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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
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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.
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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.
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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.