Norman White has had most of the press, Villanova's official number-one wide receiver in both 2010 and 2012 impressed scouts as a junior with his ex-basketball-player athleticism and was expected to land on multiple NFL team draft boards this month. White may be the biggest name among this year's class of football graduates, but he isn't the only one vying for a job in the league.
While some of Villanova's most famous football graduates were picked in the draft (Mike Siani being the last first-rounder), undrafted players like Brian Finneran, Ray Ventrone, Darrel Young and Ross Ventrone have also carved out important roles for themselves along with lengthy careers. Even if their names aren't called at Radio City, then, this year's crop of Villanova gridiron athletes will stay by the phone, waiting for their chance.
White saw his stock drop as a senior, after being sidelined for a season with a lis franc injury. When he returned as a redshirt senior, he was the favorite target once again, but in an offense that preferred to advance the ball on the ground. Without the gaudy numbers that were expected of him, White fell off of the NFL's hot-list.
At his pro-day workouts, White reportedly ran a 4.67 time in the 40-yard dash — slower that the 4.4s and 4.5s that NFL teams would ideally look for in a receiver with deep threat potential. Still, White has displayed a set of good hands and crisp execution on his routes. He has great height at the position, checking in at 6'3", and has the strength to block downfield for the running game. Those factors should get him a shot to head into an NFL camp this summer to prove himself against the elite professionals.
Kenny Miles wasn't as big a factor on the gridiron at Villanova as White, but he may be considered the better prospect at wide receiver. After a great performance at his pro-day and at a regional combine event, Miles was invited to the NFL's super-regional combine in Dallas. There, he ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, put up a 32.5-inch vertical jump and completed the 3-cone drill in 6.69 seconds.
Even Miles isn't expected to be drafted, however. Miles should also ultimately earn a spot in camp this summer with a team in need of a few good targets or perhaps some help on special teams. His good combine performances will likely push him onto a few GM's Saturday and Sunday phone lists.
Inside linebacker Devon Bridges will also be making a case for a spot on an NFL roster as well, and was the subject of a Washington Post write-up about his NFL dreams. Bridges led the team last season with 10.5 tackles for loss, being named to the second-team all-conference in the CAA in the process. He ran a 4.8 in the 40 yard dash at a regional combine workout in Baltimore along with 18 reps on the 225-pound bench press, and he has posted personal-bests of 515 pounds in the deadlift and 495 pounds in the squat. There isn't much expectation that he will be drafted this weekend, but the Villanova linebacker hopes to land an undrafted free agent (UDFA) deal, or an invite to workout at a rookie minicamp.
Other Villanova Football hopefuls:
- Eric Loper - Loper started at corner as a sophomore before moving to safety as a junior and back to cornerback this fall, when the Wildcats needed help at that spot. He projects to be a better prospect at the free safety position at the next level, and he is also used to playing on special teams as well. Grade: UDFA/Try-out
- Marlon Johnson - The 6'3", 256-pound defensive lineman was a big part of the Wildcat's defensive success over the last four years. At his pro-day he ran a 5.21 40-yard dash, posted a 30-inch vertical jump, and did 13 reps on the bench press. Grade: Try-out
- Ronnie Akins - A tremendous performer for the Wildcats at Safety, he seemed to always be near the action on defense and made his share of big plays. He recorded a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash and a 35-inch vertical jump at Villanova's pro-day. Grade: UDFA/Try-out