•Caleb Murphy, EDGE, Ferris State
Caleb Murphy set an NCAA record for most sacks in a single season in 2022 (25.5), highlighting his knack for getting to the opposing quarterback off the edge. The Ferris State pass rusher also recorded 39 tackles for loss, making him one of the single most impactful players at any level of football.
Murphy took advantage of lesser competition at times, this cannot be denied. But as was evident by his workout at the NFL Combine, there is loads of potential in his 6-foot-3, 254-pound frame. NFL coaching should help Murphy find more ways to win against stronger, more technical linemen on Sundays.
•Elijah Blades, CB, Buffalo
Elijah Blades was one of the top players at the JuCo level before playing at Texas A&M and Florida. After failing to make an impact in either stop, Blades transferred to Buffalo as a graduate student and showcased his potential as a cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Blades boasts a lanky profile that he uses to deflect passes and hound receivers as he works downfield. He is more than willing to help out in run support, which will earn him the favor of the defensive coordinator wherever he lands. Blades has legitimate D1 talent and just needs a chance to compete.
•Isaac Cochran, IOL, Air Force
Isaac Cochran is an All-American guard out of Air Force. He graded as the No. 21 guard in the 2023 NFL Draft (via PFF), showing dominance in the run game that few on the college level can match. Cochran had the lowest blown block rate in the country (via SIS) and should be a solid depth piece in the league.
•Mason Pierce, CB/KR, Colorado-Mines
Mason Pierce has a strong chance of earning reps on a special teams unit early in his career. At Colorado Mines, a little-known D2 program, Pierce earned a place on the All-Conference team as a kick/punt returner AND as a cornerback. His slender frame will likely keep him reserved for the slot if he logs defensive snaps, but the return game is where he can make his mark in the NFL.
•Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB, Davenport
Elysee Mbem-Bosse is a freaky athlete at the linebacker position. He uses a phenomenal top gear to patrol sideline to sideline, bringing down any ball carrier that dares to run his way. Mbem-Bosse is committed to improvement, adding 15 pounds of muscle to better hold up as an every-down player. Given his physical traits, the Davenport star is a lock for special teams snaps, with the upside of a rotational linebacker in the NFL.
2023 NFL Draft Honorable Mentions:
•Maurice Campbell, OT, Benedict College
•Kyle Ulbrich, Punter, Middle Tennessee
•Jerrick Reed II, SAF, New Mexico
•Lachlan Pitts, TE, William & Mary
•Hayes Maple, LB, Southern Miss