On Saturday, former WSU Cougars receiver Dom Williams and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao will put their talents on display at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Los Angeles
Washington State offensive tackle Joe Dahl is widely regarded as the most NFL-ready draft prospect the Cougars have, and he will begin Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alab. next week.
But on Saturday, receiver Dom Williams and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao will put their talents on display at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif (3 p.m. ESPNU).
Williams and Vaeao are both on the National team, which is coached by Mike Martz, the former St. Louis Rams head coach, and for both former Cougs, the week of practice has presented an opportunity to show what they can do against a high level of competition.
Vaeao wasn’t on many people’s radars in the lead up to the 2015 season, but he’s made a name for himself with his strong, consistent play.
Most Read Sports Stories
- UW faces stark decision in USC-UCLA fallout — leave Pac-12 or be content in declining conference
- Analysis: USC and UCLA bolt for Big Ten. So what's next for UW and the rest of the Pac-12?
- Washington State athletics bracing for ripple effect caused by UCLA, USC joining Big Ten
- What's the key for Jarred Kelenic putting Tacoma in his rearview mirror for a return to Mariners? It's in the process
- Megan Rapinoe to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom next week
“Destiny would be WSU’s top prospect behind Joe Dahl,” said Rob Rang, an NFL draft analyst with CBSSports.com. “The more I watched of Washington State this season the more I saw Destiny make plays, and toward the end of the year, saw very clearly that he would be a top prospect.
Vaeao is a 6-foot-4, 298-pound tackle who bounced around from linebacker to defensive end before finally finding a home at the defensive tackle spot this season.
“He’s a naturally powerful player who’s quicker than a lot of Polynesian players. They have the reputation of being strong, powerful guys, and he’s that,” Rang said. “He’s learning to use his hands better, he locates the football well and plays hard.
“That power is going to intrigue teams from the 4-3 to the 3-4 alike. There’s a belief out there that he has a lot of untapped potential.
Vaeao started every game for WSU this season and finished second only to Darryl Paulo with 12 tackles for loss. He also had 4.5 sacks.
Rang sees Vaeao going in the fourth to fifth round range of this year’s NFL draft.
Williams is less of a sure bet.
Even though the 6-foot-2, 200-pound receiver finished his senior season with 75 receptions, 1,040 yards and 11 touchdowns, those stats won’t be enough to guarantee him a draft spot, Rang believes.
“He’s a long strider with some speed, but I see a lot of drops on film,” Rang said. “You have to throw out the numbers given how much WSU throws the ball, and just watch the film and you see a lot of drops.
“A lot of receivers in this class have similar speed and size. He just has to catch the ball more consistently.”