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Coming home? Prospects that fit with hometown NFL franchises

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Pre-draft meetings between teams and draft prospects are happening every day, but one in particular caught our eye: Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries recently had dinner with Carolina Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko.

That the Panthers need offensive line help is obvious even to casual NFL fans, but what interested us is that Humphries is a Charlotte native. That got us to thinking: Who are some other prospects who would fill a need for a hometown team and also would make sense in terms of where a team will be drafting?


» Draft Winds: Linking prospects to specific NFL teams


For instance, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper is a Miami native and the Dolphins likely would love to add a player of his talent to the roster. But the Dolphins pick 14th, and unless they move up in the first round, they have no shot at Cooper.

Here are 10 prospects who fit both of our criteria and could want to prove that you can go home again.

WR Nelson Agholor, USC

Hometown team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
High school: Tampa Berkeley Prep
The skinny: Agholor has the ability to play in the slot, and certainly would make for an interesting addition to a wide receiver corps that already includes Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. His selection also would make sense as the Bucs look to add more offensive weapons. Agholor almost certainly will be available when the Bucs make their second-round pick (No. 2 in the round and 34th overall); he probably won't be there when they pick first in the third round (65th overall).

RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State

Hometown team: Dallas Cowboys
High school: Frisco (Texas) Liberty
The skinny: With DeMarco Murray gone, the Cowboys need a replacement. Ajayi lacks top-end speed, but he still rushed for 1,823 yards and 28 TDs in 2014; he also is an accomplished receiver, having caught 50 passes in '14. Ajayi is not worth a first-round pick, but he would make sense -- if available -- in the second round when the Cowboys make the 60th overall pick.

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OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson

Hometown team: Atlanta Falcons
High school: Adairsville (Ga.) High
The skinny: We're stretching things a bit here, as Adairsville is about 60 miles north of Atlanta. The Falcons need a pass rusher, for sure, and Beasley obviously should be enticing at No. 8 overall. He was an impressive prospect, anyway, but his combine performance and pro-day showing have solidified his status, and he now seems likely to go in the top 10. (If Atlanta were to draft strictly Atlanta-area prospects, it would have a mighty solid draft. And if you want a guy who is from a closer Atlanta suburb and makes sense, what about William & Mary WR Tre McBride, from Ola High in McDonough, in the middle rounds? The Falcons need a young receiver, and McBride could step into the Roddy White role.)

DT Carl Davis, Iowa

Hometown team: Detroit Lions
High school: Sterling Heights (Mich.) Stevenson
The skinny: Yes, the Lions acquired Haloti Ngata from Baltimore on Tuesday. They still need another tackle and Davis should be enticing. Don't look at his lack of eye-opening stats at Iowa; he was asked to play a certain role there (Iowa wants its DTs to take up blockers and create space for its LBs), and looks to have the athleticism needed to be disruptive. Taking him 23rd overall appears to be a slight reach; then again, he almost certainly wouldn't be there when the Lions pick in the second round (22nd, which is 54th overall).

C Andy Gallik, Boston College

Hometown team: Chicago Bears
High school: Chicago Brother Rice
The skinny: The Bears could use a young center. Gallik -- who was a three-year starter on a physical O-line at BC -- is a projected third-day draftee who could become an NFL starter.

WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland

Hometown team: Washington Redskins
High school: Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel
The skinny: The Redskins certainly wouldn't mind drafting D.C. native Eddie Goldman, the defensive tackle from Florida State, but Goldman isn't worth the No. 5 overall pick and almost certainly would be gone when the Redskins pick in the second round. Diggs is another D.C.-area native who would fit. He is an explosive playmaker, but he has had injury issues and seems likely to last until at least the third round and could be available in the fourth. Miami Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins and Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller are other Good Counsel alums.

OT D.J. Humphries, Florida

Hometown team: Carolina Panthers
High school: Charlotte Mallard Creek
The skinny: NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently described the Panthers' tackle situation as "awful." Humphries was a mega-recruit out of high school but was inconsistent at Florida. But he is athletic for a big man, and his best football appears to be ahead of him. He is drawing a lot of attention as a potential first-round pick and would make sense when the Panthers pick 25th in the first round. North Carolina QB Marquise Williams and Tennessee WR Marquez North are other Mallard Creek graduates.

CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

Hometown team: Baltimore Ravens
High school: Clarksville (Md.) River Hill
The skinny: Johnson (6-foot-0 1/4, 188 pounds) has good size and had a strong combine and a good pro day. He runs well, and while he needs to add some bulk, he is a tough guy who would fit nicely in Baltimore's defensive scheme. He could end up going late in the first round, and would make sense with the Ravens' 26th overall pick. The Ravens definitely need to find a CB in the draft. Former high school and college teammate Michael Campanaro was a rookie wide receiver with the Ravens this season.

TE MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois

Hometown team: St. Louis Rams
High school: Kirkwood (Mo.) High
The skinny: A receiving tight end with speed who can get deep? Pruitt fits that description. And the Rams could use one of those. He opened a lot of eyes by running a 4.58 in the 40 at the combine. He might not have prototypical size (6-2 1/4, 251), but his receiving ability makes up for that. Pruitt finished his career with a school-record 221 receptions and was a two-time FCS first-team All-American. He's another guy who looks to be a mid-round pick. He attended the same high school as Jeremy Maclin.


» Mike Mayock's top five 2015 NFL Draft prospects by position


CB Eric Rowe, Utah

Hometown team: Houston Texans
High school: Spring (Texas) Klein
The skinny: If you like big corners, you'll like Rowe (6-0 3/4, 205), who started for three seasons at free safety for the Utes before moving to cornerback in 2014. He is a physical corner, though he lacks top-end speed. Rowe had three picks and an impressive 34 pass breakups in his career. The Texans' secondary has some issues, to be sure, and Rowe could provide some help as a mid-round pick. UTEP TE Eric Tomlinson is another Klein alum in this draft.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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