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The Case For Kain Colter's NFL Chances

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Former Northwestern quarterback and player's rights leader Kain Colter could get a shot in the NFL as a receiver and undrafted free agent. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.
Former Northwestern quarterback and player's rights leader Kain Colter could get a shot in the NFL as a receiver and undrafted free agent. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter isn't the most popular person among NU administrators and coaches right now. His efforts to unionize the Northwestern football team have at the very least been a headache for them and could very well be revolutionary.

The satirical news organization “The Onion” published a somewhat funny piece the other day about how the NFL is relieved none of the trouble-making Northwestern football players are good enough to play at the next level.

Of course, the irony is that their leader, Mr. Colter, just might be good enough. He's not a pro quarterback, but he may be a good receiver down the line. Northwestern's utilization of Colter during his college career was interesting to say the least. It seemed like they didn't know what to do with him at times. Was he a full-time quarterback? Was he a receiver? Should he pass? Should he run? Colter could do it all, but not all at once, which made him feel like an asset that never was fully utilized.

Truth be told, I am terrible at projecting how someone will fair in the NFL. I thought Pat White would succeed. So to get an expert's opinion, I reached out to Football.com's NFL Draft Senior Editor David Seigerman. Seigerman thinks Colter will get a shot as an undrafted free agent.

“Colter is a smooth, instinctive athlete without a position. In no one's imagination (including his own) is he an NFL quarterback,” Seigerman said. “Maybe he takes a Wildcat snap or two there, but he has to make a roster first. Right now, I'm not sure he shows enough promise as a receiver to be drafted.”

That's the key question: His ability to make the transition to full time wide receiver will be critical to any success in the NFL. There's such a small sample size due to the fact he was often taking snaps from center in college. No one really knows what his potential is at wideout.

For what it's worth, I don't think the union situation will hurt Colter's status. He's going to get a shot one way or another. If anything, it shows he's a leader who can motivate others to follow him into battle, whether it be on or off the field.

A bigger concern for Colter may be his durability, or lack thereof. He was constantly getting banged up in college. Part of that is due to his style of play; Colter is a max-effort type guy who isn't afraid to take risks on the field. It will help immeasurably that he can focus on playing receiver in the NFL as quarterback is a much more demanding, and dangerous, position.

Despite not seeing him as a likely draft pick, Seigerman is still optimistic about his chances of catching the attention of coaches at the next level.

“His athleticism and leadership will appeal to coaches, and the many ways he has the potential of being used will turns the heads of any coaching staffs that value versatility,” Seigerman said. “He could learn to play slot receiver, he could return kicks and learn to play on coverage units. If he gets to an NFL camp — and I would guess he will — Colter will intrigue coaches, and they'll try to find the different ways they could get the ball into his hands a couple of times a week.”

One team that might be wise to take a good look at Colter is the Seattle Seahawks. This is an organization that has done a phenomenal job picking up overlooked, underrated players late in the NFL draft and in free agency. He also fills a need as the Seahawks could use a few more receivers. Colter has a chance to be the homeless man's Percy Harvin, which is still a solid contributor in the NFL. Colter's versatility, leadership and intelligence could turn into a nice career at the next level, whether he's selected in the draft or not.