41. Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a long history of elite college running backs, from Ron Dayne to Montee Ball to Jonathan Taylor. Allen could be the latest in that long line. He is a dynamic player with footwork and good open-field speed. On top of that, his involvement in the passing game is promising, with him catching 13 passes in his first two games of the 2023 season. I’m also a huge fan of the fact that he does not have nearly as much tread worn off his tires as some of his predecessors. Entering this weekend’s game, he has 440 career carries. Taylor had 926 in his three years with the Badgers. That lower number bodes well for Allen’s long-term prospects.
42. JC Latham, OT, Alabama
Make no mistake, Latham is a massive human being. He is listed at 6’6″, 360 pounds. His play power is evident the moment you turn on the tape. However, in his second year starting at right tackle for the Tide, he needs to show some major development. For as much raw ability as he possesses, he is exactly that, raw. He needs to improve his angles in the run game and clean up his footwork in pass protection. It is hard to find an instance where he will be overpowered, but he can definitely be beaten with speed until his technique improves. There is a ton of upside here, but a lot of work still to be done.
43. Calen Bullock, S, USC
On one hand, Bullock is a ball-hawking safety with a knack for getting his hands on the football. On the other, he is an absolute liability in the run game, struggling to make open-field tackles. Much of the struggles with his tackling come from his slight frame. USC lists him at 190 pounds, but he looks lighter than that on film. With seven career interceptions entering this season, he has the production to make it at the next level. If he can add some muscle to his frame and improve his tackling, he will fly up my big board. Until then, it is hard to imagine him moving much higher.
44. Xaiver Legette, WR, South Carolina
I try not to overreact to a small sample size, but I have been really impressed by what I saw from Legette to start this season. Things finally seem to be clicking for the fifth-year senior. He has 297 receiving yards in South Carolina’s first two games this year, showcasing his ability to break tackles and rack up yards after catch. He has a basketball background, which is evident when he goes up for contest catches. It’s early, but I am a big fan of his out of the gate. He will get a chance to prove himself against Georgia this week.
45. Graham Barton, OL, Duke
Much like Peter Skoronski and many others before him, Barton is a technically sound college tackle who likely lacks the length to play the position at the NFL level. That is not necessarily a bad thing either. We have seen plenty of college tackles kick inside and have lots of success as interior linemen. I like Barton to do just that. He has tons of experience, entering the season with 30 career starts on his resume. Duke has some big matchups coming up and Barton will be a player I will be watching closely.
46. Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
Every team in the NFL wants to have an athletic mismatch at tight end who can operate as an additional receiver. Sanders fits that mold well. He is a threat all over the field and defenses have to respect his ability in the open field. He went over the century mark against Alabama and seems to be well on his way to another 600+ yard season. There is unquestionably room to grow as a blocker, but that’s just about every college tight end these days.
47. Cedric Gray, LB, UNC
The quarterback of North Carolina’s defense draws a lot of attention, but the quarterback of North Carolina’s defense deserves some praise as well. Now in his third season as a starter, Gray is a leader on the field for the Tar Heels and often leads by example. He has good range and agility. He has decent production as both a tackler and in coverage. Given how much the NFL has changed in recent years, Gray fits the mold of a modern pro linebacker.
48. Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
When it is all said and done, Benson could easily wind up being the first running back selected in this draft class. He is an efficient and reliable runner, averaging over six yards per carry in 2022. There is not a ton of production in the passing game, which could hold him back, but he has decent hands. Perhaps the most important detail here, Benson has fresh legs. With just 190 career college touches, he should be ready to hit the ground running. It does raise some questions about his ability to handle the workload of a lead back in the NFL, but he has not done anything to indicate otherwise to this point.
49. Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
Mims has the potential to be a big riser throughout this draft process. He took over the starting left tackle job from Broderick Jones, with Jones now suiting up in the NFL. At 6’7″, 340 pounds, Mims will have scouts drooling over his physical profile. At this point, he is only two starts into his collegiate career, so it is tough to draw too many conclusions, but his upside is tantalizing. If he can withstand everything the SEC has to throw at him this year, he may well end up a first-round selection.
50. Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
I will admit, I am a sucker for bigger corners. Just about every top corner in the NFL is at least 5’11”, although Jaire Alexander and Denzel Ward do stand out as notable exceptions. In short, Wiggins has the body type I look for in starting-caliber boundary cornerbacks. He is a good athlete who knows how to use his hands well in coverage. I would like to see him be a bit more physical and improve his block shedding, but he is definitely a prospect I am looking forward to watching a lot more of.