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Conner packs a wallop

Why you should be excited about third-round pick James Conner:

-Diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma late in 2015, Conner has been cancer free since May of 2016.

-Conner gained 1,092 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns in 2016. He told Kim Jones of the NFL Network at the NFL Scouting Combine that "I never played my best football" in 2016 because of the proximity of the season to his having undergone 12 chemotherapy treatments, and that he felt healthier and more ready to play as of February

-Conner's career totals at Pitt included 668 carries, 3,733 rushing yards, a 5.6 average and 52 touchdowns.

-He runs the way you might expect a 6-1 1/2, 233-pound running back to run _ violently and downhill. His 4.65 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine wasn't considered a deal-breaker in terms of his NFL potential. "Oh, he'll play," an unnamed NFL head coach told Jones regarding Conner. "He has vision, patience and power."

-Dane Brugler's 2017 NFL Draft Guide assessed Conner as follows: "Conner lacks the explosive change-of-direction skills or pure speed to routinely create with athleticism alone, which will limit his role in an NFL offense. But his north-south, smash-mouth style and resilient character have a place at the next level _ one of the best stories in sports, not just college football."

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