Tag Archives: Nehari Crawford

Where #NECFB Alumni Stand Following NFL Rookie Camps

Photo from @TheBrownsWire (brownswire.com)

 

Ten Northeast Conference football alumni went to work as all 32 NFL teams hosted rookie mini camps over the first two weekends of May.

Three of those men were signed to contracts prior to rookie camp while the other seven former NEC ballers participated with their respective NFL teams on a tryout basis.

Central Connecticut’s all-time leading passer Jacob Dolegala (Bengals) and former Wagner signal caller TJ Linta (Chiefs) agreed to terms on free agents deals in the hours following the NFL Draft as did Saint Francis U’s all-NEC cornerback Jermaine Ponder (Browns).

After not earning a contract despite a productive three-day performance at Giants’ camp, Duquesne’s Nehari Crawford accepted a second tryout from the Steelers one week later. Crawford, who led the NEC in receiving yards in 2018, has not yet been signed, but he has managed to make an impression in front of NFL coaches and talent evaluators.

 

Bryant’s Tom Kennedy, an all-NEC first team WR in 2017, impressed enough at Lions’ rookie camp to warrant a signing. The quickness and athleticism that allowed Kennedy to collect all-conference honors at the Division I level in two different sports (football and lacrosse) could lead to a successful career as a NFL slot receiver.

 

 

All NEC alumni who competed at a NFL Rookie Camp this month are listed below along with their current contract statuses.

NFL Rookie Camp Participants

NEC Player – NFL Team (current status)

QB Jacob Dolegala – Bengals (Signed)

DB Jermaine Ponder – Browns (Signed)

QB TJ Linta – Chiefs (Signed)

WR Tom Kennedy – Lions (Signed [post-tryout])

WR Nehari Crawford – Giants / Steelers (tryout FA)

OG Matt Fitzpatrick – Seahawks (tryout FA)

LB Tom Costigan – Chargers (tryout FA)

DB Hakeem Kinard – Buccaneers (tryout FA)

RB Ryan Fulse – Eagles (tryout FA)

OG Larson Graham* – Giants (tryout FA)

* Non-rookie status

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#NECFB: Four Alumni Hit The Field In First Wave of NFL Rookie Camps

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.

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NEC in NFL: Tracking Post-Draft Destinations

 

Hank Fraley and Miles Austin were all-NEC performers who took the undrafted free agent route to successful NFL playing careers.

In the aftermath of the 2019 NFL Draft, a number of NEC products hope to follow in the footsteps of the since-retired Fraley and Austin.

As of Monday morning (April 29), seven Northeast Conference players agreed to terms with NFL franchises on a free agent contract or a rookie mini camp tryout.

Due to the fact that NFL teams have yet to release official lists of signees and rookie camp invitees, all deals are “reported.”

We will continue to update the #NECinNFL rookies list as more information becomes available.

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2019 NFL Draft Hopefuls from #NECFB

Ryan Fulse

Gregory Senat was one of the fortunate few last spring.

The Wagner offensive tackle heard his name called in the 2018 NFL Draft, joining an exclusive club of NEC alumni. Senat was only the sixth Northeast Conference athlete to be taken in the big league draft.

With the Baltimore Ravens giving him a fair share of reps at the tackle spot, Senat showed plenty of promise during rookie camp and training camp prior to suffering a season-ending injury in a preseason game. After landing on IR, he’ll look to make his mark again in Baltimore this offseason.

Meanwhile, plenty of Northeast Conference alumni have hopes of joining Senat in the NFL and a healthy number of them are likely to receive some kind of opportunity (Drafted, UDFA signing, Rookie Camp Tryout).

When it comes to NEC prospects with “draftable grades,” the three names that most frequently appear in the abundance of pre-draft literature and listings that exist across the worldwide web are – CCSU QB Jacob Dolegala, Duquesne WR Nehari Crawford and Wagner RB Ryan Fulse.

All three men earned All-NEC First Team distinction at the conclusion of the 2018 regular season.

Should no NEC player hear his name called during the seven-round NFL Draft, the UDFA route has proven fruitful in past years.

In fact, the three longest-tenured NFL players – RMU’s Hank Fraley (142 games), Monmouth’s Miles Austin (129 games) and Wagner’s Julian Stanford (72 games – ACTIVE) – all signed NFL contracts as undrafted free agents.

In the meantime, have a glance at all of the NEC-related pre-draft Twitter chatter that we have laid out below…

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Dolegala and Crawford Appear in NEC-Related Pre-Draft Press Clippings

Quarterback Jacob Dolegala and receiver Nehari Crawford both played their way to All-NEC First Team honors last fall. Now, they are trying to find their way into the National Football League.

Crawford kicked off the pre-draft process by playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, one of three major national all-star games for seniors.

While Dolegala didn’t earn a major ASG invite, the 6-foot-6 signal caller was destined to emerge as a NFL Draft prospect due to his physical traits and throwing motion.

Crawford and Dolegala drew positive reviews from their pro day workouts and both could hear their names called on Day 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville.

Both men were also the subject of feature stories from local news outlets. Check out the headlines below…

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