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Topic: fox news article- 50 draft prospects

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fox news article- 50 draft prospects
« on: April 25, 2017, 08:04:37 AM »

1. The Refugee: Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan

Born amid a civil war in Sierra Leone, Darboh became an orphan when he was 2-years-old and both his parents were killed. With a group of family members, Darboh traveled by foot to Gambia, then Senegal, where they found refuge. In 2001, he moved to Des Moines, Iowa where he was sponsored by a family who eventually adopted him. On the field, he played in Michigan’s pro style passing attack, and his length (6′ 2″ with 32 5/8-inch arms) is a plus.

2. The Project QB: Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech

Evans believes he can be the “next Dak Prescott.” That might take time. NFL evaluators were universally surprised when Evans declared early, which doesn’t bode well. A junior college transfer, Evans started one year for the Hokies, posted a 10-4 record and impressive numbers (3,456 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 846 rushing yards on 204 carries). However the one word most associated with 6′ 3″, 232-pound Evans: raw.

•THE COLLEGE COLUMN ON THE QBS:  Mitch Trubisky | Deshaun Watson | DeShone Kizer | Patrick Mahomes | Davis Webb | Nathan Peterman | Chad Kelly

3. The Man from the Headlines: Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International

Perhaps you remember this story from November: pregnant girlfriend pours boiling water on football player. That cut Smith’s season short, as he suffered severe burns on his head, neck, back, shoulder and arm. Things were never easy for Smith. His father was a tow truck operator in Philadelphia and was killed on the job in a freak accident when Smith was 4. FIU was his only scholarship offer. In 2014, he led all college tight ends with 61 catches, but in 2015 tore his ACL. Now healed from his burns, Smith is a likely mid-round pick.

4. The Other Oklahoma Running Back: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Joe Mixon has garnered most of the attention, but Perine has a chance to create some buzz. Oklahoma’s all time leading rusher (he broke Billy Sims’ record, finishing with 4,122 career yards), Perine is strong (30 bench reps, best of all combine RBs), thick (5′ 11″, 233 pounds), and could be a workhorse back in the NFL. He shouldn’t go lower than round 3; scouts adore him.

5. The Best Day 3 Pass Rusher: Samson Ebukam, LB/DE, Eastern Washington

Ebukam was born in Nigeria and moved to America when he was 9 years old. He wasn’t invited to the combine but produced impressive testing numbers at his pro day. At 6′ 2″, 240 pounds, he has exceptionally long arms and has a knack for getting after the quarterback.

6. The Deepest Sleeper: Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

Remember this name. At 6′ 4″, 218 pounds with 32-inch arms, Golladay is the type of prospect that, as scouts say, “looks the part.” He has a nice catch radius and may need some refinement, but could be a starter before you know it.

7. The High Profile Recruit: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA

College football fans might remember this name from a strange and (at times) testy recruiting saga. A five-star recruit, Vanderdoes initially committed to Notre Dame. After he changed his allegiance to UCLA, citing a desire to be closer to his family, Irish coach Brian Kelly refused to release the defensive tackle from his national letter of intent. Vanderdoes eventually got his wish, and though he shined in his first two seasons, injury derailed a once-promising career. He’s still working his way back from ACL surgery in 2015; the team that drafts him will be banking that he will bounce back fully.

8. The Underdog of the First Round: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

The short story: Without a scholarship offer coming out of high school, Reddick walked on at Temple. His mother took out a loan to pay for his meal plan. At one point, coaches told Reddick he’d likely be cut. He persevered, earned a scholarship—while playing everything from defensive back to defensive end—and dominated at the Senior Bowl. His speed and athleticism will make him a fine NFL linebacker.

9. The One-Year Starter: Duke Riley, LB, LSU

A mainstay on special teams for three years in Baton Rouge, Riley shined when he finally got his shot to start at linebacker: 93 tackles (nine for loss), 1.5 sacks and an interception. He’s a bit undersized, but hey, that’s what scouts said about Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones.

10. The Nickelback in the Rough: Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

He’s a tad undersized at 5′ 10″ and 185, which will relegate him to the nickel (he got pushed around by some bigger receivers at the Senior Bowl, like Josh Reynolds). But Kazee is quick and has excellent ball skills; he had 15 interceptions over the last two seasons. I like his scrappiness.

11. The High School Couch Potato: Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte

Ogunjobi was a 350-pound high school sophomore who loved video games. That concerned his parents; they hid his controllers and marched him to the football field. A first-generation American (his parents are Nigerian immigrants) Ogunjobi’s football IQ was nonexistent when he first hit the field. One year, a YMCA membership, and dozens of jogs around the neighborhood later, he shed nearly 100 pounds and earned a scholarship to Charlotte’s nascent program. Still raw but much fitter (6′ 3″, 305 pounds) Ogunjobi displays strength, good handwork, and a game that’s constantly improving.

12. The Kicker: Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State

As Roberto Aguayo fights for his roster spot this summer (Hard Knocks drama!), we might not see a team overdraft a kicker in 2017. However, this year’s top prospect is Gonzalez, who set FBS records for most career field goals made (96). Over the past two seasons, 75 percent (126-of-167) of his kickoffs have gone for touchbacks, and as a senior he went 13-for-15 from 40-plus yards.

13. The Human Joystick: Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T

He’s small all right: 5′ 6″, 179 pounds. Cohen gained some notoriety thanks to a YouTube video pegging him as “The Human Joystick.” (Another viral hit: Cohen catching two footballs while doing a backflip.) He had three-straight seasons of 1,400-plus yards rushing, plus a school-record 59 career touchdowns. The ceiling for Cohen is Darren Sproles.

14. The Surprise Safety: John Johnson, S, Boston College

In a historic year for defensive backs—some evaluators project a whopping 20 corners/safeties within the first two rounds—this Boston College product has held his own. With experience at corner as well, Johnson has generated buzz for his athleticism and versatility; he could plug in any NFL scheme. Don’t be shocked if he’s taken on Day 2.

15. The Combine Snub: Hunter Dimick, DL, Utah

Utah’s all time sack leader (29.5) didn’t receive an invitation to Indianapolis, which baffled most folks in Utah. Dimick is a familiar name for Pac-12 fans, leading the conference in sacks (14.5) and tackles for loss (20) in 2016, but evaluators have concerns about whether the production will translate to the next level—specifically, scouts say Dimick’s short arms are worrisome.

16. The MAC Star: Tarell Basham, DE/LB Ohio

He’s the first member of his family to attend college, and came out firing. As a freshman, Basham had 7.5 sacks despite starting only five of the Bobcats’ 13 games. With ideal size (6′ 4″, 269 pounds, 34 1/4-inch arms) and production (11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss in 2016), Basham is the best defensive prospect from a conference known to produce NFL gems.

17. The Corner Who Loves to Tackle: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

Awuzie calls himself “a cornerback that thinks like a mike linebacker.” He recorded seven sacks over the last two seasons and in 2016 ranked second on the Buffaloes with 90 tackles. He’s tough, has a high football IQ and is versatile enough to fit in most schemes. He could sneak into the late first round (Green Bay or Pittsburgh are good fits).

18. The Best RB You Haven’t Heard Of: Marlon Mack, RB, USF

When you hear people talk about depth in this year’s running back class, Mack is a reason why. He’s a dual threat that so many teams covet. In three years, he became USF’s career leader in rushing yards (3,609) and all-purpose yards (4,107). Oh, and touchdowns, too (33).

• RANKING FOUR YEARS OF RB PROSPECTS: How, in one NFL team’s view, Fournette, Cook, Mixon and McCaffrey stack up against Elliott, Gurley, Gordon and the rest

19. The Bloodline: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa

The grandson of former NFL general manager Bobby Beathard, the Iowa quarterback has been discussed as the late-round quarterback most likely to develop into a starter. In the Hawkeyes pro-style offense, Beathard stands strong in the pocket, processes well and demonstrates toughness (though his 59 sacks over the last two years are an eyesore). Says one AFC area scout: “He’s been up and down for me. Mechanics are good, arm strength O.K., but I’ll give him this: that’s a kid not afraid to take a hit.”

20. The Punter: Austin Rehkow, P, Idaho

Rehkrow handled kicking duties at Idaho, but punting is where he shined. The four-year starter averaged 45.8 yards per punt (with a career-long of 73) but more impressively as a senior landed 26 of his 56 punts within the 20-yard line.

21. The Canadian: Antony Auclair, TE, Laval

The Quebec native, 6′ 5″, 254 pounds, participated in his pro day 10 days after pulling his hamstring, and still managed a 4.82 40-time. After holding his own at the East-West Shrine game, he’s piqued the interest of several NFL teams.

22. The Alabama Defense’s Sixth Man: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama

So you’ve heard of Jonathan Allen, Rueben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. But how about Tomlinson? The 6′ 3″, 310-pound D-tackle hasn’t received as much acclaim, but that can happen in Tuscaloosa. Nicknamed “The Renaissance Man”—his interests range from soccer to anime to playing the saxophone and trumpet—Tomlinson is an interesting guy. Though he didn’t get a chance to break out until 2016 (5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four pass break ups) by virtue of playing in a deep Nick Saban defense, NFL teams know what they’re getting; he’s seasoned and ready to start as a rookie.

23. The Under-the-Radar Guard: Dorian Johnson, OL, Pittsburgh

A five-star high school recruit, Johnson could have gone anywhere, from Alabama to Notre Dame. The Pennsylvania native chose Pitt, where he became the school’s first, first-team All American offensive lineman since Ruben Brown. Smart, tough, and technically sound—in a weak year for o-lineman, Johnson could go as high as early second round.

24 and 25. The LSU Wideouts: Malachi Dupre, Travin Dural

This has become a draft trope: The Tigers produce a skilled wideout whose talent was never fully showcased because of LSU’s run-heavy offense (plus ineptitude at quarterback). See: Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry. Dupre and Dural are the latest examples. Dupre has better size, Dural has more speed. Both are likely mid-rounders.

26. The Good Samaritan: Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State

It was a feel-good story that transcended college football: While visiting a middle school last August, Rudolph joined a boy with autism who was sitting alone in the cafeteria. He has played outside and inside but probably projects to the slot. Send good thoughts to Rudolph this week. On Sunday, his father was shot and killed by accidental gunfire while on the job as a repairman at a nightclub.

27. The Transfer: Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar

Langley played two years at Georgia, but transferred to Lamar looking for more playing time and consistency. He got his wish, though the competition wasn’t great, and Langley looked a bit rusty at the Senior Bowl going against better receivers. Still, evaluators like his length (6′ 0″, 32-inch arms) and believe there’s a lot of upside.

28. The Tough-Luck Talent: Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA

You had to feel for Moreau last month when he tore his pectoral muscle while performing the bench press at his pro day. The likely Top-50 pick tumbled (surgery will sideline him four to six months). It was another devastating injury for Moreau, whose 2015 season was cut short by a Lisfranc fracture. When he’s healthy, Moreau is strong and explosive, and could reward any GM willing to exercise patience.

29. The Ascending Wideout: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State

USC quarterback Sam Darnold wasn’t the only breakout star of the epic 2016 Rose Bowl. It was coming out party for this Penn State wideout, who has deceptive speed; let’s just say scouts were pleasantly surprised by 4.42 40 time. Like fellow Nittany Lion Allen Robinson, Godwin can make contested catches (check out his tape against Ohio State when he went up against first-round corner prospect Gareon Conley).

30. The Offensive Weapon: Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State

Samuel did a bit of everything for the Buckeyes, but he’ll need a more defined role in the NFL. (Part of the reason he was moved around: He was Ezekiel Elliott’s backup in 2015 and coaches wanted to find a way to get them both on the field at the same time). Samuel probably projects as a slot receiver for most teams, and he may need to refine his route-running a bit. There’s no question he adds a wrinkle to any offense with big play explosiveness.

31. The Overlooked Cover Man: Howard Wilson, CB, Houston

In discussing the depth of this year’s corner class, Wilson is a name that comes to mind. He looks the part of a starting corner—good length, athletic, strong ball skills—but is only a one-year-starter, and his draft position will reflect that. (He missed most of 2015 with a torn ACL.) Had he stayed in school, an evaluator told me he could have been a first- or second-round candidate in 2018. A coaching switch—Tom Herman left for Texas—is one of the reasons he is said to have declared.

32. The Record Setter: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina

 NFL Draft 2017: 10 biggest sleepers from non-Power Five schools | FOX Sports
Jones is FBS’s all time career receptions leader (399), and set the single-season record last year (158). He’s played outside and in the slot, and though he might not see the same volume as in college, you don’t catch all of those passes without some skill. Evaluators also love Jones for his high character and NFL bloodlines—his father, Robert, was a linebacker for the Cowboys in the 1990s, and his uncle, Jeff Blake, was an NFL quarterback for 14 years.

• JOHN ROSS’S MENTORS: DESEAN JACKSON AND SNOOP DOGG: What Ross was like before Washington, and before the 4.22.

33. The Division II Overachiever: Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood

He doesn’t have the size NFL teams are looking for (5′ 11″, 242 pounds, short arms) but he’s all heart. Harris was ridiculously productive in college, with 633 career tackles. Though his arms might make shedding blocks difficult, he could make a roster as a core special teamer. Switching to fullback is also an option.

34. The Draft Season Riser: Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston

He’s now being discussed as a potential Top-50 pick, but there are a few reasons Bowser (6′ 3″, 247 pounds) hasn’t been hyped until lately. For his first two years at Houston he also played basketball, meaning he couldn’t fully commit to football. He also missed the first four games of 2016 with a broken orbital bone. But over the past few months, evaluators have become enamored by his explosiveness and athleticism. He has experience dropping into coverage as a linebacker, and also has 21.5 career sacks. He should have no problem as a pass rusher in the NFL.

35. The Basketball Player Turned…: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama

….you know where this one is going. It’s the NFL’s new favorite typecast. Everett didn’t play football until senior year of high school. He spent two years at JUCO until football programs took notice. He’s still raw and there are still questions about what type of receiver he can be, but he moves well and doesn’t shy from contact. A cool fact: He’ll be the first South Alabama player to be drafted.

36. The Other Wisconsin Linebacker: Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin

T.J. Watt might hog the spotlight (not by choice; blame the last name), but anyone who watched the Badgers over the past few seasons knows there’s more talent on Wisconsin’s D. Biegel is an emotional, high-effort, high-production player. Though scouts hope he can add more bulk to his 6′ 3″ frame (plus there are concerns about the broken foot that sidelined him for some of 2016), Biegel could have an early impact next fall.

37. The O-Lineman Trying to Pack on Pounds: Antonio Garcia, OL, Troy

It’s crazy to think of stepping on a scale, seeing “293” and saying, Oh, that’s too light. But such is the case for an aspiring NFL offensive lineman. That was Garcia’s Senior Bowl weigh in, and he managed to add 10 pounds by the combine, pleasing evaluators. He’s 6′ 6″ and lean, with thin hips, and that’s something teams are monitoring. But he’s also athletic and could be a future starting left tackle with a year or two of development.

38. The Surprise Early Entry: Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State

It was another mass exodus of underclassmen for the Buckeyes, and somehow lost in the mix is Brown. Of course, it’s easy to be overshadowed by first-round candidates Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, et al… Evaluators might have preferred Brown stay in Columbus, and his draft status will reflect that. What the 6′ 2″, 222-pound wideout lacks in experience (only 52 targets in his college career) he makes up for in physicality and big-play potential.

39. The Double Threat: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech

He’s built like a running back (5′ 11″, 199 pounds) but crazy productive whenever he gets the ball. A breakdown of Henderson’s 23 touchdowns in 2016: 19 receiving, two rushing, two on kickoff returns. Though he’s injury prone, Henderson has proved he’s tough, playing through three games with a broken hand in 2016.

40. The Wideout With a Chip on his Shoulder: Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee

Malone says he believes he’s the top wideout in this class; evaluators peg him for the third or fourth round. The potential is there, though. Joshua Dobb’s go-to guy is tall (6′ 2 3/4″) with the speed to be a vertical threat.

41. The Lone Scarlet Knight: Anthony Cioffi, DB, Rutgers

It’s really not a good year for Rutgers prospects, and Cioffi might be the school’s best bet. The defensive back did a little bit of everything in the secondary (eight interceptions, three forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks) but most impressively started 47 of 48 games over four years. He’s a high-effort player, but likely needs to work up from undrafted free agent.

42. The Blocking Tight End: George Kittle, TE, Iowa

Scouts like the Iowa tight end because he’s physical and an advanced run blocker after playing in the Hawkeyes’ pro-style offense. He boosted his stock at the combine solid numbers on the jumps, plus a 4.52 40-yard dash—quite fast for a 247-pounder.

43. The Matchup Nightmare: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech

Recruited as a quarterback, Hodges made the switch in 2014. He’s the classic oversized wide receiver that thrives in today’s NFL. At 6′ 6″, 257 pounds, he’s a big play threat, especially dangerous in the red zone. He still needs work, but there is tons of upside. Think Jordan Reed.

44. The Down Year at the Wrong Time: Dawuane Smoot, LB/DE, Illinois

With 15 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and three forced fumbles in 2015, Smoot was being discussed as a potential first rounder in 2016, especially after a season under long-time NFL head coach Lovie Smith. Instead, Smoot was extremely inconsistent. Some scouts wonder whether he simply benefitted from playing alongside Jihad Ward in ’15, others believe his size (6′ 3″, 263 pounds), athleticism (he was an excellent high school hurdler) and motor should not be ignored. He’s an intriguing early Day 2 pick.

45. The Rangy Safety: Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M

Just as his title suggests, Evans has the range NFL coaches look for in a free safety. You’ll hear about how he missed some tackles at A&M, but he’s incredibly athletic and excellent in coverage.

46. The First Ever First-Round Hilltopper: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky

Evaluators have had an eye on Lamp ever since he put together dominant tape against Alabama—especially in winning one-on-one battles against Jonathan Allen. Lamp was a left tackle in college (where he was a four-year starter) but could slide to guard.

47. The Best Linebacker You’ve Never Heard Of: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

Though he played for one of the SEC’s weaker programs, Cunningham topped the conference with 125 tackles in 2016. This is what a scout told me about Cunningham in October: “Long arms. Explosive with sideline-to-sideline speed. Natural when he drops into coverage. Converts speed into power as a tackler, but could use some improvement in finishing tackles.”

48. The Run Stuffer: Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

At 6′ 1″, 313 pounds, scouts wonder if he’s a two-down nose tackle or every-down lineman. Evaluations vary, but there’s no question Qualls can bolster a front seven. He has quick feet, thanks to a high school stint as a fullback, and an inspiring backstory—at one point, he was homeless.

49. The Undersized Edge Rusher: Keion Adams, LB/DE, Western Michigan

He doesn’t have ideal size (6′ 2″, 245 pounds), he doesn’t have a great counter move, but there’s something about Adams that keeps reeling evaluators in. No doubt his athleticism is enticing with quick feet off the edge. He’s an overachiever whose story matches the improbable ascent of the Broncos under coach PJ Fleck.

50.The Other Texas A&M Pass Rusher: Daeshon Hall

Of course you’ve heard all about Myles Garrett, but his sidekick isn’t too shabby either. When I visited College Station a few weeks ago, Hall received serious praise from coach Kevin Sumlin. Hall, who previously played outside linebacker, has the length (6′ 5″, 35-inch arms), athleticism and traits to be successful in setting the edge, but he has only one year of defensive line experience. Some evaluators are concerned he may be a project, but he should be off the board by the end of Day 2.

• ON MYLES GARRETT, COMPETITOR: There are whispers that the presumptive No. 1 overall pick held back to avoid injury last season. A conversation with his head coach reveals another side of Garrett.


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