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Ex-Cat Wade a solid draft prospect; Criner in the first round?

Trevin Wade

Trevin Wade broke up 13 passes this season. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Nick Foles is the Arizona Wildcats’ top draft prospect, a possible top 50 pick, probably the third or best fourth quarterback available.

Opinions vary on ex-Cat receiver Juron Criner, who has size and a history of big plays, but he perhaps lack desired NFL speed … and he will be scrutinized for being away from the team last summer for what were described as “personal and family matters.”

Then, there is cornerback Trevin Wade.

Wade is a solid draft prospect who will enter the scouting season as a mid- to late-round pick.

“I would characterize him as a day three pick, somewhere in rounds four through seven,” said Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

“It’s going to come down to workouts. If he runs in the 4.4s, considering how well he has played, that really helps him. The reality is he played better as a senior than he did as a junior, and scouts are looking for that.

“Scouts are looking for that mental toughness to come back after a tough year.”

Wade (5-foot-11, 192 pounds) did struggle as a junior, when coaches said his focus and work ethic wavered after he made nine interceptions in his first two seasons. He bounced back in 2011, intercepting two passes and breaking up 13.

“He helped himself a bit this season,” Rang said. “It was good to see him have a strong senior year.”

Wade will play in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 21.

Criner, who is competing against a deep group of big, talented wideouts, has generally been considered mid-round material, with much depending on his 40-yard dash time. The Sporting News is wildly optimistic, putting Criner at No. 30 in the first round in a mock draft posted on its website Wednesday.

The Sporting News has the San Francisco 49ers selecting Criner, writing: “Michael Crabtree improved a lot in 2011, but the Niners still need more production from their receivers. Criner is vastly underrated; we believe he could start immediately and be a playmaker in San Francisco’s offense.”

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