While all the attention will be on who that could be in Rounds 1-2, there’s plenty of interesting prospects to watch for in the latter rounds and in undrafted free agency. One such player who’s flying under the radar is Mississippi State’s Johnathan Calvin.
After beginning his career in the junior college ranks, Calvin emerged as solid pass-rusher as his college career in Starkville wore on. He had only 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 2015, but that jumped to seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss this past season. He also registered 55 total tackles and blocked two field goals in 2016.
At 6’3” and 277 pounds, Calvin is right about where the Bengals prefer their defensive ends to be, though he was more of a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end in the Bulldogs’ defense. NFL Draft Scout ranks Calvin 554th overall and 40th among defensive ends. That means he’s likely to be drafted in Round 7 or be a priority free agent.
Most NFL teams use some of their pre-draft visits on prospects projected to go undrafted, so that they have a relationship built already, making it easier for a reunion to occur after the draft. If Calvin does go undrafted, the Bengals would be a tempting destination as it is with so little depth at defensive end.
Now that they’ve visited and gotten to know each other, the potential for a reunion only increases.