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2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl rosters: Defensive NFL Draft prospects

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Niners Nation's NFL Draft writer Jake Narayan highlights players on the defensive side of the ball to watch out for in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

The 2015 college football regular season and post-season have come and gone, which means the NFL draft season is upon us; therefore, let the uncontrolled giddiness commence! In the next two weeks, three college football all-star games will help NFL talent evaluators, draft analysts, and couch GM's decipher the best of the best senior prospects in this years' draft class. For those selected few seniors, it's their last chance to play collegiate football competitively against quality talent, where iron sharpens iron in hopes of increasing a players' draft stock or create a memorable and lasting blip on an NFL teams' radar.

The first two college football all-star games in the slate are the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and East-West Shrine Game (both played on January 23rd). We are going to take a look at the rosters for both games, starting with the Collegiate Bowl. Players from both rosters will be coached under the tutelage of NFL guidance with Mike Holmgren coaching Team American and Mike Martz coaching Team National. Today, we take a look at a couple of standout players on the offensive side of the ball from each squad.

Jatavis Brown, OLB, Akron

No. 1, 5'11, 218 lbs

Brown is by far one of the most underrated prospects I have seen entering the draft this year. His stock is definitely on the way up, but I feel teams are not giving Brown enough credit for the damage he does on the field. For starters, when you take a look at the film, Brown stands out to you entirely just because of his relentlessness and energy he brings every single down. His ability to scrape down the line and deliver a punishing blow is one of the best facets of his game. Brown's size and speed combination should allow him to fit in nicely on a starting lineup in the NFL. He is also excellent when sent on blitzes, which he is often asked to do. Brown earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors for his 2015 campaign. He recorded an astonishing 116 tackles (19.5 for loss), 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and one INT.  Not a bad year if you ask me.

Projection: 5th-6th

Kyle Kragen, DE, Cal

No. 13, 6'2, 245 lbs

Kragen's instincts are no question, considering his dad Greg Kragen sported 14 years in the NFL. The son of the former defensive lineman has a lot to like about him as a pro prospect. Kyle shows football intelligence (he goes to Cal) by knowing where to set up according to the formation of the offense, and continually pushing runs inside. His strength makes up for often retaining bad leverage to swim past an offensive lineman. Kragen has good hand use and acquires the speed to make a play on the football even when the ball carrier is behind him. Kragen's draft stock is low mainly on the account of him being slow off of the line. He shows very little explosion when the ball is snapped, resulting in being the last DL out of his stance quite often.

Projection: 7th

Boomer Mays, LB, NIU

No. 45, 6'0, 244 lbs

Mays was an all-around stud this year for Northern Illinois. The 6-foot, 244-pound redshirt senior dominated the MAC with 92 total tackles (4.5 for loss), one INT, and a forced fumble across 14 games. Mays shows great discipline by not coming out of his stance before the ball is snapped. Mays is also a sure tackler, and is not afraid to fill a hole and get his nose dirty (best part of his game). Despite looking stiff at times, he has the ability to drop into the seam and cover a receiver or tight end. One area for Mays to improve on his sideline-to-sideline speed. This is a fix by losing some of his bulk. At the next level, Boomer looks to be a 3-4 ILB.

Projection: 6th-7th