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2017 NFL Draft: Sun Belt Recap

The Fun Belt represented itself well in Philadelphia this past weekend.

NCAA Football: South Alabama at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 draft has come and gone and we now know where past members of the Fun Belt will continue their football playing careers. We’ll see in the coming days many players being signed as undrafted free agents, but this post will focus on the prospects that heard their names called from the podium.

Gerald Everett TE South Alabama Rams Round 2 Pick 44

Everett made history by becoming the first player in South Alabama history to here his name called in the Draft. The UAB transfer was a monster in his two seasons in Mobile as he reeled 12 total touchdowns as well as being Dallas Davis’ top target this past fall. This former basketball player is an upper-level athlete for the tight end position and he should be a legitimate redzone target for the Rams. Jared Goff needs help and Everett has the chance to fill a void.

Antonio Garcia OT Troy Patriots Round 3 Pick 85

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice
Garcia will get plenty of pass pro reps blocking for Tom Brady and the Pats.
Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Garcia has all the measurables of a prototypical left tackle at the next level and you have to think that is where the Pats will use him. Standing 6’6” and 302 lbs., Garcia is much more athletic than he looks and his long arms/reach should give the opportunity to develop into an excellent pass blocker. With long time starter Nate Solder becoming a free agent after 2017, the expectation should be for Garcia to come in and compete with Marcus Cannon as the long term franchise left tackle. Although, this is all assuming Robert Kraft doesn’t throw the Brinks truck at Solder. At worst, Garcia should end up being a very solid backup.

Ukeme Eligwe LB Georgia Southern Chiefs Round 5 Pick 180

Troy v Georgia Southern
Eligwe will bring a lot of tools to Kansas City.
Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images

The former Florida State Seminole was a can’t miss prospect coming out of high school, and he’ll be bringing a lot of talent to KC. After being dismissed in Tallahassee, Eligwe headed to Statesboro and would record triple-digit tackles for the Eagles in 2016 as he pulled a one-and-done stint in the Sun Belt. Look for him to play outside linebacker in Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme as he brings a lot of athleticism to the field with his 6’2” 239 lbs. frame. He should be an immediate contributor on special teams.

Elijah McGuire RB UL-Lafayette Jets Round 6 Pick 188

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Georgia
McGuire did it all for the Rajin’ Cajuns.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The senior from Houma, Louisiana leaves Lafayette as the program’s second leading rusher (4,312 yards) and proved to be a very reliable back in his four-year career. McGuire showed a lot of versatility during his college career as he carried the ball for at least 200 times each year as well contributing at least 20 receptions out of the backfield. McGuire has shown some real durability in Mark Hudspeth’s program as he never missed a game during his career. Add in McGuire’s experience in being a punt returner and this will allow him to contribute on special teams a well as being a versatile back.

De’Angelo Henderson RB CCU Broncos Round 6 Pick 203

Henderson was a very productive back at the FCS level and will enter a franchise that has a lot of talent in the running back room but got very little production last year. Henderson was dynamite for the Chants as he scored a touchdown in 35 consecutive games. Henderson leaves Conway as Coastal’s all-time leading rusher as well as many more records. The 2016 FCS All-American will give Denver a low center of gravity runner who could develop into a reliable redzone power back.

Robert Davis WR Georgia State Redskins Round 6 Pick 209

South Alabama v Georgia Southern
Davis cashed in at the Combine and that resulted in his name coming off the board in the 6th round.
Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images

Davis was a very production pass catcher for the upstart Georgia State program as he leaves Atlanta as the program’s all-time leading receiver (3,391 yards on 222 receptions). Davis was a lone bright spot for the Panthers last fall as he was first-team All-Sun Belt selection. The 6’3” WR will provide the Redskins with a big wideout that can stretch the field. Davis will need some polishing with his route running, but playing in a Jay Gruden offense that likes to throw the ball around the yard, he should get time to develop. It will be imperative for Davis to come in and be able to contribute on special teams.