When the NFL draft comes around the experts come out and try to predict where each college athlete will end up. For the second consecutive draft the Temple Owls have a couple of players hoping to hear their name called from the podium.
Last year, for the first time since Alshermond Singeteon was drafted in 1997 in the fourth round, Temple had a student athlete get drafted in the NFL. That player was offensive lineman Mathias Nkwenti, who was chosen in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This year defensive end Raheem Brock waits to see if his dream to play professional football is fulfilled. He, along with cornerback Chonn Lacey, will watch this weekend’s draft attentively.
Other former Temple players have been working out hard since the last game in hopes to make NFL camps if they are not drafted. They are fullbacks Jason McKie and Harold Jackson, cornerback Dante Coles, defensive end Afeiff Staples, and defensive tackle Russell Newman.
Brock has already received news from many scouts that he has a good chance of getting drafted, and many publications have predicted the defensive end as a fourth to fifth round draft pick. Brock has been working with a speed coach since the end of the season and has been attending the annual NFL draft combines.
At the combines he got to meet with NFL scouts and was told several times that teams have an interest in the 6-foot-3, 267-pound lineman. Considered by some to be too undersized to be a pro defensive end, they had Brock work out at both defensive end and outside linebacker at the combines.
Brock said he needs to improve on his pass rushing technique.
“In my pass rush I need a second move to add to my speed outside. I am going to be working at that,” he said.
Brock said he will play anywhere a pro team wants him to play.
“I don’t mind playing [any position], as long as I am there. I need to make the team. I feel like I can play outside linebacker. When I first came here I played some outside linebacker as well as tight end,” he said.
Brock, along with teammate and draft hopeful Lacey also played in the Blue-Gray game at the end of the season for senior players hoping to make it to the NFL.
The combine was a very positive experience for Brock as it got his name out to scouts, who told him what his strengths are as a player. He is said to be an explosive player with good hands, using them to gain leverage — all positives that will help his draft position. The only negative remark that has been said about Brock is his size in comparison to the other defensive end’s available in the draft.
Brock has been through a lot in his Temple career. He came into the school under his father’s legacy, running back Zachary Dixon, who played for the team 1977-78 and made it to the NFL.
In Brock’s first season he had to sit out as a proposition 48 student, meaning he only was able to play for four years. He later gained eligibility for a fifth season by graduating on time.
“It feels great; that was my main goal by going to college to get my degree,” said Brock of graduating. “I wanted to do that before making it up to the pros. Finishing that first goal makes it a big accomplishment.”
Improving on his statistics each of the following years, Brock started 33 games, made 160 tackles (87 solos), 11 sacks, 30 stops behind the line of scrimmage, and 35 quarterback pressures.
Brock and his former teammates will sit in their houses on draft day, with the comfort of their families, to see if their pro football dreams comes true.
Matt Sitkoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org