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NFL Top 100: Nos. 51-75 as high school recruits

Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray (USA Today Sports Images)

The NFL Network recently released its list of top 100 players for the 2022 season. We take a look at where those players were ranked coming out of high school with hits and misses along the way. Today we continue with Nos. 51-75.

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51. Alvin Kamara

As a high four-star, Kamara committed to Alabama out of high school but he was sitting behind Derrick Henry, T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake on the depth chart and for that reason among others, Kamara transferred to Hutchinson (Kan.) C.C. As a five-star JUCO prospect, Kamara then went to Tennessee where he had strong seasons but not off the charts. He was a third-round pick by the New Orleans Saints and that’s where he blossomed into one of the best backs in the league.


52. Matthew Judon

Judon does not appear in the Rivals database since he played at Grand Valley State and the West Bloomfield, Mich., standout had a record-breaking career there. He ended up being a fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.


53. Mike Evans

Evans was a low three-star prospect coming out of Galveston (Texas) Ball mainly because he only played football in his senior season. Other than Texas A&M where he starred in College Station, his only other offers came from Colorado State and Tulane. In two seasons with the Aggies, Evans had 151 catches for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns leading to being the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft.


54. Jeffery Simmons

Rated as a five-star prospect, the No. 1 strong-side defensive end over Nick Bosa and the No. 15 prospect overall, Simmons chose Mississippi State over Ole Miss and Alabama. In three season in Starkville, he finished with 163 tackles and 33 tackles for loss before being being selected No. 19 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.


55. Joel Bitonio

Joel Bitonio
Joel Bitonio (USA Today Sports Images)

Bitonio was a two-star prospect out of Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson who played at Nevada, his lone offer. During his career in Reno, Bitonio played 39 straight games and then was a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He still plays for the Cleveland Browns.


56. Xavien Howard

A two-star out of Houston (Texas) Wheatley, Howard played at Baylor for three seasons after expecting he’d have to go the junior college route. With 98 tackles and 10 interceptions for the Bears during his career, Howard left early and was a second-round NFL Draft pick in 2016.


57. Kyler Murray

Still in the era of being overly concerned about quarterback height, Murray finished as a mid-level four-star and the fifth-best dual-threat QB in the 2015 class although he ended up as the best of that group by far. Murray picked Texas A&M over Oregon, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame and others but after one season transferred to Oklahoma where his career took off. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.


58. Darren Waller

Rated as a three-star safety out of Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb, Waller picked dream school Georgia Tech and played receiver for the Yellow Jackets in coach Paul Johnson’s system. In three seasons, Waller had 51 catches for 971 yards and nine scores but his physical size stood out most at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds as he was a sixth-round pick.


59. Maxx Crosby

Maxx Crosby
Maxx Crosby (USA Today Sports Images)

Crosby was a two-star defensive end out of Colleyville (Texas) Heritage and his only offer was from Eastern Michigan. He was a fourth-round selection of the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2019 NFL Draft.


60. Corey Linsley

Ohio State, Stanford and Notre Dame were the frontrunners for the four-star from Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman and he committed to the Buckeyes in the spring before his senior year. Linsley played across the offensive line at Ohio State and then was a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2014.


61. Russell Wilson

A two-star from Richmond (Va.) Collegiate, Wilson picked NC State over an offer from Duke and interest from North Carolina and Louisville where he played football and baseball. Wilson then transferred to Wisconsin to finish out his college career. He was a third-round NFL Draft pick where he spent nearly a decade in Seattle winning a Super Bowl and becoming one of the best players in the league. He now plays for the Denver Broncos.


62. Chandler Jones

A two-star tight end out of upstate New York, Jones’ only offer was from Syracuse where he didn’t play his first year and then totaled 147 tackles and 10 sacks over the next three years. Jones was a first-round pick by the New England Patriots where he played for a few years, then in Arizona and now he plays for the Las Vegas Raiders.


63. Jaylen Waddle

Alabama and Texas A&M were the main finalists for the five-star receiver with Oregon, TCU and Florida State also under consideration. Waddle earned his fifth star after dominating at the Army All-American Bowl and it panned out as he put up big stats in three years with the Crimson Tide and then he was the sixth overall pick in the 2021 draft.


64. Devin White

Devin White
Devin White (USA Today Sports Images)

Rated as a four-star fullback, the Springhill (La.) North Webster standout also played linebacker and was a tackling machine at LSU. There were some off-field issues while in high school but many national powers were involved since White was so talented. After three years in Baton Rouge, White was the fifth overall pick in 2019.


65. Derek Carr

A low three-star out of Bakersfield (Calif.) Christian, Carr committed to Fresno State over SMU and Utah after starting his high school career in Texas. As a senior, Carr threw for more than 4,000 yards with 46 touchdowns but only received one Power Five offer. The three-star put up massive numbers at Fresno State and then was an early second-round pick of the Las Vegas Raiders.


66. DeForest Buckner

Oregon was the front-runner and the Ducks won out for Buckner, who was also considering Cal and UCLA and while he was a four-star prospect the Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou standout was not ranked nearly high enough. Buckner had an impressive career in Eugene and then was picked seventh overall in the 2016 draft.


67. Budda Baker

In a loaded safety class, Baker was No. 10 at the position and one notch away from five-star status along with being the top-rated player in the state of Washington. Baker finished with nearly 200 tackles and five interceptions in three seasons for the Huskies and then the high four-star was an early second-round pick in the 2017 draft.


68. Zack Martin

A four-star prospect who picked Notre Dame over Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and others, Martin became the starting left tackle for the Irish after redshirting in his first year. Martin was the No. 16 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and has played with the Dallas Cowboys since.


69. Cameron Jordan

Arizona, Cal, Colorado and Oregon State were the four finalists for Jordan, a three-star defensive end out of Chandler, Ariz., who picked the Golden Bears shortly before signing day. He played in 50 of 51 games in Berkeley and then was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2011 draft.


70. Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu
Tyrann Mathieu (USA Today Sports Images)

A four-star cornerback out of New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine who picked LSU over Tennessee after landing his offer at summer camp, Mathieu was a turnover-producing machine in Baton Rouge and earned the nickname “Honey Badger.” Everything was going so well there until he was dismissed from the team in 2012. After a year off, Mathieu was still a third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals. He now plays for New Orleans.


71. Jason Kelce

A former walk-on running back at Cincinnati, Kelce eventually switched over to offensive line and then excelled there during his time with the Bearcats. He was not in the Rivals database and thus doesn’t have a ranking. Kelce was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.


72. Quandre Diggs

The brother of Quentin Jammer, Diggs visited Texas numerous times before landing his offer from the Longhorns and committing shortly after it came through. TCU, Texas A&M, Alabama and many other elite programs offered the four-star prospect who was rated as the fourth-best cornerback in the class. A safety with the Seattle Seahawks, Diggs was a sixth-round draft pick.


73. Cordarrelle Patterson

Rated as the fourth-best JUCO prospect in the 2012 class and one notch below five-star status, Patterson picked Tennessee over LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and others. A utility player who could contribute on offense or defense, the former Hutchinson (Kan.) C.C. standout was a late first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.


74. DeMario Davis

A two-star linebacker coming out of Brandon, Miss., Arkansas State was Davis’ only offer and that’s where he played. Davis was a standout for the Red Wolves and then was a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.


75. Antoine Winfield Jr.

A two-star prospect who played at The Woodlands, Texas but spent part of his high school days in Minnesota, Winfield picked the Golden Gophers over a handful of other Power Five offers. At Minnesota, Winfield was especially a star in his senior season with 83 tackles and seven interceptions. That season helped him become a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.