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Late risers

Intriguing developmental prospects gain momentum

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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki

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Posted April 27, 2011 @ 11:23 a.m. ET
By Nolan Nawrocki

(Editor's note: Players are listed in alphabetical order.)

Every year, there are players that receive a lot of extra visits in the spring because they were not invited to the Combine or overlooked during the fall. Following are five who will be drafted and have begun to catch steam late in the draft process.

FS Chris Conte, California
For standing 6-2½, Conte is very lean at a shade under 200 pounds, but he does possess the length and movement skills to intrigue secondary coaches, who have taken a strong liking to the back-half defender and could push him up as high as the fourth round.

OT Johnny Culbreath, South Carolina State
Was recruited heavily coming out of high school and has the athletic ability to bend and move, clocking a 5.02 40 at 6-5 1/8, 322 pounds at his pro day. He has size, foot quickness and raw strength to anchor and seldom gets pushed back. Coaches who have worked him out have been very intrigued by his mid-round-caliber talent. The only concern is whether he will be able to handle the complexity of the NFL game, as he is too often late to react to what he sees and can be too easily short-circuited by the blitz.

WR Kris Durham, Georgia
At 6-5¼, 216 pounds, Durham clocked in the mid-4.4s at his pro day workout and made evaluators take notice of a player who stood out early in the season when A.J. Green was forced to sit out the first four games. He has a wide catching radius and good leaping ability to earn a spot as a possession receiver.

OT David Mims, Virginia Union
His arms measured an eighth of an inch short of 37 inches at his pro day and will give him the distinction of being the longest-armed pass protector in the NFL, with an Inspector Gadget-like reach. He is a developmental left tackle prospect who, at 6-8¼, 331 pounds, registered a 5.34 40-time and will draw interest in the late rounds for his upside.

FS Jonathan Nelson, Oklahoma
A developmental free safety who vertical-jumped 43 inches at his pro-day workout and broad-jumped 11-foot-4, Nelson's sheer athletic ability stands out in a very weak class of safeties and could allow him to push up as high as the fifth round.

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