Special Report to Blowing Rock News from App State Sports. By Mike Flynn. March 1, 2016. BOONE, NC — Following a strong showing at the National Football League Combine, Appalachian State University defensive end Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) was tabbed as the No. 65 overall prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft by Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.
COVER IMAGE By Brad Batchelor for Blowing Rock News
In his latest “2016 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 100 Prospects” article, SI’s Chris Burke lists Blair at No. 65 overall, the No. 11 prospect from a non-”power conference” program and the No. 7 defensive end in next month’s NFL Draft, which is slated for April 28-30 in Chicago. Blair is the only Sun Belt Conference representative on Burke’s “Big Board.”
The Cleveland Browns own the 65th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft (second pick of the third round) and should Blair go in that slot, he would match linebacker Dexter Coakley (Dallas Cowboys -1997) as the fourth-highest NFL Draft pick in Appalachian State history. Current Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (second round, 33rd overall – 2012) is the highest-ever selection from Appalachian, followed by linebacker Dino Hackett (second round, 35th overall – Kansas City Rams, 1986) and wide receiver Dexter Jackson (second round, 58th overall – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008).
Blair improved his draft stock by impressing coaches, general managers and scouts at the NFL Combine last weekend in Indianapolis. Most notably, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times, which was tied for the second-most reps among all defensive linemen at the Combine (Georgia’s Chris Mayes had 33 reps). Blair also displayed prototypical size, measuring at 6-2 and 284 pounds with 34-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands.
Up next for Blair is Appalachian State’s Pro Day. Blair and eight of his former Mountaineer teammates — wide receiver Bobo Beathard (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield), offensive lineman Jesse Chapman (Cookeville, Tenn./Cookeville), offensive lineman Davante Harris (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood), wide receiver Malachi Jones (Roswell, Ga./Central Gwinnett), place kicker Zach Matics (Jacksonville, N.C./Southwest-Onslow), wide receiver Simms McElfresh (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian), defensive back Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) and linebacker Osvaldo Sombo (Matthews, N.C./Butler) — will work out for NFL scouts during the Mountaineers’ annual Pro Day on March 31.