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Bengals take Rebels WR Core; others sign FA deals

Wide receiver Cody Core was the final Ole Miss player taken in this year’s NFL Draft, capping the most successful draft for the Rebels in the modern era.

After Ole Miss went without any players being selected on the draft’s second day Friday, Core went to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday with the 24th pick in the sixth round (199th overall). Core went a round after offensive tackle Fahn Cooper, who was taken with the 174th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

Core and Cooper joined first-rounders Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche to give Ole Miss five total picks, the most Ole Miss has produced in a single draft since the draft went to a seven-round format in 1994.

A late bloomer, the lightly recruited Core broke in as a starter in 2014 after beginning his career as a defensive back, catching 78 passes for 1,202 yards and 10 touchdowns his final two seasons. His 17.4 yards per catch ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference last season.

The 6-foot-3 Core further raised his profile with some strong numbers at the scouting combine and at Ole Miss’ pro day last month. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the combine in February and recorded a vertical jump of 37.5 inches at his pro day, a six-inch improvement from the combine.

Other former Ole Miss players will get a shot to make an NFL team after signing as undrafted free agents.

Safety Trae Elston wasn’t drafted despite starting 44 games for the Rebels and turning in an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.46 at Ole Miss’ pro day, but the 5-11, 195-pound Elston signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Fellow defensive back Mike Hilton inked with the Jacksonville Jaguars while linebacker/defensive end C.J. Johnson and defensive tackle Woody Hamilton inked with the New England Patriots. Defensive end Channing Ward signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.