Seattle drafts Russell Wilson in 3rd round

Former N.C. State quarterback among area players picked

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 27, 2012 

Brian Quick got a hearty welcome to the NFL from two legends, Zach Brown got blasted by a Super Bowl-winning coach.

The pair of in-state products to go in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night got different introductions to the league.

And a pair of former N.C. State players went in the third round. Receiver T.J. Graham was a surprise, going to Buffalo with the 69th overall pick, while former teammate Russell Wilson waited until the 75th pick to hear his name. The Seattle Seahawks took the former N.C. State and Wisconsin quarterback with the 12th pick in the third round.

Quick, a receiver from Appalachian State, was the first pick of the second round, 33rd overall, and was introduced at the draft in New York by former St. Louis receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

Brown, an outside linebacker from the University of North Carolina, got an earful on the ESPN broadcast from former Tampa Bay and Oakland coach Jon Gruden. The Tennessee Titans took Brown with the 52nd overall pick, the 20th in the second round, which prompted Gruden to call Brown a “track man playing football.”

“This is all based on athletic ability and speed,” Gruden said during the broadcast. “When you watch Brown play, he’s raw. He plays all over the place. I don’t know what he’s being coached to do at times. He has some awkward alignments, awkward stances. He’s a track man playing football.”

Brown had a productive season for the Tar Heels in 2011. He led the team with 105 tackles and was tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Defensive end Quinton Coples, the first-round pick of the New York Jets on Thursday, was the only North Carolina with more tackles for loss than Brown’s 13.5.

Still, Gruden had the same questions about Brown’s effort, as many draft experts said about Coples.

“I don’t know what else to say other than he gets bounced around a lot,” Gruden said. “He doesn’t play hard all the time but he has tremendous speed and he’s going to be a guy they try to develop at Tennessee.”

Quick’s NFL welcome was much warmer. Holt, the former N.C. State star, and Bruce, helped the Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV.

“It was an honor,” Quick told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I feel like they passed down the torch. I feel like I have a lot to do. They’re saying you have to come in and work hard do the things it takes to be a Ram.”

Quick caught 71 passes for the Mountaineers last season for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns. At 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds, he gives third-year quarterback Sam Bradford a big, downfield target.

Graham led the Wolfpack with 46 catches for 757 yards and seven touchdowns. The Buffalo Bills took him with the 69th overall pick, the sixth in the third round. Before the draft, Graham was projected as a seventh-round pick by NFL.com. Graham’s speed, he ran a 4.41 in the 40 at the combine, and his return skills, he had four kick returns for touchdowns in his career.

Wilson, a two-time All-ACC quarterback at N.C. State who graduated and led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 2011, was not picked in the second round and was not among the first 12 players taken in the third round.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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