NFL Draft Bible is spanning the globe, in search of premier American pro football free agents. The elite showcase for current unsigned players is CAMP presented by HUB Football, a periodical showcase created by Don Yee, which provides an opportunity for players to work out in front of NFL teams in an OTA-style environment. To date, nearly 20% of HUB Football participants have signed pro contracts.
With OTA workouts underway around the League this past week, there was plenty of player movement throughout the NFL as teams look to improve their rosters, while north of the border, the CFL is readying itself for training camp in July. Below is a look at where some of the recent CAMP attendees have landed and where a few others could be headed.
Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson re-joined the Toronto Argonauts and this could prove to be one of the best CFL signings of the offseason. While there are a lot of new faces on the Argos roster, including a proven signal-caller in Nick Arbuckle, the leadership intangibles of MBT should provide a major boost to the Toronto locker room. If Bethel-Thompson catches fire this fall, look out as the Argos could be primed for a worst-to-first turnaround.
Another quarterback generating some recent buzz is Shea Patterson, who also has an outstanding offer to play up north. Patterson has been in contact with several NFL teams about potential tryout opportunities. He flashed a live arm and had some of the more impressive throws at the most recent CAMP in May. Patterson continues to develop his mechanics in an attempt to become more consistent and stay ready for action. Expect to see an announcement on where he decides to play soon.
Little-known Devonte Williams turned heads during his CAMP workout in April. Former Southeastern Louisiana and Indiana running back impressed the New England Patriots (who were in attendance) enough to warrant a tryout with the team. While New England did not offer Williams a contract, other NFL teams should take note, as Williams should be atop ‘next man up’ lists for organizations in search of depth in the backfield.
It didn’t take long for wide receiver Andy Jones to ink a deal after his HUB workout in May, as the 49ers, who sent two scouts to CAMP, quickly agreed to terms within the week. Jones’ highlight performance included several deep touchdowns in which he left opposing defenders in his dust. Due to the thin receiver corps in San Francisco, don’t be surprised if Jones makes his mark at some point during the season for what is now the fifth NFL franchise he has suited up for.
Another player who doesn’t lack experience is Jordan Veasy, who spent time with six different NFL organizations. Veasy created a buzz amongst scouts in attendance at CAMP with his acrobatic catches, explosive burst and impressive upper body/vertical game. Veasy’s overall skill-set is certainly equal to or greater than many of the wideouts currently on NFL rosters. This is one player whose best football is ahead of him and it’s a bit surprising that he remains unsigned. Look for a savvy team to scoop him up sooner than later.
The HUB Football scouting department has done an excellent job identifying several talented free-agent tight ends for its CAMPs, as recent invitees Connor Davis (Cleveland Browns) and CJ O’Grady (Cincinnati Bengals) both inked deals during the offseason.
One other current free-agent tight end and CAMP alum, who also deserves a look, is DeAndre Goolsby. He was extremely impressive with his speed, separation and strength at May’s CAMP. A solid route-runner who is in excellent shape, Goolsby should be viewed as a moving piece/h-back type who can create mismatches in the passing game. He has vastly improved since his collegiate playing days at Florida.
Our thoughts go out to fellow CAMP alum Erik Swoope, who was already on the comeback trail before a gruesome hit during a recent Spring League game abruptly ended his season. Swoope was placed on the league’s IR and we send him our best wishes for a speedy and healthy recovery.
Meanwhile, several players from the 2020 COVID-impacted draft class continue to struggle to find work, as the NFL continues to find its way out of the pandemic. Northern Iowa offensive lineman Jackson Scott-Brown was robbed of an official school pro day and despite several impressive third-party workout performances, he remains unsigned. He possesses sound footwork and top-level strength to go along with the required athleticism to play either tackle or guard. When you factor in his position versatility, Scott-Brown would be an ideal developmental swingman for a team to groom.
Another similar player is versatile and athletic defensive end Kai Higgins. He was one of the better-looking down-linemen to pass through CAMP presented by HUB Football in April. Higgins recently competed in The Spring League, where he said his legs felt good and his conditioning was up to par, which was key since he was seeing his first game action in nearly two years. Higgins also was an impressive interview as he is a very mature/heady person off the field. On the field, his combination of strength and agility makes him an intriguing developmental prospect.
Former Denver Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl Champion Brandon Marshall has not yet landed a contract, but several teams have been in contact following his recent CAMP participation and his individual workout with the 49ers. San Francisco could still end up as a landing spot down the road, so don’t be surprised if Marshall is on the 49ers’ shortlist when needed. In two CAMPworkouts, Marshall proved he can still be an effective contributor and provide stellar leadership.
One of the more noticeable standouts of The Spring League (TSL) has been cornerback Denzel Rice, who enjoyed one of the best CAMP workouts we’ve seen to date. Rice’s press-man coverage, physicality and competitiveness make him appear almost certain to be NFL-bound. Rice looks the part and seems to be ready to step in and compete immediately. We could see him play as a nickel-back, while also providing depth as a backup on the boundary. Prior injuries have made teams reluctant to sign him, but Rice now appears 100 percent healthy.
Another player who received an immediate tryout following his May CAMP workout was Mitchell Fraboni. He has had multiple NFL auditions, though, the long snapper position has far fewer openings, but any team in search of an upgrade at the position should take a gander at Fraboni, who is as good as any long snapper out there on the open market.
As scouts began to file out of the last CAMP workout, kicker Paul Ortiz was just starting to heat up. The former Winona State standout connected on-field goal kicks that would have been good from 69 and 74 yards, according to Trackman technology. In addition to showcasing his deep ball accuracy, Ortiz is a kickoff specialist and one of the best-kept secrets out there. We can’t wait to see which NFL team spends the time to review the special teams' footage from May and gives this man a uniform.
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