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NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

Florida State produces a lot of NFL prospects and will match up with the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. The top prospect for the Seminoles, Derwin James, has elected to sit out this bowl game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.  Southern Mississippi has produced Brett Favre, but isn’t a regular NFL talent producer. Here are the NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl:

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Allenzae Staggers, WR

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Walk-On's Independence Bowl
Allenzae Staggers (Photo by hattiesburgamerican.com)

Staggers has played for Southern Mississippi for two years now. This season was a down year for him in terms of production. He has 469 receiving yards and five touchdowns. His junior season he had 1,165 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He will have a chance to prove what he can do against some elite competition in this bowl game.

He has good size at 6’1″ and 190 pounds. Adding to his frame will be necessary to endure the bump and run coverage in the NFL. The lack of production will cause some concerns, but he still has a chance to get drafted.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

Ito Smith, RB

Smith ranks 68th all time in rushing yards with 4,444 in his career. He is the model of productivity and durability for a college running back. This season he has 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith has also shown a knack for catching the football out of the backfield with 1,420 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions in his career.

Although he is a bit undersized at 5’9″ and 195 pounds, there is a place for him in the NFL. He can catch passes and be a threat with the ball in his hands, so if a team takes a chance on him, he could be a good third down running back.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

Florida State Seminoles

Tarvarus McFadden, CB

McFadden is a shut-down corner who has started for two seasons in the Florida State secondary. He has 50 total tackles, eight interceptions and eight passes defended in his career. Last season he had all eight of his interceptions. This season, quarterbacks have thrown away from McFadden.

He has great size for a corner at 6’2″ and 198 pounds, which will help him match up with big receivers on the outside. McFadden will need to prove he can tackle well and keep up with faster receivers, but he has a solid case to be an early draft pick. He is just a junior and may elect to go back to school.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Derrick Nnadi, DT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Walk-On's Independence Bowl
Derrick Nnadi (Photo courtesy draftblasters.com)

Nnadi is a senior who has really produced in the last two seasons for the Seminoles. In his career he has 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. This season he has nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has shown the ability to get after the passer from the defensive tackle position, which should help his value.

At 6’1″ and 312 pounds, Nnadi has decent size for an NFL defensive tackle. He is likely only going to fit into a 4-3 defense in the NFL because of his size. Nnadi is a prime candidate to be selected on day two of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Josh Sweat, DE

He was a highly touted recruit, but Sweat hasn’t totally lived up to the hype yet. In his three years at Florida State, Sweat has 29 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. His best season was last year when he had 11.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He still has a lot of potential and should not be overlooked.

Sweat has good size for the NFL, standing 6’5″ and 285 pounds. There are some concerns about his durability and his production not meeting his talent level.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

Trey Marshall, S

Marshall is a two year starter for Florida State. He has 135 total tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, six passes defended and no interceptions. This season he has 44 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in nine games played. He isn’t the most polished Florida State player coming out of their secondary, but he is a solid prospect.

He is 6’0″and 210 pounds which is good enough for the NFL. One of the biggest issues that will come up with Marshall is the fact that he hasn’t forced a turnover in his Florida State career. If he doesn’t have good ball skills at the college level, it won’t translate well to the NFL.

Projected draft range: 5th round-7th round

 

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