The Vigil brothers always have been close, including being college teammates, rarely fought and now Nick is hoping to fulfill his dream of reaching the NFL, just like Zach did last year when he earned a spot on the Miami Dolphins roster.
Despite a stellar career at Utah State University, Zach went undrafted last year, but Nick quickly dismisses the notion that getting drafted would give him bragging rights over his brother.
“No bragging rights,” Nick quickly replied. “I’ll tell you what, he’s amazing and the work he’s put in, he deserves so much credit because everyone knows how hard it is to be an undrafted free agent and to make a team and for him to do that, there’s no bragging rights in any right mind because he just proved that he should have been drafted and he was overlooked.”
As it turns out, Vigil is one four prospects at the 2016 combine with family ties to current or former Dolphins players. There’s also Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, son of former defensive lineman John Bosa; Arizona wide receiver Cayleb Jones, son of former Dolphins linebacker Robert Jones; and USC linebacker Su’a Cravens, who is a first cousin of Dolphins tight end
Of the four, Bosa is considered clearly the best prospect. In fact, he’s considered among the top prospects available, period.
This is what Bosa said when he was asked what he’ll bring to the NFL that draft him: “I think I bring the best pass rusher, the best defensive lineman in the country. I’m obviously coming to the team that drafts me to help them win and help them eventually make it to the Super Bowl.
“I do believe I’m the best player in the draft. There’s, of course, a lot of amazing players in the draft and it’s going to be up to Tennessee to make that decision. But I think as a player if you don’t believe that, then there’s kind of something wrong.”
Bosa’s stature in the draft is such that he spoke at one of the three podiums inside Lucas Oil Stadium and he drew a large crowd of reporters.
John Bosa’s career with the Dolphins was short-circuited by injuries and he ended up playing only three seasons and finishing with seven sacks. His last season was 1989, six years before Joey was born.
Joey said his father has taken a hands-off approach in terms of the draft preparation, although he has provided assistance nonetheless.
“He’s kind of just let me do my own thing,” Joey said. “I’ve got great people around me. He’s surrounded me with the best agents, the best trainers, with all the best people. I really trust him with everything’s he’s done for me in this process.”
It was quite the opposite for Nick Vigil, who said Zach was instrumental in his decision to declare for the 2016 draft as an underclassman after being a two-time first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection.
“He was a big part of it, a big of the reason I decided to come out,” Nick said. “He was very encouraging to me. He was one of the people who was telling me (to leave early) because he felt like I was ready. He just said, if you feel like you’re ready and you’re in a good spot in your life, I think it’s the right decision for you.”
Nick said Friday he had a formal interview scheduled with the Dolphins. He is projected as a third-day pick (round 4-7) and not surprisingly would love the chance to be reunited with his brother.
“That would be unbelievable if I had an opportunity to play with my brother,” Nick said. “I played with him in college and that was an unbelievable experience. It’d be a dream come true to be able to play with him in the NFL if possible.”
Nick provided on- and off-field similarities and differences between himself and Zach, who appeared in all 16 games and made two starts for the Dolphins as a rookie in 2015. One noticeable difference off the field is Nick’s short hair, quite a contrast to the flowing locks Zach sported throughout his rookie season with the Dolphins.
“I’d say different styles (on the field),” Nick said. “I’d say Zach is a strong, bigger kind of a thumper at linebacker. I’d say I’m maybe a little faster, maybe run around a little more than him. But both styles work.
“I’d say he’s more outgoing. He’s a little more talkative than I am. I’m a little more shy, a little more introverted than he is. So our personalities are a lot different.”
Unlike Bosa, Jones was born before his father ended his playing career.
Robert Jones started 47 of 48 games for the Dolphins in his three seasons with Miami (1998-2000). Jones also played for the Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins during his 10-year career.
Cayleb, whose collegiate career began at the University of Texas, says he was 6 years old when his father joined the Dolphins and remembers well those Miami teams, specifically mentioning quarterbacks Dan Marino and Jay Fiedler.
Jones, who’s also the nephew of longtime Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake, says his favorite player growing up was Michael Irvin.
He explained why he and his brother Isaiah, who will be a senior at East Carolina University next fall, wound up at wide receiver after their father was an NFL linebacker.
“We both play receiver and my youngest brother plays linebacker,” Cayleb said. “My dad always gives us crap for it. I played linebacker when I was little, but got to high school and I was like, I want to touch the ball and score some touchdowns. I played quarterback and eventually moved to wide receiver my junior year.” Cayleb, a bigger wide receiver in the mold of Julio Jones, is projected as a third-day pick. He said his father’s advice heading into the combine was simple.
“Just to come here and take advantage of it,” Cayleb said. “Football is a game of opportunity. He used it to get up out of his situation. It’s a big deal to me and my family that I’m here and I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity I get.”
Cravens is considered a better prospect than either Jones or Vigil, and he has been projected to get drafted as early as the second round.
Cameron is the son of Cravens’ father’s sister. Cravens said the two cousins are close.
“It was kind of quiet this year in Miami, but he’s a great athlete,” Cravens said of Cameron. “Whatever he puts his mind to, I know he’s going to excel in.”
Cravens, the 2012 USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year, was a hybrid safety/linebacker at USC and he arrived at the combine not sure exactly where he would end up playing in the NFL.
After his first round of interviews with NFL teams, he still didn’t know.
“I did about 20 informal interviews and it was half linebacker and half safety,” Cravens said Friday. “They see the versatility. It’ll all depend on what the team wants and I’ll play wherever they put me.”
Bosa also could be facing somewhat of a position change in the NFL, with reports suggesting teams are viewing him as a 3-4 outside linebacker after he played defensive end at Ohio State.
There will be another Bosa at Ohio State next season: younger brother Nick , a five-star recruit out of the St. Thomas Aquinas out of Fort Lauderdale.
Talking about the family legacy, Joey Bosa was asked at the combine how much pressure there would be someday on his future son to also become a first-round pick.
“Never really thought about that,” Joey said. “Got to marry a tall, athletic girl and breed football players, I guess.”