After Carson Wentz was selected second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, the former North Dakota State quarterback started all 16 games for the Eagles.
NDSU teammateoffensive lineman Joe Haegwas a fifth-round pick of the Colts and started 14 games at guard.
Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler was the 30th overall pick by the Panthers, and Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence went 39th to the Buccaneers.
Carolina also took Samford cornerback James Bradberry in the second round to replace departed Josh Norman, who developed into a Pro Bowl cornerback after being selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Coastal Carolina.
Javon Hargrave started 13 games at defensive tackle for the Steelers, who selected the former South Carolina State star in the third round in 2016.
The 2017 NFL Draft class features a wealth of talent fromoutside the Power 5 conferences. Here are some players you need to know before the start of the draft April 27.
Tarell Basham, DE/OLB, Ohio —Basham was one of the stars at January’s Senior Bowl. An athletic 6-4, 269-pound pass-rusher with an explosive burst, hecan convert his speed to power. His best fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but the 2016 MAC Defensive Player of the year could be a 4-3 defensive end. He’s an excellent edge rusher and is physical against the run, with 16 tackles for loss and 11 1/2 sacks last season, though his aggression sometimes results in losing contain on outside runs. Bashem should come off the board in the second round.
Lorenzo Jerome, S, Saint Francis (Pa.) —Jerome'sstock skyrocketed afterstandout performances at the NFLPA Bowl, where he was the MVP, and the Senior Bowl. The athletic 5-11, 185 pound safety has excellent ball skills and was the first player in Northeast Conference history to be a four-time first-team all-conference selection. Jerome had 18 career interceptions, including six last season, andalso was a first-team all-conference return man (four career TDreturns). Jerome would be the first Saint Francis player in the NFL since 1952.
Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State —Kazee is one of the most aggressive cornerbacks in this draft. He loves to play press coverage and jam receivers at the linebut gets a bit too handsy. Atwo-time All-Mountain West selection, he had aschool-record 17 interceptions for the Aztecs. Kazee is a lean (5-10, 183 pounds)but fluid athlete who trusts his eyes to read quarterbacks and is instinctive with superior ball skills. He changes direction well and is a solid tackler with excellent recovery speed and footwork to break on the ball.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington — Fellow 2017draft prospectZay Jones of East Carolina may have the FBS record for receptions (399), but Kupp leads the NCAA's top two divisionswith 428 for 6,464 yards. He also scored 73 touchdowns in a career in which he was a first-team FCS All-American four times. Kupp impressed at the Senior Bowl as a precise route-runner with sticky hands before a solid showing at the combine. At 6-2, 204 pounds, he is a tough receiver who isn’t afraid to catch the ball in traffic.
Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky —As the starting left tackle for the Hilltoppers, Lamp made a name for himself last September with a solid showing against Alabama. His stock has risen since, and he likely will be a first-round pick. Projected as an NFL guard, he is strong, bends well, anchors his weight (309) andhas good feet.In short, Lamp does everything well. Bench pressing 225 pounds 34 times at the combine didn’t hurt.
Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut —Melifonwu is a superb athlete with incredible length at 6-4, 219. He’s a rangy safety with good speed (4.4-second40) andinstinctsas well as very good ball skills. Because of his length and coverage skills, Melifonwu could be used as a matchup piece against tight ends or tall receivers. A solid tackler (118 stops to go with a team-highfour interceptions last season), he has created a nice buzz that could result in a first-round selection.
Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte —Ogunjobi is quick, relentless and powerful. The 6-3, 304-pound run-stuffer was a first-team All-CUSA selection after starting all four seasons at Charlotte. He is technically sound with a good burst off the snap to be disruptive in the backfield. After recording 65 tackles, 13 1/2 for loss, with three sacks and 10 quarterback hurries last season, he could be a second-round pick.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple —Reddick is a natural pass-rusher with a great burst off the snap. He’s shown the ability to cover in space, making him versatile as a possible 3-4 linebacker. Reddick can stack the line at the point of attack and also blitz from depth. He had 65 tackles last season with 22 1/2 tackles for loss and 10 1/2 sacks to earn first-team All-AAC honors. He’s explosive with good vision and diagnoses plays well with instincts and athleticism. Addan ability to also play special teams, and Reddick is expected to be a first-round pick.