Potential NFL Players from the 2011 Temple Owls: A Fan's View

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As the NFL draft quickly approaches, the 2011 Temple Owls had several players on its roster who could be drafted, and several others who should at least get a sniff at an NFL training camp as rookie free agents.

As a six-year season ticket holder for Temple Owls football, I have seen every home game these guys have played (and even several road games), so I can tell you that while the general public probably hasn't heard of most of them, I have been rooting for them quite vigorously since they were freshmen.

Here are 12 players from Temple University that I will give a brief summary of, and their chances of being at an NFL training camp site once August rolls around:

Bernard Pierce (running back)

- Bernard Pierce is quite possibly the best player to ever suit up for the cherry and white, and is probably the single biggest reason that Temple was asked to rejoin the Big East for the upcoming season. While most experts are predicting Pierce to go somewhere between the third to fifth round, whichever team is lucky enough to draft him will have a very special player on their hands. Even though I am a little biased as a Temple fan, I would not be surprised if Pierce became the best running back taken in this draft, and makes multiple trips to Hawaii for future Pro Bowls.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 100 percent

Chance of being drafted: 100 percent

Evan Rodriguez (tight end/fullback) - Originally recruited by West Virginia, Rodriguez transferred to Temple and had three very successful seasons at Temple, consistently getting better every year. Rodriguez performed well at the combine, but is seen more as a fullback in the eyes of most NFL scouts. Rodriguez has good hands, so I could easily see him turn into a player who has 30-40 catches a year, but it depends on how well he will be able to pick up his blocking assignments.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 100 percent

Chance of being drafted: 75 percent

Tahir Whitehead (linebacker)

- Whitehead was the defensive leader of the Owls last year and was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 13.5. Whitehead is a very fundamentally sound tackler and was very good at getting off of blocks to finish his tackles. Whitehead is a very smart player and looks like he could be hanging around the NFL for years to come.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 100 percent

Chance of being drafted: 75 percent

Adrian Robinson (defensive end/outside linebacker) - Unfortunately for Robinson, his college career peaked in 2009 as a sophomore when he led the MAC with 13 sacks, and was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. In 2010, Muhammad Wilkerson surpassed him as Temple's most dominant lineman, as other teams were consistently double teaming him, freeing up Wilkerson to be the defensive monster that made him a first round pick of the New York Jets last year. In 2011, Robinson had a stellar year and tied Whitehead for the team lead with tackles for loss at 13.5, and he was a first-team MAC defensive selection for the third straight year. If given the chance, Robinson should be a solid starter in the NFL, maybe not Pro Bowl level, but a nice seven- to nine-year career could well be in his future.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 100 percent

Chance of being drafted: 50 percent

Derek Dennis (offensive line) - Dennis is just a big guy and definitely has the size to play in the NFL, as he is listed at 6 feet 5 inches, 328 pounds. At Temple, Dennis helped Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown lead the seventh best rushing attack in all of the NCAA last season, while also minimizing the number of sacks against. Dennis will be more of a project in the NFL, but I could easily see him making a roster or being on some team's practice squad.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 100 percent

Chance of being drafted: 50 percent

Pat Boyle (offensive line) - Like Dennis, Boyle has the size to play in the NFL, as he is listed at 6-5, 320 pounds. Boyle started at left tackle in 2011 and did a good job of protecting the quarterback, enough so that he was a first team All-MAC selection. Boyle might not have the speed the NFL is looking for, but he should at least get the invite to attend some team's training camp.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 80 percent

Chance of being drafted: 20 percent

Wayne Tribue (offensive line) - Tribue was another one of Temple's offensive line monsters listed at 6-4, 324 pounds. Tribue is a little faster than the others on the line, but didn't get as many accolades as his line mates. Tribue has a very high football IQ and was a National Honor Society member in high school, which should be good enough to earn his invitation into some team's training camp.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 75 percent

Chance of being drafted: 10 percent

Morkeith Brown (defensive end) - Unfortunately for Brown, the biggest knock against him is that he is 27 years old because after high school (class of 2003) Brown enlisted in the Army, and he was deployed to Afghanistan for 14 months. Brown didn't start playing football at Temple until 2008, and was a tight end before he was moved to the defensive line last season. Brown is a very raw player, but his age will most likely work against him for most teams. The biggest thing working in Brown's favor was he served his country, and that alone will probably be enough for some team to at least sign him for a couple of weeks in August.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 75 percent

Chance of being drafted: 5 percent

Kevin Kroboth (safety) - Kroboth has decent speed for a safety, but isn't terribly big or do anything that makes him stand out from other safeties that will be drafted. However, where Kroboth has a small chance at making a team will be with the intangibles he brings to the table, i.e. special teams. Nobody thought much of Steve Tasker as a regular player, either, and he turned it into a 12-year career. So if Kroboth makes it in the NFL, this will be where he earns his keep.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 60 percent

Chance of being drafted: 2 percent

Stephen Johnson (linebacker) - Johnson was the most improved Owl on defense in 2011 and was was a tackling machine last year, finishing with 123 tackles. What clearly works against Johnson was he didn't play his first two years in college, and you don't find many players in the NFL who didn't play all four years in at least some capacity. Johnson at least deserves a look by the NFL for his statistics alone from last season, but is most likely another player who better learn some special teams, if he ever wants a shot to make it in the NFL.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 50 percent

Chance of being drafted: 1 percent

Rod Streater (wide receiver) - What hurt Streater most about last year was that Temple was such a run-heavy team that the receivers rarely had a chance to shine. Streater had very good hands at Temple, and was a big play receiver in both his years (Streater was a junior college transfer), while averaging over 18 yards per catch in his career. Streater will be another guy who will most likely get invited to a camp, but will need to impress on the special teams.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 50 percent

Chance of being drafted: 1 percent

Kee-ayre Griffin (defensive back) - Griffin started his career at running back for the Owls, but in his sophomore year, Bernard Pierce became the starter and Griffin was relegated to third string behind Matt Brown as well. Griffin switched to defensive back for his last two years and played well, but looked lost at times on the field in his first year on defense. In his final year, Griffin made major improvements as a defensive back being that he is an incredible athlete, I just don't know if that will be good enough for him to get an invite to training camp.

Chance of being at an NFL training camp site: 33 percent

Chance of being drafted: 0 percent

Last year, Temple had 10 players who got invited to training camps, and I could easily see that many (and possibly more) this year. However, when all was said and done last year, only three Temple players made an actual roster (Muhammad Wilkerson, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Darius Morris). The 2011 Temple Owls might go down as one of the most talented teams Temple has ever had, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Temple have over a dozen alumni in the NFL come September, which would be the most they have had in quite a long time.

Gabe Venit is a graduate of Temple (class of '99) and a season ticket holder for the last 6 years for Temple Owls football.

Sources:

http://www.owlsports.com/roster.aspx?roster=156&path=football

http://www.owlsports.com/custompages/STATS/FB2011/teamcume.htm

http://www.mac-sports.com/News/tabid/969/Article/139217/MAC-Names-2011-All-MAC-Teams--Post-Season-Awards.aspx

http://espn.go.com/nfl/college/_/letter/t

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/stats

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