Tar Heels on NFL Draft First Round Radar

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight is the NFL Draft(8 PM on ESPN & NFL Network) which stands as simultaneously fascinating and annoying. In many respects it does make for compelling viewing, especially when you add social media to the mix. The second guessing of NFL GMs is a time honored tradition and with the draft people get to do it instantly. At the same time we are talking about countless hours and analysis devoted to a massively glorified version of two captains on the playground picking teams for kickball. The big difference is the guy who gets picked last tonight will still end up with more money than he knows what to do with.

Anyway, there is some Tar Heel interest in the NFL Draft with at least three UNC players being tabbed as early round picks. According to various mock draft at CBS Sports and the NFL Network, it is expected that OG Jonathan Cooper will hear his name called anywhere from 7th all the way down to 20th. In addition to Cooper, DT Sylvester Williams is showing up as a mid-to-late first round pick which would complete an interesting journey for him.

Via Harold Gutmann at the Durham Herald-Sun.

Sylvester Williams didn’t play football until his senior year of high school, and he was only good enough to start one game.

After that, he worked at Modine Manufacturing Company making radiator parts for large trucks before enrolling at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, where the football coaches told him not to bother showing up for tryouts.

Now the North Carolina defensive tackle is expected to complete an unlikely path from the factory floor to the first round of the NFL draft.

UNC star running back Giovanni Bernard is not showing up as a first round pick in most of the mock selections but should be off the board on Friday night during the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The logic goes that unless a running back is can't miss, teams probably won't use first round money on one given the shorter shelf life at that position. In Bernard's case, he does have durability concerns but if he can stay healthy, he should be make some noise on the next level.

For UNC and Larry Fedora, what happens in the NFL Draft is part and parcel to the recruiting game. Top recruits care about many things and primary among them is getting to the NFL. It helps a coach on the recruiting trail if he can point to individuals who played in his program and ended up getting drafted at the next level.

Please be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL Draft section for extensive coverage.

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