The NFL Draft is upon us! Later today, we’ll see the first round of the NFL’s biggest offseason event as 32 of the best young football players in the country have their childhood dreams come (at least partially) true. This year, that’s not likely to happen for any Tar Heels on Thursday. As we’ve profiled over the course of this month, the three former UNC players most likely to be drafted are all probably Day 3 prospects: Malik Carney, Anthony Ratliff-Williams, and William Sweet. Still, every NFL draftee gets a contract and a chance to prove themselves to a professional squad, and while that’s the case for workout players and undrafted free agents as well, having a draft pick attached to you puts you a bit ahead. So, let’s take a look at how the mock drafts are predicting former Tar Heels to do in this year’s event.
I’m using 7-round mock drafts from sports reporting websites, and only mocks published in April. With that said, let’s begin:
- Dane Brugler of The Athletic released a 7-round mock draft back at the beginning of the month. In it, he has defensive end Malik Carney going in the 5th round, to the Houston Texans at pick 161. Four picks later, he predicts linebacker Cole Holcomb being selected by the Dallas Cowboys with their fifth-round pick after some reports of particular interest from Jerry Jones and crew.
- In their series of one-team 7-round mock drafts, writers of The Draft Network have either the Indianapolis Colts (with pick 6.201) or the Buffalo Bills (with pick 6.181) selecting Carney, and the Cincinnati Bengals adding Anthony Ratliff-Williams to support their wide receiver corps at pick 6.198.
- In his 7-round draft for NFL.com, Chad Reuter predicts that three Heels will be drafted: Carney by the Denver Broncos at 6.182, Holcomb by the Atlanta Falcons at 6.186, and Ratliff-Williams to Washington in the 7th round, at pick 253. He’d be second to last to be picked, like former teammate Austin Proehl in 2018.
- Luke Easterling of USA Today’s DraftWire is the first of these mock drafters not to think Carney will be the first Heel taken. Ratliff-Williams takes that spot at 6.200 to the Los Angeles Chargers. Carney goes in the seventh round in this mock, at pick 244 to the New Orleans Saints.
- That’s all the good 7-round mocks I can find, but I’ll also leave you with this Top 250 Big Board from Pro Football Focus. It’s really odd how they and only they seem to value offensive tackle Will Sweet, putting him at 184 on this list. Carney follows at 205, then Ratliff-Williams at 240.
We wish all of the Tar Heel draft hopefuls the best of luck this weekend and in their professional careers!