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2020 Corporate Challenge in Hampton Roads, Virginia has been CANCELLED

NFL draft Local hopefuls
NFL draft   Local hopefuls

By Tom Robinson
The Virginian-Pilot
© April 25, 2013

Here's a look at Hampton Roads players who are seen as likely picks over the next three days:

First-Second round

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee (Ocean Lakes High). Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 196.

Hunter played in only 24 college games, losing most of his sophomore season to a torn ACL. An All-SEC freshman, Hunter bounced back from his injury for an uneven junior year. He scored nine touchdowns, but admittedly played cautiously to avoid reinjuring his knee. A former high school and college track star, Hunter is a smooth, fast runner and cutter. As an NFL prospect, he is considered an open-ended talent with room to develop and excel. Scouts' concerns about Hunter focus on his inconsistent hands and potential durability issues because of his lean frame.

QB EJ Manuel, Florida State (Bayside). Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 237

A two-year starter for the Seminoles, Manuel threw for 23 TDs with 10 interceptions as a senior and went on to become the MVP of the Senior Bowl. Manuel's size, speed, arm strength and personal "makeup" have impressed scouts. He projects as an outstanding "face" of a franchise and as an effective leader within a read-option offense. Concerns about Manuel revolve around his throwing mechanics, abandoning the pocket too soon and his tendency to lock onto receivers without scanning the entire field.

Third-Fourth Round

S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse (Ocean Lakes). Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 213

Thomas' stock has risen through the long combine/pro-day season by virtue of his outstanding workouts. At the combine, Thomas led safeties in the 40-yard dash and the bench press and tied for the best vertical jump. First-team Big East last season, Thomas is a big hitter who produces turnovers; he intercepted two balls and forced three fumbles last season. Criticism of his playing style centers on his height and aggressiveness that often causes him to be out of position. It stands to reason that in the NFL, where physicality pays, the latter is a fault that can be improved.

CB B.W. Webb, William and Mary. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 184

An FCS All-American, Webb proved his elite athletic skills at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine, where his time in the 20-yard shuttle run was the best of any prospect. Webb, from the Peninsula's Warwick High, also recorded a 40-1/2-inch vertical jump that tied Syracuse's Thomas for best among defensive backs. A capable punt returner as well, Webb, like many FCS players, is scrutinized through a lens of playing against lesser competition. He is regarded as a prospect with big upside, however, because of his athleticism and his room to develop.

Fifth-Sixth-Seventh

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech (Ocean Lakes). Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 233

Davis has the prototypical size and speed of an outside receiver, according to nfl.com. Davis was yet another workout star from the 757 area at the scouting combine; his 39-1/2-inch vertical jump matched fellow Ocean Lakes alum Justin Hunter's for best among receivers, and he was sixth in the bench press. Davis' consistency and effort were issues during college. But his physical gifts will likely be enough for him to be a draft selection rather than a free-agent signee.

OL Vinston Painter, Virginia Tech (Maury). Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 306

Painter, who moved from defense, started only his senior season for the Hokies and is a bit of a mystery prospect in draft-watcher circles. Painter opened eyes with his athleticism at the combine by scoring as one of the strongest and most nimble offensive linemen there. Before personal visits to teams, Painter said he believed he could be drafted on his combine performance alone. His lack of game experience and inconsistent technique are drawbacks, but he has the athletic potential to blossom at either guard or tackle.

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