Brandon Hepburn, NFL Draft hopeful, offers smarts, character
Sure, NFL scouts might have some concerns about drafting Brandon Hepburn this week. His intelligence and character are not among them.
The North Rockland High School alum might very well cure cancer after all.
Hepburn, 23, an inside linebacker who played at Florida A&M, already has graduated with a degree in biochemistry, is a member of the National Honor Society and even discovered a way to kill certain cancer cells in rats using copper-loaded nanoparticles.
He’s also a devout Christian who has served as president of Florida A&M’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and he has volunteered at a homeless shelter.
“Here’s a role model who is right in the midst of [his teammates],” Rattlers coach Joe Taylor said of Hepburn in an interview with NCAA.org. “He’s a perfect example of what can happen once you put your mind to it.”
Hepburn’s draft stock has snowballed since he amassed 132 tackles and eight sacks as a senior at Florida A&M. He was invited to play at the Raycom All-Star Classic in Montgomery, Ala., where he batted down a pass, intercepted it and then had a long return. That helped land Hepburn an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder then had an impressive workout at Florida A&M’s Pro Day, when 21 teams showed up to watch him run the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds. The Carolina Panthers sent three coaches to the event.
Hepburn is projected as a late-round pick or to be signed as a rookie free agent.
“He's a very smart player who can figure out a way to get the job done,” Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune wrote of Hepburn. “He was pretty productive against a lower level of competition, but he has to prove he can do it against NFL opponents. “