While Leonte Carroo is likely to be drafted in the early to middle rounds in the upcoming NFL Draft, there are several other former Rutgers players continuing to prepare and workout for teams as well. Many NFL hopefuls from Rutgers had their first chance this offseason to impress at Rutgers Pro Day in March, which we covered here. For some, the opportunities are growing as the draft approaches on the last weekend of April.
Last week, the New York Jets and the New York Giants held their local pro days and Rutgers was well represented. The former scarlet knights who participated for both organizations were Carroo, Quentin Gause, Savon Huggins, Keith Lumpkin, Kaiwan Lewis, Steve Longa, and Sam Bergen. Running back Paul James attended the Giants pro day while kicker Kyle Federico and Punter Joey Roth attended the Jets pro day. This article goes into detail about the differences in the two days with feedback from Lumpkin, Lewis, and Longa.
Aside from the local pro days, several draft prospects are gaining interest and working out for multiple NFL teams. Today the Chargers are holding a private workout for three former scarlet knights on campus.
To tie it all up: LB Steve Longa, OL Keith Lumpkin and RB Paul James will workout for the #Chargers tomorrow at Rutgers.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) April 12, 2016
Steve Longa was the only other Rutgers player besides Carroo who was invited to the NFL combine in February. His results are here. He was also scheduled to participate in the Philadelphia Eagles pro day last week as well. Longa left Rutgers with a year left of eligibility, but after three consecutive seasons of 100+ tackles, he felt ready to make the jump to the NFL. Some considered it a gamble.
Hopefully, Longa impresses in individual team workouts and does get drafted in the middle rounds. CBS sports ranks Longa as the 26th best linebacker available and projects him as a 7th round pick or as priority free agent. The Chargers scheduled today's workout with him first, before adding Lumpkin and James. It would appear they have serious interest in the athletic linebacker to send staff across the country to work him out in the bubble today. Longa discusses the process with Ryan Dunleavy here.
Today is also big for Lumpkin in working out for the Chargers, as he was not invited to the NFL combine, That was a surprise, considering the 6'7" and 320 pound left tackle started 38 games for Rutgers and had a solid career. He is working hard to make the league and talked about his combine snub with Keith Sargeant here. It would be great to see Lumpy drafted in the late rounds. Regardless, his size will probably lead to multiple free agent offers if he is not drafted.
Fullback Sam Bergen led all former Rutgers players with 28 bench presses at pro day, and has garnered comparisons to San Francisco 49ers great Tom Rathman. Fullback is not a position many NFL team employ anymore, but Bergen is likely to get a serious look from those that do. It helps that former Rutgers fullback Michael Burton had a solid rookie last season with the Detroit Lions. It's most likely he would get an opportunity as a free agent to participate at a team's minicamp this spring, with the chance of being invited to training camp in July.
Kaiwan Lewis is profiled below by our friends at SB Nation's Giants site. He also recently worked out at South Carolina's pro day, where Lewis played before coming to Rutgers last season as a graduate transfer. He isn't projected to be drafted and will also most likely be looking for minicamp opportunities after the draft is complete.
Quentin Gause has been working out at Go Parabolic along with Longa in preparation for the draft. He is starting to gain interest from several teams. He is currently not projected to be drafted but it is possible he is selected in the late rounds. Hopefully, worst case he is signed as a priority free agent after the draft.
We wish all former Rutgers players well as they prepare for the upcoming NFL draft. We will have full coverage here at On The Banks leading up to the draft, which begins on April 28th.