NFL Draft Prospects: Boca Raton Bowl

The inaugural Boca Raton Bowl was a big success for Marshall University. The Thundering Herd blew out Northern Illinois University 52-23. Poor red zone play cost the Huskies dearly.

While the game didn't have many star prospects, there are a couple players worth discussing.

Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall

What I've seen before:

—I watched Cato live twice, against Miami University in 2013 and 2014. I also watched tape of him against Maryland and Virginia Tech in 2013. I saw the same things from Cato against NIU that I did against Miami, Maryland and Virginia Tech.

What I Liked:

—Hell of a college QB with absurd stats.

—Accurate within 10 yards, especially in the middle of the field.

—Mobile and a solid runner.

—Had a couple of nice touchdown keepers.

—Good release speed.

—Nice spiral.

—Made a nice catch on a trick play that was waived off for pass interference.

—Wisely gave himself up when a defender came in unblocked on one sack.

—Pretty corner throw to Shuler for a TD.

—Well-placed fade route to Jean-Louis for a TD.

—Played way better in the second half.

What I Didn't Like:

—Lacks arm strength

—Struggles with the deep out. It gets there, but it is often low and hangs in the air.

—Too small.

—Near pick on a slant route. Threw it behind Shuler.

—If his first or second option isn't open, he tends to run. Even if there isn't much pressure.

—Did throw a TD on a fade route, but missed five or six before that.

—Great go route for a TD in the fourth.

—Ugly corner route late in the fourth.

—Struggles throwing deep. By my count, he was 5 for 13 on throws 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He connected on a couple, but missed badly on far too many.

Projection: Late Day 3 or UDFA

I don't view Cato as a draftable prospect, but I wouldn't be surprised if some team takes a late flier on him. I don't think he has the size or arm strength to make it. Contrary to what Desmond Howard said, he can't make all the throws and is nothing like Teddy Bridgewater. He was much better in the second half, but I've seen his first half performance before, so it wasn't a fluke. He'll get a shot in the NFL, but I don't think he'll be anything more than a practice squad or third QB.

Tommy Shuler, WR, Marshall

What I've seen before:

—I watched Shuler live twice, against Miami in 2013 and 2014. I also watched his tape against Maryland and Virginia Tech in 2013.

—What I Liked:

—He caught all of Marshall's passes in the first half.

—So quick.

—Had a nice TD pass that didn't stand because of an offensive PI.

—Soft hands.

—Nice two-foot drag on a TD catch.

—Set the record for most Conference USA catches, and it seemed like the team tried to get him that record late.

What I Didn't Like:

—He is so small.

—More quick than fast.

—Won't break many tackles.

—Dropped one pass, although it was a little high.

Projection: Late Day 3 or UDFA

I like Shuler. It almost seems like he is Cato's first and second read. He has potential as a slot receiver/return man. He'll get a look, but his lack of size hurts him. If he were three inches taller, his draft outlook would be completely different.

Others Worth Mentioning:

Chris Jasperse, C, Marshall:

—He might get a look at the next level. Aside from a snap infraction, I never noticed any major mistakes. He looked above average, but I didn't see anything special.

Jermaine Holmes, LB, Marshall:

—Holmes might get a shot in the NFL. He spied NIU QB Drew Hare quite a bit and always seemed to be near the ball. But, he's a bit undersized, isn't that fast and isn't great in coverage.

James Rouse, DT, Marshall:

—Rouse looks like an NFL defensive lineman. He didn't jump out during the game, but it looked like he was facing double teams often. He might get a chance as a UDFA or seventh round pick.

Tyler Loos, OT, Northern Illinois:

—Loos looked better as a run blocker than a pass blocker. He got away with at least one hold in pass protection. NFL teams always need lineman, so Loos might get a chance.

Dechane Durante, FS, Northern Illinois:

—Durante isn't anywhere near the player former NIU safety Jimmie Ward is, but he should get a look. He tried to cover Shuler early in the game, but that didn't work at all.

Back to the NCAA Newsfeed