NFP Prospect Focus: Nick Boyle and Ali Marpet

When I go down to the Senior Bowl, I am always looking to watch the players who were invited from the smaller schools. Such was the case this week, when the North team had Nick Boyle, a big tight end form Delaware and Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman form Division III Hobart. Neither player looked out of place competing against players from Division I schools. In fact, by the end of the week, both players stood out.

Nick Boyle – Tight End – Delaware

Boyle is a fourth-year senior and has been a starter since midway through his freshman year. At 6044 – 267 he has excellent size for the position. He also has long arms and huge hands (33 3/8, 10 5/8). For his size, Boyle is a good athlete. He runs well, has good body control and balance, and is agile. He is well built and plays with good strength. He had good production at Delaware, catching 79 passes for 778 yards and 11 touchdowns his last two seasons.

In the Delaware offense, he most often lines up in tight at a “Y” but usually plays from a 2 point stance. As a blocker, he gets off the ball quickly and has good “pop” on contact. He is able to get movement with his blocks and consistently sustains and finishes blocks. Playing from a two-point stance, he will often look to cut block, something that he won’t be able to do as much of in the NFL.

As a receiver, he shows good initial quickness and gets into his routes quickly. He has good play speed (4.8- 4.80) and shows the ability to get in and out of cuts quickly. He can use his size effectively to shield defenders and has good hands. He consistently catches the ball in his hands and turns to get up field quickly. After the catch, he is a strong runner who can get yards after contact. While not overly elusive, he does run with power and has the instincts to look for and find an open seam.

Nick is much more athletic than many his size and when in the open field, will look to hurdle opponents who try and tackle him low. He did this successfully yesterday at the Senior Bowl, and I also saw the move several times on tape.

The league is gravitating towards the athletic, speedy tight end who can create mismatches in coverage. Still, every team still needs a big strong tight end who can play the “Y” position. Boyle fits that description. He will never be a deep threat, but he can be a consistent possession receiver who moves the chains as well as help the run game as a blocker. While he won’t get drafted in the premium rounds, I can see him being selected in the middle rounds and be productive as a rookie.

Ali Marpet – Offensive Lineman – Hobart

I may be wrong, but Marpet may be the first Hobart player to play in the Senior Bowl. I have gone to the last 31 Senior Bowls, and he is definitely the first one I have seen. Marpet is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter at Hobart. At 6036 – 307, he was their biggest lineman and played left tackle. Having scouted many small school offensive linemen over the years, most big guys like Marpet dominate their level of competition just on sheer size and strength. Many are not that technically sound. Marpet, on the other hand, is a very good technician for a guy who comes from a lower level of competition. He stays low and can use his hands,

Marpet is a good athlete for an offensive lineman. He has good not great NFL size but also has the frame to easily get to 315. While his arm length (32 7/8) is not conducive to playing outside at the NFL, he can easily play guard or even center. Marpet has good feet and plays with bend. He keeps his back straight and stays in balance. He has good initial quickness, comes out of his stance low, and has some snap in his hips when he makes contact. At Hobart, he easily dominated and had no problem knocking opponents off the line of scrimmage. At Mobile this week, he also showed that he could generate movement, especially when he kept his feet moving. I liked that he does a good job keeping his hands inside.

While he played tackle at Hobart, he had no problem adjusting to playing inside. He even took some reps at center, and that may end up being his best position in the NFL. Coming from a school like Hobart, you know that Marpet is intelligent. In most places, the center is the leader of the offensive line and makes all the calls. Marpet has some natural leadership skills.

Going forward, Marpet will be a busy man this spring. He will have a full schedule of working out for NFL coaches during the month of March. Though he is still raw, he is tough and competitive, and I can easily see him being drafted in the middle rounds. He will need a period of adjustment, but I can see him becoming an NFL starter by year two or three of his career. Marpet is an interesting prospect with a lot of upside.

Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe