Any good NFL franchise knows that to sustain any kind of success on the field, they have to be successful in the league’s annual draft.
That means scouting the college ranks year-round in anticipation of confirming which top-ranked prospect is the real deal—or finding what sets apart that next hidden gem from the rest of the competition.
This year’s seven-round, 32-team event will feature more than 200 picks in total (256, including all supplemental picks) yet hundreds more will be anticipating their name being called.
One of those is Marshall outside linebacker Neville Hewitt. Hewitt, who was Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 has seen his stock surge of late, despite not getting an invite to the NFL’s combine.
“It only made me work harder to show everyone what I can do on my Pro Day,” said Hewitt in a recent interview with the Epoch Times.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker had 15 teams present at his Pro Day and talked to scouts from the Bills and Colts.
Although nothing is certain until the NFL calls your name, Hewitt has been listed as high as a second-round pick by NDT Scouting, though the scouting site lists him likely as a third-round value.
Until he’s picked though, Hewitt follows his humble, daily schedule. “Get up, thank God for another day, workout, go to class, workout again, get on my knees and thank God for allowing me to make it through another day.”
Hewitt’s skill and humbleness aren’t the only things he has going for him as he looks for a career at the next level. “I think he plays at all times 100 miles an hour,” said his agent Dave Schuman. “He has a unique ability to find the ball, get their in a hurry, and complete the play, by bringing down his opponent with authority.”
And although Hewitt didn’t star on a Power Five school, Marshall has had its share of pro success. Former first-round picks of the Thundering Herd include Randy Moss (1998), Chad Pennington (2000), and Byron Leftwich (2003).
Of late, the school has had players selected in each of the last three drafts including second-round picks in 2012 (Vinny Curry) and 2013 (Aaron Dobson).
But Hewitt, who tries to emulate Ray Lewis on the field, isn’t planning to dance like the future Hall-of-Famer Lewis when his name is called. “I’m not celebrating. I’m going to get my mind right to go to work,” said Hewitt. “I’ll celebrate once I’m done playing.”
Maybe that’s what sets him apart.