Eleven National Football League teams hosted post-draft rookie mini camps on the first weekend of May. Three of those camps featured #NECFB alumni.
The Dawg Pound got its first look at former Saint Francis U cornerback Jermaine Ponder, who signed an undrafted free agent contract in the hours following the NFL Draft. After leading the NEC in pass break-ups during the 2018 regular season, Ponder looks to make his mark at the next level and possesses the physical measurable that scouts love.
Duquesne alumni Nehari Crawford (WR), Larson Graham (OG) and Matt Fitzpatrick (OG) also participated in NFL rookie mini camp. All three men were invited to compete on a tryout basis.
In search of contracts, Crawford and Graham attended New York Giants rookie camp.
Crawford earned a second straight all-NEC first team nod in the fall before moving onto the pre-draft process this past winter. Crawford, who totaled 31 touchdown receptions during his Dukes’ tenure, earned an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and made his way through the workout circuit, but did not hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Surprisingly (to this Overtime Blog writer at least), Duquesne’s former stud receiver has yet to sign a free agent deal.
By multiple accounts, Crawford performed admirably over the course of the Giants’ three-day camp. The sure-handed receiver drew media praise for his lack of drops as well as executing a pretty post play on a pass from QB Daniel Jones.
Graham was a four-year starter, and three-time all-NEC honoree, on Duquesne’s offensive line. His final collegiate season was in 2016 when he made 11 starts at left tackle. Graham, who has transitioned to guard at the professional level, had a brief preseason stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers before resurfacing earlier this year in the Alliance of America Football.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick took to the field with the Seattle Seahawks. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive guard, who played in every Duquesne game from 2015 through 2018, was caught on camera showing off his place-kicking ability as the camp came to a close last Sunday.