The NFL Combine is just a week away and that means it is time to dive into what we might see from some top prospects in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Take a look at some of the top D2 Football draft prospects as the combine gets under way.
Alex Cappa, OT — Humboldt State
A four-time Offensive Lineman of The Year in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Cappa should be a mid-round draft pick as early as day two of the draft in Dallas.
What Cappa brings is ferocity that even some D1 prospects can't match. As the great draft guru Mike Mayock said about Cappa during Senior Bowl workouts, "he has the nastiest tape I've ever seen."
A possible move to guard could also help Cappa attract scouts his way, but this is the first D2 tackle prospect in some time that truly fits the mold of an NFL bookend. His strong run blocking could move him to right tackle, but someone is definitely going to take a chance on this monster of a prospect to be a key piece of the future in protecting their QB.
Desmond Harrison, OT — West Georgia
Another offensive tackle, Harrison was not always a D2 player after transferring in from Texas following some off-field issues. Because of those potential red flags, we could see Harrison slide down boards into the later rounds but that does not mean he doesn't have the talent for a mid-round flyer.
His athleticism as a tackle is what stands out most for teams looking him over, but he can get jostled in his footwork at times. It will be important for the former Wolves standout to show that he can stand up measurable-wise to players on the field in workouts.
But most importantly, he has to nail the interviews with teams. His potential to be an early day-three pick all depends on if he can sell to a team that his checkered past is nothing for the future. Plus, he was unable to compete in most of Senior Bowl week practices after suffering an injury. Proving to teams that he is ready will be objective number one for this D2 talent.
Max Redfield, DB — Indiana (PA)
A former 5-Star prospect that signed on to play with the Fighting Irish, Redfield was a potential early draft pick if he continued his ascension through the Notre Dame defense as he had through his first three seasons in South Bend. But the off-field issues arose and the California native wound up as a graduate transfer with IUP.
The stats are there for a big pounder in the defensive backfield, but scouts have seen that his timing is slower after a year off and the level of play in D2 won't help him any to convince some teams otherwise. It was honestly a shock to me that Redfield got an invite to the Combine over other D2 players that I feel will have a better shot to get drafted.
At this point, IUP's star defender is a priority free agent at best, with some team maybe taking a swing on him with a compensatory pick in the seventh round. So much has been written of his off-field troubles that some teams won't even put him on their board. Such is the way for a talent who went by the wayside.
Here is hoping Redfield can improve his chances with a stellar performance at the NFL Combine.
Nathan Shepherd, DT — Fort Hays State
College Stats: 168 Tackles / 27.0 TFL / 10 Sacks
Finally we get to see Shepherd in action after he went down with injury on the first day of Senior Bowl practices. The stout middle-line defender has caught the eye of many scouts and with a good showing could work his way into rounds three-to-five.
An outstanding run defender that can get after the passer on occasion, Shepherd needs to show the ability to bend, push, and thrust his way through linemen in an effort to create negative plays. While he showed that against D2 foes, it won't be so easy to do against NFL talent.
The Canadian product should be a mid-round draftee after teams see what he can do. At a good size, the FHSU alum could shift outside as well in a 4-3, or maybe take up players in a 3-4 on occasion. Whatever his role, Shepherd should soon be seeing the field on Sundays.