ACC Players & The NFL Draft
The much-maligned ACC football prowess is somewhat fair when it comes to BCS bowl performance. But the ACC continues to deliver players to the NFL as if it were a top football conference. The 2013 NFL Draft will have plenty of ACC football players being taken. Just take a look at the ESPN projections.
First, let’s review the Todd McShay projections. For the first round, he has the following ACC players being drafted:
- Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina: #11 to the San Diego Chargers
- Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State: #12 to the Miami Dolphins
- Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina: #25 to the Minnesota Vikings
- Menelik Watson, offensive tackle, Florida State: #27 to the Houston Texans
- Bjoern Werner, defensive end, Florida State: #28 to the Denver Broncos
And this is not even counting the future of the ACC, such as Notre Dame products Tyler Eifert and Manti Te’o, and Syracuse’s Justin Pugh.
Mel Kiper’s two-round projections are a bit less ACC-friendly:
- Cooper, #8 to the Buffalo Bills
- Williams, #18 to the Dallas Cowboys
- Rhodes, #24 to the Indianapolis Colts
Kiper does have Eifert and Te’o in the first round as well.
But Kiper’s second round is full of ACC products, including Watson (#35 to the Philadelphia Eagles); Werner (#36 to the Detroit Lions); Syracuse’s Shmarko Thomas (#37 to the Cincinnati Bengals); Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (#41 to the Buffalo Bills); Florida State’s Tank Carradine (#42 to the Miami Dolphins); and Pugh (#47 to the Dallas Cowboys).
The interesting thing is that these lists include representatives of just four teams: Florida State, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Notre Dame. While Florida State and Notre Dame producing NFL talent is not a surprise, North Carolina and especially Syracuse are a bit surprising. And we are not talking just one player here–North Carolina will have two players selected in the first round, while Syracuse may have three players selected in the first three rounds.
Not bad for a couple of basketball schools….
I haven’t had a chance to quantify it yet (I hope to get to it by this weekend), but there is a big factor to keep in mind – the SEC flooded this draft with underclassmen who declared early, while very few ACC players left early. For this reason i expect the ACC to have an impressive draft in 2014.
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