Down year expected in NFL draft for in-state schools

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMay 6, 2014 


UNC tight end Eric Ebron shows off his skills during North Carolina's "Pro Day" in March at Navy Field in Chapel Hill.


  • In-state success

    There wasn’t a player from an in-state school taken in first round of the 2000 draft, but since then 16 from UNC, N.C. State, Wake Forest and ECU have gone in the first round. The state has produced at least one first-round pick in 10 of the previous 13 years. First-round picks since 2001 (with number picked in parenthesis):

    2013: (7) Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC; (28) Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

    2012: (16) Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

    2011: (14) Robert Quinn, DE, UNC

    2009: (4) Aaron Curry, LB, Wake; (29) Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC

    2008: (24) Chris Johnson, RB, ECU; (29) Kentwan Balmer, DT, UNC

    2006: (1) Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State; (22) Manny Lawson, LB, N.C. State; (26) John McCargo, DT, N.C. State

    2004: (4) Philip Rivers, QB, N.C. State

    2003: (18) Calvin Pace, DE, Wake Forest

    2002: (2) Julius Pepper, DE, UNC; (6) Ryan Sims, DT, UNC

    2001: (9) Koren Robinson, WR, N.C. State


    Do draft picks equal wins?

    The number of draft picks over 10 seasons (from 2004 through 2013), compared to the number of wins for 10 seasons (from 2003 to 2012) for each of the nine schools that were in the ACC since 2003:

    Draft picksACC wins
    Florida State5252
    N.C. State3134
    Georgia Tech2350
    Wake Forest1834

    Draft picks by the other ACC schools from 2004-2013: Miami 52, Virginia Tech 41, Pittsburgh 26, Louisville 25, Syracuse 21, Boston College 15

One streak will likely continue for the University of North Carolina in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The rest of the draft for the Tar Heels, and the other in-state schools, probably won’t be as productive as it has been recently.

If tight end Eric Ebron goes in the first round, it will mark the fourth straight year the Tar Heels will have a first-rounder. UNC produced six in the previous six drafts, the most of any ACC school.

The rest of the draft could be more a trickle for North Carolina and N.C. State, compared with the steady stream of picks the schools have combined to produce in the previous three years.

UNC, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Duke had 10 draft picks between them last year, 12 in 2012 and 10 in 2011. UNC defensive end Kareem Martin is projected by CBS Sports to be among Friday’s second-round picks, but then there could be a longer wait before another player from the Triangle comes off the board.

Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell and N.C. State defensive back Dontae Johnson are both projected to go in the last four rounds on Saturday. CBS Sports also has late-round grades for five more players from the five Bowl Subdivision in-state schools. That’s nine total players from five schools with a projected draft grade. By comparison, national champion Florida State has 10.

The relative dearth of prospects this season has been the exception recently for UNC and N.C. State. The Tar Heels had five players drafted last year and a then-ACC record nine in 2011 (eclipsed by FSU’s 11 last year).

N.C. State produced six draft picks in 2012, including quarterback Russell Wilson, who led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl last season.

Winning on draft day has been easier for the Tar Heels and Wolfpack the past 10 years than it has been in ACC play.

In the previous 10 drafts, UNC has produced 32 draft picks, fifth-most among 15 ACC teams (the current 14 teams plus Louisville). N.C. State’s 31 draft picks ranks sixth among the same criteria.

Over the previous 20 drafts, UNC has produced 13 first-round picks, that’s third behind only Miami (33) and Florida State (28). N.C. State hasn’t had a first-round pick since Mario Williams, the No. 1 overall pick, led a trio of Wolfpack players taken in the first round of the 2006 draft.

But in the 10 corresponding seasons, UNC won 35 ACC games (eight of which were later vacated by the NCAA for violations under former coach Butch Davis) and N.C. State won 34.

By comparison, Georgia Tech had 23 draft picks (11th out of 15 teams) and won 50 ACC games. Virginia Tech had 41 draft picks and 57 ACC wins in nine seasons (which is more than any ACC team had in 10 seasons, by the way).

In terms of talent vs. production, Louisville fits in with the Techs. The Cardinals have had three double-digit win seasons since 2003 but only 25 draft picks, which ranks ninth out of the 15 teams.

The Techs prove to be the exception to the rule when it comes to draft talent equaling success. Of the nine schools that were in the ACC in 2003, Florida State has had the most draft picks (52) over a 10-year period and the most ACC wins (52).

Over the same 10-year period, Duke had the fewest draft picks (four) and the fewest ACC wins (12).

The projected in-state draft picks by CBS Sports (with round in parenthesis):

UNC: TE Eric Ebron (1), DE Kareem Martin (2), C Russell Bodine (5-6), T James Hurst (5-6), S Tre Boston (6-7)

Duke: CB Ross Cockrell (5)

N.C. State: DB Dontae Johnson (5-6), TE Asa Watson (7-FA)

Wake Forest: WR Michael Campanaro (5-6), DT Nikita Whitlock (7-FA)

ECU: LB Derrell Johnson (6-7)

Winston-Salem State: LB Carlos Fields Jr. (6)

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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