On-field success has mostly eluded the URI football program on a team-level. It’s a different story at the individual level. The two-win Rams sent three of their former players to last weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine, the most of any team in their subdivision.
No other FCS program has more than one player who was invited to the exclusive event. URI was represented by the wide receiver/cousin duo of Aaron Parker and Isaiah Coulter, as well as offensive lineman Kyle Murphy.
It’s the first time in three years that an FCS program has had multiple players officially work out for NFL scouts at the combine. Jacksonville State was the last team to accomplish that feat. There have only been four total teams since 2000 who can say the same.
The two receivers worked out for scouts last Thursday. Parker told reporters earlier in the week that he had contact with the New England Patriots. With the Patriots in desperate need of help through the air, a senior fresh off a 1,000-yard, nine TD season will surely be on their radar.
As will Murphy, who went through the workouts the following day. The offensive lineman is from Attleboro and has experience playing every position on the line. The Patriots love that kind of versatility and have shown an affinity for local products in previous drafts.
Murphy and Parker had both exhausted their collegiate eligibility prior to declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. Not so for Coulter, who departs URI as a junior. The wide receiver was a second team All-CAA selection this season. He caught 72 passes for 1,039 yards and eight scores. He also ran the 10th-fastest 40 time of any receiver.
The CAA is no stranger to seeing their top players selected to play at the next level. The top FCS conference had three players selected a year ago: Nasir Adderley (Delaware), Oli Udoh (Elon) and Jimmy Moreland (James Madison) all were selected in the first seven rounds of the 2019 draft.
If any of the three URI players earn a selection in 2020, they will become the first URI football player to be drafted since 1986. Center Bob White was selected by the New York Jets in the seventh round, appearing in 28 games in his pro career. Steve Furness is the team’s highest drafted player ever – he went 113th overall in the 1972 draft.
The NFL Draft is in Las Vegas this year, and will be held April 23-25.