The NFL Draft Bible is spanning the globe in search of NFL talent. Our latest travels took us to San Diego for the latest installment of the HUB Football ‘CAMP’ series. The May roster featured a plethora of talented players, which lead to a handful of quick signings on the offensive side of the ball. Some of the players to land pro contracts in recent weeks include tight end Connor Davis (Browns), who was signed shortly after his HUB commitment, wide receiver Andy Jones (San Francisco 49ers) and quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (Toronto Argonauts).
That led us in search of the top defensive players from last month’s CAMP, so we went back to the tape and came up with three prospects ready to contribute right now. After solid workouts, veterans such as linebacker Brandon Marshall and cornerback Bene Benwikere have both been in contact with numerous NFL teams and are should be expected to sign before the season.
Instead of the obvious candidates, we have identified a trio of top performers who are currently flying under the radar but should be atop every ‘next man up’ list around the league. Each of the teams from the NFL and CFL have received the film from May’s CAMP so let’s have a look at some of the players they very well may be focused on:
Daryle Banfield, DT, Brown, No. 56, 6040, 302, 0968, 3568, 8368, Age 23, Agent: Sean Stellato
When someone graduates with a degree in Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations from a prestigious Ivy League university, but decides they want to fly cross-country for an opportunity to compete, it’s purely for the love of the game. A four-year starter for the Brown Bears, Banfield also had a brief stint with the Chicago Bears. He is on record to have participated in the Bryant Pro Day on March 28, 2019, timing 5.20 in the 40, with 19 bench press reps, 33-inch vertical jump, 9-7 broad jump, 4.77 short shuttle and 7.82 three-cone.
Those types of measurables may have made NFL teams leery. Admittedly, Banfield did not particularly stand out much during individual bag drills. However, once one-on-ones began, the dog came out, as he went full attack-mode on opposing offensive linemen in attendance. Banfield demonstrated a diverse hand-combat repertoire, complete with dips, rips and chops before adding some pure bull-rush technique for good measure. He was a problem to stop. Any team that is willing to give Banfield a shot will be rewarded with a promising young prospect who is sure to raise the level of competition around him, while legitimately competing for a job.
Brandon Payer, ILB, Colorado State-Pueblo, No. 51, 6024, 236, 0948, 3200, 7478, Age 25, Agent: Marty Magid
The most pleasant surprise of CAMP was Payer, who showcased his explosiveness, quick change of direction, lateral quickness, fleet footwork and overall impressive skill-set. His upper-body frame is chiseled and he generates great burst from a powerful lower body, with quads built like an oak tree. Payer was unbelievably nimble, he demonstrated great awareness, was constantly in the right place at the right time and proved capable in pass coverage.
A four-year starter at Colorado State-Pueblo, where he earned a reputation as a tackling machine, Payer dominated the competition, finishing with 377 career tackles, including 53 tackles for loss, with 11 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He worked out at Air Force’s Pro Day on March 11, 2019, timing 4.75 (1.60) in the 40, with 19 bench press rep, 37-inch vertical jump, 10-7 broad jump, 4.21 short shuttle and 7.21 three-cone. Payer is a bona fide NFL backup and special-teamer.
Mike Stevens Jr., CB, North Carolina State, No. 18, 5106, 183, 0868, 3100, 7600, Age 25, Agent: Harold Lewis
An ascending prospect entering his senior season at Raleigh, Stevens endured a knee injury that dampened his final collegiate season. Prior to the setback, he had earned a reputation as one of the top cover corners in the ACC, which helped pop him onto the NFL radar. Stevens took part in rookie camps with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers, with a pit-stop along the way in the XFL, where he stated his case as the best cornerback in the league.
While Stevens was often assigned the top opposing wideout in college, it led to him playing primarily on the boundary, and he did well there at his CAMP workout. However, with his physical profile, he seems best-suited as a nickel back. Stevens’s competitiveness stood out throughout the day, as he consistently batted down balls and looked stellar during the one-on-one portions of the workout. Finding verified testing times has been difficult, which could be another reason why Stevens remains unsigned. Let the tape from CAMP show that his performance warrants an opportunity to compete for an NFL 53-man roster spot.
While we just focused on three, there were numerous players worthy of consideration for this article. HUB Football’s May CAMP featured more than 60 players, roughly half of whom had previous NFL experience and the platform only continues to grow. CAMP presented by HUB Football is intense and it’s an opportunity. The word is out: If you are a premier street free agent, the place to be is here. Next event: June 18 at Helix Charter High School in San Diego. For more information visit: www.HUBFootball.com
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