring to East Mississippi CC, then Ellsworth CC, and eventually finished his collegiate career at FIU. In 22 career NFL games (15 starts), Tart has collected 28 tackles and 10 quarterback pressures. It’s great to see Tart enjoy such success after persevering through all the adversity, kudos.
One of the most improved players early on in 2022 has been Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu, who led the Panthers with 11 tackles this past week against the Arizona Cardinals. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Luvu would appear in 40 games (four starts) in three years before signing with Carolina and registering a career high 43 tackles in 16 games (four starts) a season ago. Now a full-time starter, Luvu has 32 tackles through the first four games, including five tackles for loss and a pick-six interception return. The Samoan native has been one of the lone bright spots on the team this year.
Las Vegas Raiders defender Nate Hobbs has emerged as one of the more impressive physical, man-coverage cornerbacks in the NFL. That was on full display once again this past week, as Hobbs made numerous contributions during the Raiders first win of the season over the division-rival Denver Broncos. Hobbs made three tackles, including a cornerback blitz, which surprised Russell Wilson and resulted in a sack. A fifth-round pick in 2021, the Louisville native has emerged as a key starter and has accumulated 101 tackles through his first 20 career games played.
You would not have known from surfing the box scores but Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Zech McPhearson played the most outstanding game of his career this past Sunday. The second-year pro out of Texas Tech stepped in for Darius Slay, who would leave the game due to injury just three plays into the contest. McPherson did an admirable job shutting down the various Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers and keeping them in check the entire game, logging 44 snaps. While he didn’t register any tackles on the stat sheet, when the bell rang and McPhearson heard his name called, he was ready for the opportunity. The Eagles have taken on the persona of a heavyweight contender in a 17-round championship fight thanks to role players such as McPherson.
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