Joe Davidson

A look at former Sacramento-area high school stars entering NFL draft

Sacramento prep products excel in college competition

Former high school stars Jake Browning, Eddie Vanderdoes, Cameron Smith, Marcus Rios and Dano Graves take their games to the next level.
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Former high school stars Jake Browning, Eddie Vanderdoes, Cameron Smith, Marcus Rios and Dano Graves take their games to the next level.

Here’s a look at some top local former high school football players entering the 2017 NFL draft, with round projections. Click here for a gallery of the players.

Eddie Vanderdoes

Position: Defensive line

College: UCLA

High school: Placer

Projection: Rounds 2-4

Comment: Run-stuffing stopper has battled through injuries.

EddieVanderdoes
UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine on March 5 in Indianapolis. The Placer High graduate is expected to be drafted in the early rounds. David J. Phillip The Associated Press

Ahkello Witherspoon

Position: Cornerback

College: Colorado

High school: Christian Brothers

Projection: Rounds 2-4

Comment: Classic late bloomer has superb coverage skills.

AhkelloWitherspoon
Colorado defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, March 6, 2017. Michael Conroy AP

Cole Hikutini

Position: Tight end

College: Louisville

High school: Pleasant Grove

Projection: Rounds 4-6

Comment: Good hands and good route-runner, which equates to NFL jobs.

ColeHikutini
Louisville tight end Cole Hikutini grabs a short reception and charges to the end zone. The University of Louisville hosted Kentucky, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Jonathan Palmer Lexington Herald-Leader

Thomas Sperbeck

Position: Wide receiver

College: Boise State

High school: Jesuit

Projection: Rounds 4-6

Comment: Impressed scouts with hands and 4.47-second 40-yard dash.

ThomasSperbeck
Former Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck is timed in the 40-yard sprint during BSU Pro Day Thursday, March 30, 2017. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Tanner Vallejo

Position: Linebacker

College: Boise State

High school: Nevada Union

Projection: Rounds 4-7

Comment: Tackling machine is tough and instinctive.

Jordan Carrell

Position: Defensive line

College: American River/Colorado

High school: Roseville

Projection: Rounds 5-7

Comment: Physical, tough and agile at 290 pounds.

Nate Iese

Position: Tight end/linebacker

College: UCLA

High school: Sheldon

Projection: Rounds 6-7

Comment: Played fullback, tight end, linebacker at UCLA; considered a freak athlete.

Marcus Rios

Position: Defensive back

College: UCLA

High school: Cosumnes Oaks

Projection: Rounds 5-7

Comment: Overcame fungal infection in nasal cavity that nearly killed him.

MarcusRios
UCLA defensive back Marcus Rios (9) breaks up a pass intended for California wide receiver Chris Harper, right, during the fourth quarter of a NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in Berkeley. Eric Risberg AP

Steven Moore

Position: Offensive line

College: Cal

High school: Elk Grove

Projection: Rounds 6-7 or undrafted free agent

Comment: Four-year starter at Cal was a team captain for skills, leadership.

Gavin Andrews

Position: Offensive line

College: Oregon State

High school: Granite Bay

Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent

Comment: Ideal NFL size at 6-foot-5, 340 pounds with power; overcame injuries.

GavinAndrews
Oregon State offensive guard Gavin Andrews (62) leads the Beavers in singing the fight song after the team's 42-17 win over Arizona in an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday Nov. 19, 2016. Timothy J. Gonzalez AP

Josh Letuligasenoa

Position: Linebacker

College: Cal Poly

High school: Elk Grove

Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent

Comment: Converted lineman is quick enough to pursue ball carriers.

JoshLetuligasenoa
Josh Letuligasenoa, right, a two-time all-Big Sky honoree as a defensive end at Cal Poly, took several repetitions as a linebacker during position drills on Pro Day. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

With the second pick in the April 27-29 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have multiple needs that could be addressed. Here is who they might pick in the first round, as well as names to look for in later rounds.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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