Spring sports were abruptly cancelled across the country to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 as we stopped large gatherings and started practicing social distancing. Just focusing on the impact to collegiate sports, we are left with some unanswered questions because of the sudden sports halt.
As such, this article series looks to discuss some of these unanswered questions and get your take (via a poll at the bottom of the article) on the sports questions that will have to go unanswered on some level since so many sporting events were cancelled.
Question #7 - Which Mountain West Players Are Most Impacted Since the NFL will not Hold a Traditional Rookie Minicamp?
With the 2020 NFL Draft now over, several players have now been drafted into the NFL or signed as an undrafted free agent in the hours after the draft had completed.
Typically, the next step is that NFL teams reach out to remaining players they like to invite to rookie minicamps. Within a couple weeks of the draft, teams hold these rookie minicamps and get a look at the group of rookies. Should one of the invites to the minicamp impress, that player likely gets signed as an additional undrafted free agent. Unfortunately, the same process will not play out in 2020. The NFL has decided that traditional rookie minicamps will not be held.
With that said, I want to take a look at some of the players that were likely minicamp invites that are going to be impacted by the cancellation this year:
Boise State QB - Jaylon Henderson
In our draft projections, everyone pegged Henderson as a minicamp invite. He seems like exactly the sort of player who benefits from a traditional rookie minicamp. Henderson did a great job stepping in at QB for the Broncos in 2019, but the sample size is really small for him as a QB in college. Henderson started his career at the University of Texas - San Antonio. Henderson would never get on the field there as he transferred after a year to Trinity Valley Community College. After success at the JUCO level, Henderson made his way to Boise State. Henderson would play the role of a backup for the Broncos until an injury to Hank Bachmeier and another injury to Chase Cord gave Henderson his opportunity. Henderson started 4 games (winning all of them) for Boise State, including the 2019 Mountain West Championship Game.
Hawaii WR - Cedric Byrd II
Byrd started at Long Beach City College at the JUCO level. In his 2 seasons at Hawaii, Byrd was incredibly productive with his time on the islands. In 2018, Byrd had 79 receptions for 970 yards & 9 TDs. In 2019, Byrd stepped it up even more, finishing with 98 receptions for 1,097 yards & 10 TDs. On top of that, Byrd ran a 4.37 second 40 at his pro day. You’d think the NFL might take a chance on a WR with his speed and productivity. Unfortunately, the 5’9” WR is still waiting for an NFL team to give him a chance at making their roster.
Utah State LB - David Woodward
One of the biggest shockers. David Woodward was one of the best linebackers in the conference over the last couple of years. The junior did not finish the season for the Aggies due to a season ending injury. Still, Woodward declared early for the NFL draft. At 6’2” and 235 lbs, Woodward looked the part of an NFL LB. With his production, it was thought a team would give him a look either by selecting him on Day 3 of the NFL draft or as an undrafted free agent. However, no NFL team called. The biggest concern with Woodward is durability. He has battled concussions and suffered a bad back injury while he was in high school. A chance to go out and show his skills and (more importantly) health at a rookie minicamp might have really helped Woodward convince an NFL team to take a chance on him.
Nevada LB - Gabe Sewell
Gabe was a productive player for the Wolf Pack over his 4 seasons, finishing with 276 career tackles. Sewell looks the part at 6’0” & 245 lbs. As far as size and production, Sewell compares pretty favorably to Cassh Maluia (who was drafted in the 6th round). Perhaps Sewell was also hurt when Nevada had to cancel their pro day since Sewell never got his day in front of the scouts like some other players did.
Wyoming K - Cooper Rothe
The Wyoming Cowboy was considered someone an NFL team might want to bring into camp to provide some kicking depth. Rothe was the Special Teams Player of the Year in the Mountain West in 2018. He played in the 2020 East/West Shrine Game back in January and participated in the week of practice associated with the game. It seems Rothe was on the radar as an NFL prospect. Unfortunately, Rothe was another player that didn’t get a call this weekend. Rothe was possibly hurt by a bit of an uneven senior season as he was just 68.2% (15/22) on his field goal attempts in 2019.
So what do you think?
Which Mountain West Player Was Most Impacted Since the NFL will not Hold a Traditional Rookie Minicamp?
This poll is closed
Cedric Byrd II
Also, please leave your thoughts in the comments below about which MWC players you feel are most impacted by the NFL’s cancellation of traditional rookie minicamps.