Yes, this is ridiculously early but interesting nonetheless. NFL.com's Gil Brandt lists the top 100 draft eligible prospects for 2012 putting four Tar Heels on the list.
3. Quinton Coples, Sr., DL, North Carolina
A first-team All-ACC selection in 2010, Coples had 10 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and 12 quarterback pressures.
27. Zach Brown, Jr., LB, North Carolina
He started only four games in 2010 but still led the Tar Heels in tackles. Brown is an excellent special teams player and is good in space.
38. Donte Paige-Moss, Jr., DL, North Carolina
In 11 starts last year, Paige-Moss had 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
89. Tydreke Powell, Sr., DL, North Carolina
Among the few people who actually benefited(sort of) from the NCAA scandal it was Quinton Coples. With Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn out last season, Coples shouldered the load earning All-ACC honors. Now he is being touted as yet another possible first round draft pick for UNC. We will see how the rest shake out once there is actual football. I do expect Zach Brown to have a standout season. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed. The attention given to Coples means Donte Paige-Moss and Tydreke Powell will have their chances to make some noise.
The bottom line from this is UNC has experienced players returning who are getting some NFL attention. In that respect the Tar Heel program is really starting to build some momentum in terms of producing NFL prospects. Now if the NCAA would go ahead and wrap up their business, the program can begin to move on.