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【nohu code】Ranking top HBCU prospects for 2023 NFL draft
发布日期:2023-09-25 21:47:10

It's a big week for HBCU prospects who could get picked in the 2023 NFL draft. On Monday,nohu code 47 players took part in the second annual HBCU combine, where scouts and evaluators from all 32 NFL teams watched workouts at the New Orleans Saints' practice facility. The Black College Football Hall of Fame and NFL teamed up to host the event, which featured on-field testing and drills that follow a similar format to the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. And this Saturday, 98 players are expected to participate in the HBCU Legacy Bowl (4 p.m. ET, NFL Network) at Tulane University.

Four HBCU players were drafted in last year's NFL draft, tied for the most in ten years. Detroit Lions defensive end James Houston finished his rookie year with eight sacks, and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Joshua Williams played a pivotal part in the team's Super Bowl title run. How many HBCU alums could get selected -- or make a roster as an undrafted free agent (UDFA) -- this year? Who generated buzz at the combine workouts? Here is an updated look at 15 of the top HBCU prospects for the 2023 draft, including nine who are in New Orleans this week.

【nohu code】Ranking top HBCU prospects for 2023 NFL draft

Note: Legacy Bowl and/or HBCU combine participants are marked with an asterisk.

【nohu code】Ranking top HBCU prospects for 2023 NFL draft

1. Isaiah Land, OLB, Florida A&M

HT:6-foot-3 | WT:226 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Mid-to-late Day 3

【nohu code】Ranking top HBCU prospects for 2023 NFL draft

A highly productive pass-rusher, Land had his best season in 2021. He finished with 19.5 sacks and earned the Buck Buchanan Award as the FCS Defensive Player of the Year. Land is lanky but has burst, bend and a quick first step out of the starting blocks, which was routinely too much for FCS offensive tackles to handle. He finished last season with 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks over nine games.

We saw him play primarily standup outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl, and that is likely his position at the next level. Dropping into coverage will be an adjustment for him, but he'll mainly be a designated pass-rusher early in his career while he continues to gain weight. For teams seeking immediate help on obvious passing downs, Land could be an added boost.

2. Aubrey Miller Jr., ILB, Jackson State

HT:6-foot | WT:229 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Mid-to-late Day 3

After transferring from Missouri in search of an expanded role, Miller found the perfect landing spot at Jackson State, where he has been the heart and soul of the Tigers. He was primarily the Mike linebacker, but Miller's versatility was on display throughout his career. And he consistently showcased an ability to read, diagnose and attack downhill, proving he's capable of being a three-down player who can also hold up in coverage. Miller was named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year last season after 117 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks and five forced fumbles.

I've heard a lot of positive feedback about Miller's game from scouts, and many are surprised that he didn't receive an invite to the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Regardless, he could be an instant-impact player on special teams in the pros while he continues to develop as a linebacker.

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3. Mark Evans II, OL, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

HT:6-foot-2 | WT:293 pounds | Class: Senior
Projected draft range:Mid-to-late Day 3

Evans played his entire career at left tackle, and he showed plenty of physicality and balance while continuing to improve in many areas. Due to his lack of length, scouts are projecting Evans to play center at the next level, and the 293-pounder was strictly on the interior during the week of practices at the East-West Shrine Bowl. His game translates best to NFL teams that use outside zone schemes, where he can use his quick feet and savviness to win with his hands and angles. Terron Armstead (2013) was the last player to be drafted from the Arkansas-Pine Bluff program, but Evans has a good chance to get picked on Day 3.

4. Shaquan Davis, WR, South Carolina State

HT:6-foot-4 | WT:217 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Mid-to-late Day 3

Davis comes from one of the best NFL pipelines among HBCU schools. South Carolina State has produced Darius Leonard, Javon Hargrave and Cobie Durant -- and Davis appears to be next in line. He was one of the most efficient pass-catchers in the FCS ranks last season, recording 45 catches for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged at least 20 yards per catch in three of his four seasons, showing he can win downfield by using his big frame or pick up chunks of yards after the catch. Davis still needs to improve his route tree and body control in the underneath areas, but he showed progress during the week of practices at the East-West Shrine Game.

5. Jadakis Bonds, WR, Hampton

HT:6-foot-2 | WT:205 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Late Day 3

A dynamic vertical asset for Hampton, Bonds consistently gains separation behind the third level of the defense and finished his college career with 34 receiving touchdowns. He has the type of speed that forces defensive backs to quickly retreat and panic, but he can also snap his routes off and then create yards after the catch on underneath patterns. His reliable hands were on full display at the East-West Shrine Game practices, including when he came down with a nice one-handed grab during the second day. Teams that miss out on some earlier-round speed options could take a close look at Bonds on Day 3.

6. Keenan Isaac, CB, Alabama State*

HT:6-foot-2 |WT:186 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Late Day 3

The highest-ranked player participating in the events this week, Isaac is a lanky corner who has shown glimpses of ball production (two interceptions over his Hornets career). I saw him up close at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices, and his size, length and change-of-direction skills were evident. Isaac projects best in a zone scheme where he can compete with his awareness and high-end instincts. But he still needs to sharpen his technique and add weight.

7. Darius Hagans, RB, Virginia State*

HT:5-foot-11 | WT:209 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Late Day 3/UDFA

An upright and productive runner, Hagans had a breakout season during his final year with the Trojans. He finished 2022 with 1,012 rushing yards and six touchdowns before helping himself during the all-star game circuit with standout performances. His running style and vision are evident, and he's decisive when attacking the first level. But can he become more involved in the passing game? Hagans received plenty of exposure to that part of the game at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and he has potential as a late-round complementary back. NFL scouts were also impressed with Hagans after Monday's HBCU combine workout.

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8. Emanuel Wilson, RB, Fort Valley State*

HT:5-foot-10 | WT:229 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Late Day 3/UDFA

Wilson was one of the best rushers in the Division II ranks this past season. After originally starting his career at Johnson C. Smith, he then played two seasons with Fort Valley State and finished the 2022 season with 1,371 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. And after a standout week of practices at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Wilson is getting a little more buzz among NFL teams. He is a tough runner who is difficult to tackle, and that ability to bounce off and break tackles translates well to the next level.

9. Kemari Averett, TE, Bethune-Cookman*

HT:6-foot-5 | WT:260 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:Late Day 3/UDFA

Averett started his career at Louisville before settling into his own in Daytona Beach, Florida at Bethune-Cookman. He quickly became the go-to target for the Wildcats' offense and finished his two-year stint with 1,333 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. It has been a long road in the collegiate ranks for the big bodied tight end -- consider that he caught his first career touchdown from Lamar Jackson during the 2017 season.

Averett helped himself during a productive week at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where he showcased body control and strong hands. He has the makings of a depth option early in his pro career, and NFL teams will be intrigued by his red-zone upside.

10. Dallas Daniels, WR, Jackson State

HT:5-foot-10 | WT:176 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:UDFA

Daniels spent two seasons in the junior college ranks (2018 and 2019) before transferring to Western Illinois. He finished 2022 with 61 catches for 657 yards and six touchdowns, lining up in multiple alignments. Despite the limited production, he was one of the biggest standouts at the East-West Shrine Bowl. With strong hands and quick feet in his routes, Daniels could be a slot option for teams as a priority undrafted free agent.

11. Xavier Smith, WR, Florida A&M*

HT: 5-foot-10 | WT:170 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:UDFA

Smith is an explosive three-level threat and has spent most of his time out of the slot. I saw him live against FBS competition during the season-opener at North Carolina, when he caught 10 balls for 78 yards. Over the course of his college career, Smith posted 2,893 receiving yards and 25 TDs and provided value as a return specialist. Smith could be a popular priority undrafted free agent target for multiple teams.

After Monday's HBCU combine, one area scout told me, "I thought he easily looked the best of any prospect participating here, and I had him running in the high 4.3s in the 40."

12. Andrew Farmer II, DE, Lane*

HT:6-foot-3 | WT: 260 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range: UDFA

One of the more productive defenders in the Division II ranks, Farmer capped off an impressive two-year run that included 44 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. His game centers around effort, heavy hands and craftiness as a pass-rusher, and he has the burst and finishing ability to overwhelm blockers and close on QBs. Farmer will likely start his career as a designated pass-rusher as he continues to learn how to consistently play the run, but his production will definitely intrigue teams.

13. De'Jahn Warren, CB, Jackson State*

HT: 6-foot | WT:185 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range: UDFA

The top-ranked junior college recruit during the 2020 recruiting cycle, Warren entered Jackson State with plenty of hype after signing with the Tigers over Georgia. But after a productive first season, he struggled to find a role on the team's defense. He ended up finishing his college career with 51 tackles, six pass deflections and an interception over 28 career games.

Warren's movement skills as a man-to-man corner are noticeable, and he has suddenness and foot quickness to match wide receivers. Scouts intrigued by Warren's potential, wonder if there's another level of his game that can still be unlocked.

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14. Joshua Pryor, DE, Bowie State*

HT:6-foot-3 | WT:240 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:UDFA

Pryor finished his college career with 77 career tackles for loss and 32 sacks. He plays multiple positions along the defensive line but is best projected to be a base defensive end in a 4-3 defense at the next level. His weight has fluctuated over the past few years, and scouts want to see his number stabilize as he enters an NFL strength and conditioning program. But his ability to generate pressure has remained constant during his time in the CIAA, and his effort has caught the eye of many scouts.

15. Brandon Barnes-Brown, CB, Fayetteville State*

HT:5-foot-11 | WT:190 pounds | Class:Senior
Projected draft range:UDFA

After playing alongside Joshua Williams in 2021, Barnes-Brown continued to carry one of the better secondaries in the Division II ranks in 2022, helping the Broncos win their first conference title since 2009. He has displayed high-level ball production, posting 12 interceptions in 39 career games. Barnes-Brown is active and competitive at the line of scrimmage, and he also has some versatility. He could provide special teams value in the NFL.


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