2017 NFL Draft: St Petersburg Bowl

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Mississippi St

#8 WR Fred Ross (6’2 | 207 | 4.48)

Two-time All-SEC wideout who was Dak Prescott’s main target in 2015 with 1,007 yards and five touchdowns. Despite the loss of Prescott and a run-first offense in 2016, Ross still put up solid numbers with 69 catches for 890 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns.

Ross doesn’t stand out in any specific category, but is a solid all-around prospect. He’s not a burner with a smooth gait that looks slow at times, but has a surprising extra gear that he uses to create separation in routes and the open field. His hands are reliable, but he uses his body to corral passes more than he should. Playing in a run-first scheme has also helped Ross develop into an above-average run blocker.

On paper Ross looks like a dime-a-dozen receiving prospect but with almost 2,000 yards over the last two seasons in the SEC, his production shouldn’t be discounted. He’s a sharp route-runner who understands how to get open against both zone and man coverage and can make something happen after the catch.

Ross isn’t a #1 WR prospect, but could be even more effective as a secondary or slot option after facing opposing team’s top cover guys for the last two seasons. With his size, ability to set up DBs, and make people miss after the catch, Ross reminds me of a more-polished Cameron Meredith.

The Bears will be looking to add receiving talent this year and if Ross is available on day three as projected by most sites, he could be a steal for the Bears.

Projection: 4th-5th  round

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

#97 DE Johnathan Calvin (6’3 | 263 | 4.80)

First-year starter who had a surprisingly effective season as a pass rusher for the Bulldogs. Calvin led the team with seven sacks, after just 1.5 in 2015 and also added 12 tackles for loss. He’s played a hybrid type role for the Bulldogs this season, moving between DE and OLB.

Calvin is more effective with his hand in the dirt and might lack the speed to be an OLB at the next level. His best attributes are his explosive first step and his power, but it was impressive that he could play in space this year despite having no prior experience in that role. With time Calvin may be verstaile enough to play as either a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB at the next level.

With only one year of tape for NFL teams to digest, Calvin will need a good post season to secure a day three draft selection. That could work in a team’s favor as Calvin’s power, versatility, and natural pass rush skills could be developed into something impactful and he won’t cost more than a late day three pick.

Projection: 7th round-UDFA