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Five players at the NFL Combine making a name for themselves from outside the box.

DALLAS GOEDERT, TE, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

He has grown from an FCS walk-on to one of the top prospects at tight end in this year’s draft. But after racking up nearly 200 catches and 3,000 receiving yards the past two seasons, he’s no secret anymore.

NATHAN SHEPHERD, DT, FORT HAYS STATE (KANSAS)

The Ontario native proved he belonged with the big boys last month at the Senior Bowl before suffering a broken hand. He’ll look to build on that at the combine, showing off some of that explosive talent.

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MICHAEL JOSEPH, CB, DUBUQUE (IOWA)

He’s the only Division III prospect among the 336 players invited to the combine, where NFL teams will be interested to see how fast he runs the 40. But Joseph already has shown enough quickness and ballhawking talent to be a late-round pick.

DARIUS LEONARD, LB, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE

As a weakside linebacker, Leonard made play after play in college, racking up 113 tackles, eight sacks and a pair of interceptions. And in a league where speed kills, he has the wheels to make plays in coverage, too.

ALEX CAPPA, OT, HUMBOLDT STATE (CALIFORNIA)

A Division II All-American at left tackle, Cappa’s game film is loaded with clips of him rag-dolling opponents. He flashed some of that ability at the Senior Bowl as well. The combine will give teams another chance to evaluate his strength and athleticism.

john.niyo@detroitnews.com

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