Recent top five draft picks Carson Wentz (North Dakota State), Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and Blake Bortles (Central Florida) are recent examples of the fact that the NFL is full of "late bloomers," players who slipped through the cracks of big-time recruiting only to emerge as dominant players at the lower levels and become highly regarded prospects.
Though he won't join these players as early first round picks, Cappa is among this year's top small school prospects.
Recruiters from Division I teams failed to recognize his upside as a then-240 pound offensive lineman. After redshirting in 2013, however, Cappa has emerged as one of the most dominant blockers at any level of college football, earning recognition as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference's Offensive Lineman of the Year after each of the past four seasons, an All-American his last three years and becoming the first player in school history to ever be invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl.
Scouts who traveled through Humboldt State believe Cappa is the real deal and will perform well against the top talent in Mobile. A positive week there, along with Cappa's durability and consistency on tape, could earn him Top 100 consideration in the 2018 NFL draft.
Started three seasons at Dublin HS ... Gained First Team All-Diablo Foothill Athletic League honors as a defensive lineman in 2011 ... Moved to offense in 2012, and was a First Team All-League selection at tackle... Redshirted at Humboldt State in 2013...
With the possible exception of his shoulder-length haircut, Cappa certainly look the part of an NFL offensive lineman with a broad-shouldered, well-distributed frame including at least adequate arm length and a thick lower half. Cappa shows good initial quickness at left tackle, alternately sliding laterally to mirror in pass protection or firing off the ball to create movement as a run blocker. He is not a dancing bear but shows good balance and agility blocking on the island, handling the swiftest edge rushers the GNAC threw at him and beating linebackers to the spot when blocking on the move. Though his pad level can get a bit high, Cappa shows good technique otherwise, keeping his knees bent, butt down and rarely over-extending himself. He provides a powerful initial punch to stun opponents and shows a vice-like grip to latch onto and control, simply rag-dolling some defensive ends. Cappa's power shows up in his ability to drive defenders off the line of scrimmage and he looks to finish opponents, getting shoves in through the echo of the whistle. -- Rob Rang 12/26/2017
Comes with obvious level of competition questions and may struggle with the greater speed he will face in Mobile and in the NFL. Does not appear to have the elite foot speed to remain at left tackle in the NFL and has not played other positions at Humboldt State. Shows the strength and nastiness to move inside but got himself in trouble at times on tape by losing the leverage battle. A bit tall for guard and will need work in maintaining his pad level if called upon to play inside. - Rob Rang 12/26/2017
Garrett Gilkey, Buccaneers. Like Cappa, Gilkey was a small school star (Chadron State) at left tackle who was ultimately pushed inside in the NFL. Due to his brawling playing style, Cappa projects better there than Gilkey, a seventh round pick by Cleveland in 2013 who spent three seasons in the NFL, most recently with Tampa Bay.
IN OUR VIEW: Cappa was a man amongst boys in the GNAC, routinely tossing and pancaking opponents to provide stellar pass protection easy running lanes for teammates. How he fares in Mobile will play a huge role in his final projection. Aiding his cause is the fact that Cappa possesses the size, physicality and nasty temperament needed to play inside.