While we all pored over potential transfers, late recruits, and possible JUCO signings for the basketball program, the NFL Draft kind of snuck up on us a bit. But since the event starts tonight, I figured a look at it was worthwhile.
It would be a major surprise if any Panthers were taken in the first few rounds. So if you've got better things to do on Thursday and Friday during the first few rounds, you shouldn't miss much. Saturday is when there could be some movement regarding a Pitt player. More specifically, Ray Graham.
We've covered Graham's stock a bit earlier and he's proving to be at best, a mid to late round pick and at worst, a free agent pickup. His stock was much higher when he was busy running over and around defenses in 2011, but after the ACL injury, teams are going to be wary of him. That's despite a solid 2012 when he ran for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns, and posted big games against Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Cincinnati.
Because of those games and some of the video game-type moves in 2011, I'm feeling that Graham will get picked.
One guy in the 'not likely but you never know' category would probably be Ryan Turnley, who has fared well in rankings of centers that I've seen. One site calls him a possible 7th round talent. Turnley was All Big East second team last year and has a bit of versatility as he played guard earlier in his career at Pitt.
A guy that I really like but don't believe will be drafted is Jarred Holley. He hasn't had big interception totals the last two years (three total), but had eight his first two seasons. He also racked up about 140 tackles his last two seasons and gets all over the field. If you've watched him, you know he's a pretty smart player. He makes plays and knows what he's doing out there. If a guy like Aaron Berry can make the league, I'm not convinced that Holley can't. And FWIW, this site has Holley as the Kansas City Chiefs' last selection in a mock draft.
And I just don't see anyone else being selected. A guy like Tino Sunseri had a good year, Cam Saddler can make plays, Chris Jacobson is a solid lineman (and National Football Post calls him an underrated one), and Mike Shanahan has potential at tight end, but it will be hard for those guys to get a look. There are just so many similar or better players out there. That's not to say none will play in the league, but getting drafted may be a slim possibility.