JANUARY 24, 2018
Last week, CB Parry Nickerson and DE Ade Aruna were in Pasadena, CA for the NFLPA Bowl as they showcased their talent for NFL Scouts.
Rick Serritella, who has run NFLDraftBible.com since 2002, got a first hand look out west at both players' prospects for the next stage. Rick runs a great site, and you can find him on Twitter here too for scouting updates.
We're checking in with him to see how things went.
FTW: We were following your coverage of the NFLPA Bowl from Pasadena, so big thanks for all your work. Tulane had two seniors in attendance from our Defense: Ade Aruna and Parry Nickerson.
Overall, were those two prospects on your radar, and what did you expect from them coming in?
Rick, NFLDB: Coming into the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Parry Nickerson was one of the more underrated players based on his game film. His footwork and coverage abilities were that of a starting caliber cornerback, so it was to see that his skillset matched up when evaluating him in person.
While my study of Ade Aruna was not as in-depth leading into the all-star event, I was aware of his raw athleticism and size, he was viewed as a borderline draftable prospect.
FTW: You tweeted that Parry may be the best player on either roster coming into the week. What did you see out of him in California?
Rick, NFLDB: What we saw on film, was confirmed in practice throughout the week from Nickerson. He showed a smooth, fluid backpedal, great lateral movement going through cone drills and effortless change of direction.
When it came time to one-on-one drills, he proved more than capable covering the top wide outs in attendance and later showcased his ability to play effectively in a zone scheme during scrimmage action.
FTW: Aruna is really intriguing. For one, he's a tremendous athlete who has upside from starting football late in life.
On top of that, he had to do some things this year out of his natural fit to make up for personnel changes. How did his week go at showcasing his ability?
Rick, NFLDB: What scouts saw was an extremely athletic, lengthy player who oozes with potential.
The one term thrown around by scouts when discussing him was ‘raw’ but when you see him flash that burst on the edge, you see a lump of clay that NFL coaches are going to love to mold. He made himself some money during one-on-one trench warfare with quickness and active hands.
While he wasn’t asked to get after the quarterback a lot this past year, he certainly possesses the skill-set to play end in a 4-3 scheme. His best football is ahead of him.
FTW: Do you have a sense of where you would mock Nickerson and Aruna today? Do you have a feel for any teams where there could be an interest and fit?
Rick, NFLDB: As soon as day three rolls around, Nickerson will be a huge value if selected in the mid-rounds, which is where he currently projects. If he doesn’t get invited out to Indianapolis, it will be hard to boost his draft stock significantly more.
As for Aruna, he’s also expected to have to wait until pro day to perform in front of NFL scouts. Based on the agility and movement that was on display in Pasadena, expect him to test very well and work himself into consideration as a late day three developmental pick—he just possesses too much size/speed too pass up.
FTW: Beyond those two, do you have any other Wave players on your radar as potential picks?
I've been surprised that Dontrell Hilliard has not gotten more attention yet as one of our most productive backs in history, reminiscent of Orleans Darkwa a couple years back. LB Rae Juan Marbley had an excellent senior year. Is anyone jumping out to you?
Rick, NFLDB: With such a deep running back class this year, a player like Hilliard will be overlooked, simply due to the fact that there are many backs available with his measureables and he isn’t going to wow you in any one particular area. He does have the Green Wave running back lineage working in his favor, in addition to a highly productive career. He’ll need to test well to ensure he gets a look as an undrafted free agent.
Rae Juan Marbley will be battling the ‘undersized’ label. One player worth noting would be Jarrod Franklin, with his starting experience, active hands and ability to make plays in the backfield, he is also an undrafted free agent candidate.