App State’s Ronald Blair rises up draft boards

By Nathan Ham -

BOONE — Appalachian State senior defensive end Ronald Blair was ranked as the 65th best prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft, according to a list of rankings released by Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.

The 6-2, 284-pounder finished his senior season with 71 tackles, 19 tackles for loss (most in the Sun Belt) and 7.5 quarterback sacks and was named 2015 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

Last weekend, Blair took part in the NFL Draft Combine and left a good impression on the numerous scouts, coaches and general managers that were in attendance. Blair had the second most 225-pound bench press reps (32) among all defensive linemen.

The list also ranked Blair as the seventh best defensive end available in the draft and the 11th best prospect overall from a non “power conference” such as the Big 10, SEC or the ACC. Blair is the only Sun Belt Conference player that made the list, compiled by Chris Burke.

Blair and the rest of the Mountaineers that are draft eligible have one more chance to impress the head brass of the NFL. Appalachian State will be hosting its annual Pro Day on March 31 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Wide receivers Bobo Beathard, Malachi Jones and Simms McElfresh will be in attendance as well as offensive linemen Jesse Chapman and Davante Harris, defensive back Doug Middleton, linebacker Osvaldo Sombo and kicker Zach Matics.

The 2016 NFL Draft is set for April 28-3 in Chicago and will be televised live on ESPN and NFL Network.

Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87

By Nathan Ham

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