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Medicals will be crucial for draft stock of DBs Winfield, Diggs

Better use a pencil when slating Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs in your next big board.

That’s because both need strong medical evaluations to solidify their draft standing, should either decide to enter early. Winfield has not declared his draft intentions publically, while Diggs is presumably entering the draft after deciding to skip his team’s bowl game.

One NFL draft analyst says Winfield is a “complete player.”

“His main issue is medical and the fact he has missed more than half of the season in both 2018 and 2017 due to injuries,” Pro Football Network draft analyst Tony Pauline wrote in his latest draft mailbag.

Winfield’s injury history is extensive enough that he has already been granted a waiver request for a sixth year of eligibility. That means, technically, Winfield is still eligible in 2020 and 2021.

He played four games in 2017 and 2018 due to separate injuries. Last season, he suffered a torn Lisfranc ligament, which required surgery, during a game against Maryland. The year before, a hamstring injury – also suffered against Maryland in the fourth game – ended his season early. There are questions about his size, too, at 5-foot-10, 205 pounds.

When healthy, though, few question his ability on the field.

 “He’s one of the guys that is always around the football,” Minnesota defensive coordinator Joe Rossi told the Minneapolis Star Tribune earlier this season. “So is that a knack? Is it instincts? Whatever term you want to use, he’s always around the football, and the ball seems to find him.”

Diggs, meanwhile, suffered a broken foot against Arkansas, missing the final nine games, including the College Football Championship. However, like Winfield, Diggs came back strong this season, playing in every game. He had 37 tackles, three interceptions and one fumble recovery this season and allowed a passer rating of 44.5 when targeted, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s also generally considered one of the top-5 cornerback prospects in the 2020 NFL draft. Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah is widely considered the top prospect at the position.

“I think there is a big drop off from Okudah to that second tier of corners, which includes Diggs,” Pauline wrote. “I had high hopes for Diggs prior to the season, which I wrote about, but he was too inconsistent for him to be in the top twelve selections, which I initially believed to be possible.”

Diggs is the No. 25-rated player in the Fanspeak-Steve big board and the No. 20 player in the Fanspeak-Jake big board.

Winfield is the No. 76-rated player in the Fanspeak-Steve big board and the No. 95 player in the Fanspeak-Jake big board.

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