Summary of simulated drafts: UNC edition
You may have missed it, but the NFL Draft starts tomorrow! The football offseason event will begin at 8:00 p.m. EST from Las Vegas and will also run for the next two days…you know how it works. UNC, of course, sent five alumni to the Combine NFL who are hoping/expecting to be drafted during the event, and as pre-drafting activities draw to a close, here is a compilation of available information on how each of their processes went and where they are intended to go in draft. Keep in mind that I’m only using mock 7-round drafts for this exercise – you have to go that far anyway to access multiple UNC choices and it’s an exercise that really separates most workers industry stalwarts. We will have draft profiles for most of these players over the next two days.
Howell apparently suffered from a lot of prospect fatigue in the period immediately following the Combine; much of the discussion around quarterbacks in this draft seemed to sideline him in favor of not just the apparent top 2 – Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett – but also his apparent peers, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corrall. Mock drafts in early April often dropped him on the back of the second or even early round of the third round. However, his media stock has rebounded lately thanks to the teams’ actions. It didn’t mean much when Jim Nagy says sources told him Howell sneaking into Round 1 would come as no surprise to him, as he shamelessly boosts everyone who participated in the senior bowl on tenuous information at best. Tom Pelissero saying he’s one of the guys teams would love to trade at the back of the first round, as it’s legitimately something to watch. the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelersand Indianapolis Colts are the teams that would have had Howell for a top-30 visit. There might be others too, but that’s what has been reported. Here’s what the fake drafts say:
Chandler’s stock has risen slowly but steadily since running under 4.4 at the NFL Combine, as evaluators seem to like not only his speed, but also his experience as a returner, his contact balance and his hands off. from the backfield. He’s gone from a marginal draft prospect to someone who will almost certainly be drafted on Day 3, if not sooner. He had Top 30 visits with at least the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks; the former especially makes sense in the world if the 49ers are making contingency plans for a post-Deebo Samuel world. Here is where he places the dummy drafts:
While there isn’t much to say about Ezeudu, as you’d expect for a midrange offensive lineman, the swingman has certainly been busy. He had top 30 visits with the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboysand possibly also the Chicago BearsOakland Raiders, New England Patriotsand Buffalo Tickets — the source on these is a bit dubious. I’m not sure his stock has changed much; it was on the day 2 and day 3 boundary before and that’s about where it is now:
Gemmel must have had one of the quietest pre-draft processes I’ve ever covered for a guest heel at the Combine. There hasn’t been a single glance at the teams that have been interested in him since his Pro Day, which was pretty much his only opportunity to show up in a practice setting in front of evaluators, as he only left the Combine after doing interviews. Still, the linebacker is a mainstay at the back of the mock drafts for his closing speed, sure tackling and demonstrated leadership.
- TA: R6, P3 (182nd overall) at New York Giants
- CSSC: R7, P29 (240th overall) to Washington commanders
- NFP: Not drafted
- NFL: R5, P33 (176th overall) at Dallas Cowboys
- NS: Not drafted
Although McKethan was invited to the Combine, his writing is not a sure thing. Guards are of relatively low value in the draft and a lot of quality guards have slipped into the draft or even dropped out altogether over the past few seasons, so that’s worth keeping in mind. It should be noted, however, that the New York Jets apparently really like McKethan. They weren’t going to use a top-30 visit on a Day 3 prospect, but interest at all is a good sign for him, especially for a team that employs the guy he helped rewrite the UNC Book of Records. McKethan is undrafted in every reputable fictitious 7-round draft I could find.
McMichael wasn’t invited to the combine, but the defensive back’s elite athletic traits and strong performance in the Shrine Bowl are apparently appealing enough for some draftniks to project him as a Day 3 pick. CBS Sports makes him go late in lap 7, 250th overall, at Minnesota Vikings; Professional football network has him as the first pick of the 6th round, 180th overall, in Jacksonville Jaguars; and NFL.com the mid-6th, 193rd overall, at the Dallas Cowboys.