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Mosley, Vainikolo to play in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. — Postseason All-Star games allow players to showcase themselves.  It’s even more important when you are in a Group of 5 conference where not every bright light is on you all the time.  For former Lobos Javon Mosley and Alexander “Moana” Vainikolo, that chance comes this week as both will play Saturday night in the ninth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, held at Rose Bowl in Pasadena.  Game time is 5 p.m. Mountain, and the game can be seen on NFL Network.

Mosley was selected at the end of the season as an offensive lineman, and Vainikolo was added to the roster just last week as a linebacker.  Teammates before, they will be teammates again representing the American roster, coached by former Raiders head man Hue Jackson.  Mosley will be in his customary number 78 for the game, but Vainikolo will be wearing 50, conforming to the NFL numbering policy.  His 30 worn at UNM is available only for defensive backs and running backs.

Last year, Lobo Jalin Burrell played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and turned that into a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.  For Mosley and Vainikolo, both are looking for the same opportunity at a minimum, and at best a third-day draft decision.  UNM”s last draft pick, Jason Sanders, was a seventh round pick of the Miami Dolphins, and he is now the all-time leading in Miami franchise history in terms of field goal percentage at 82.0%.

Mosley graded out very high on PFF (Pro Football Focus) and he was part of an offensive line that was the last in the country to not allow a sack.  In 641 snaps in 2020, Mosley was credited with just one sack allowed which was tied for 11th among all Group of 5 tackles with 600 snaps played.  According to PFF, Vainikolo was the nation’s third-best outside linebacker in terms of rushing the quarterback (among players playing 60% of defensive snaps) and his combined total of sacks, hits and hurries was 20, which was behind just one other outside backer, Amen Ogbongbemiga of Oklahoma State.

Fans in the area wishing to see the Ninth Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl can purchase tickets here.