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 seven action!
Peyton Hendershot & Sam Williams
The Dallas Cowboys got a much-needed shot in the arm with the return of quarterback Dak Prescott this past week but two notable NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni from this year’s rookie draft class also played key roles in their win over the Detroit Lions. Prescott found tight end, Peyton Hendershot, for his first career receiving touchdown. In addition, second-round pick Sam Williams enjoyed a breakout game, registering three tackles, two sacks, and one safety, to help seal the deal. Both players appear to have a bright future in ‘Big D,’ as Henderson has begun to heat up and Williams is an important rotational piece along the defensive front.
Coming out of Southern Mississippi in the 2015 draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches has quietly built a long, successful NFL career. The sixth-round draft pick initially made his mark in Kansas City, spending his first three seasons with the Chiefs, before a pit stop in Indianapolis. Since 2018, the Alabama native has been entrenched in Tampa Bay, picking up a Super Bowl ring, as a member of the Buccaneers. You may have noticed Nunez-Roches more this season, as he has filled the starting void created when the team declined not to re-sign Ndamukong Suh. He has collected a tackle in every game this season and totaled four this past week versus the Carolina Panthers, while he continues to play some of the best football of his life.
Another NFLPA Collegiate Bowl veteran inside the trenches is Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart, who recorded a career-high 12 tackles against the Tennessee Titans. A fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Albany, Stewart bided his time as a rookie waiting patiently for an opportunity. That moment arrived during his third year when earned a starting role early in the season. Stewart has yet to look back since then, signing a three-year $30M contract in 2020 and starting his past 53 games.
One of the longest-tenured NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni is Las Vegas Raiders safety Duron Harmon, who participated in the second annual all-star game event back in 2013. Currently, in his 10th season, the Rutgers product has brought a certain level of professionalism and accountability inside the locker room. His leadership has also translated to the playing field and he showed up across numerous highlight shows this past weekend with his 73-yard pick-six interception return during the Raiders win over the Houston Texans, resulting in the first touchdown of his pro career! It was a well-served milestone to add to the resume, which also includes 150 games played, 339 tackles, and 23 career interceptions.
Safety Jaylinn Hawkins has been playing lights out for the Atlanta Falcons. He matched his season-high 11 tackles on Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals and now has 43 tackles on the year, along with three passes defended and one forced fumble. Unfortunately, he would not finish the game due to a head injury, as he remains in the NFL-mandated concussion protocol. We wish Hawkins a speedy and healthy recovery!
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumni Spotlight