The NFL Draft is finally among us! After what many would call (and have called) far too long a time after the end of the NFL postseason, the biggest event of the NFL offseason will commence on Thursday, April 26 and take place over three days, ending on Saturday, April 28. While UNC fans don’t have quite the investment in this year’s draft as we did last year, with 7 potential draftees, we still have two names to look out for with a potential third or fourth possible. Those are, of course, those of M.J. Stewart and Andre Smith, with Austin Proehl and Cayson Collins being the long shots. Now that basically all the predictions are done with, let’s take a look at where UNC’s guys are being projected to go.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com is likely the most prominent of the names to be featured here. He slots Stewart in the 4th round, at pick 4.12 (112 overall). He does not project Smith to be drafted.
247 Sports, whom I admit I didn’t totally expect to have a 7-round mock draft, has Stewart going early in the 3rd round, specifically at 3.2 (66) to the New York Giants. Smith has to wait a while to hear his name called in this mock, as he slides down to the middle of the 7th and gets picked by the New York Jets at 7.17 (235).
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report made this 7-round mock a while ago, just after the NFL Combine. In it, he predicts that Stewart will get snapped up comparatively early, at 2.12 (44) to the Washington football team. He, like 247, mocks Smith to the Jets, though he’s much nicer about it, slotting Smith in at 5.20 (157).
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout actually puts the two within 7 picks of each other, predicting that both will go in the 4th round. He gives Stewart to the Chicago Bears at 4.15 (115) and Smith to the Buffalo Bills at 4.21 (121). This makes him significantly higher on Smith than basically any other national draft analyst.
Over at USA Today, Luke Easterling puts Stewart in the 3rd round again, this time to the San Francisco 49ers with pick 3.10 (74). He’s higher on Smith’s prospects than 247 was, though, projecting him to be taken at 5.16 (153) by the Detroit Lions.
CBS Sports also has a 7-round mock, but I urge you to ignore it because their NFL Draft coverage has been absolutely nonsensical this season (for example, their Big Board still ranks Orlando Brown as the draft’s top offensive tackle despite historically poor testing numbers, and Mason Rudolph as the draft’s top quarterback). As for me, if I have to guess, I’m giving M.J. Stewart to the Oakland Raiders at 3.11 (75) and Andre Smith somewhere in the 6th round, maybe to the Baltimore Ravens at 190 overall. I also suspect Austin Proehl stands a good chance of being drafted in the 7th round, even though he hasn’t been mentioned in anybody’s mock draft that I’ve seen. With his route-running ability and a 4.41 forty-yard dash, he’ll get a chance to play.
Best of luck to this year’s Tar Heel draft hopefuls this weekend, and we hope to see you on Sundays going forward.