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Mock Draft Roundup: UNC Edition

Let’s see where people think UNC’s prospective professionals might be headed

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NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It might have snuck up on you, but the NFL Draft starts tomorrow! The event of the football offseason will begin at 8:00 PM Eastern from Las Vegas and go through the next two days as well... you know how this works. UNC, of course, sent five alumni to the NFL Combine who are hoping/expecting to be drafted over the course of the event, and as pre-draft activities draw to a close, here’s a compilation of the available information about how each of their processes has gone and where they’re being projected to go in the draft. Keep in mind that I’m only using 7-round mock drafts for this exercise — you have to go that deep to get to several of UNC’s picks anyways and it’s an exercise that really separates out the hardest workers in the industry. We’ll have draft profiles for most of these players going up over the course of the next two days.

Sam Howell

Howell seemingly suffered from a lot of prospect fatigue for the period of time immediately after the Combine; a lot of the discussion around this draft’s quarterbacks seemed to sideline him in favor of not just the apparent top 2 — Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett — but also his ostensible peers, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corrall. Mock drafts at the beginning of April frequently had him falling to the back of the second or even the beginning of the third round. His media stock has been rebounding lately thanks to teams’ actions, though. It didn’t mean much when Jim Nagy said sources were telling him Howell sneaking into Round 1 wouldn’t be a surprise to him, because he shamelessly boosts anybody who’s participated in the Senior Bowl on information that’s tenuous at best. Tom Pelissero saying he’s among the guys who teams would like to trade into the back of Round 1 for, though, is legitimately something to keep an eye on. The Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Indianapolis Colts are the teams reported to have had Howell in for a top-30 visit. There could be others as well, but that’s what’s been reported. Here’s what the mock drafts are saying:

Ty Chandler

Chandler’s stock has been slowly but steadily growing ever since he ran under 4.4 at the NFL Combine, as evaluators seem to like not just his speed but also his experience as a returner, contact balance, and hands out of the backfield. He’s gone from a fringe draft prospect to somebody who will almost certainly be drafted on Day 3, if not earlier. He’s had Top-30 visits with at least the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks; the former especially makes all the sense in the world if the 49ers are making contingency plans for a post-Deebo Samuel world. Here’s where he slots in the mock drafts:

Joshua Ezeudu

While there isn’t a bunch being said about Ezeudu, as you might expect for a mid-round offensive lineman, the swingman certainly has been busy. He’s had top-30 visits with the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys, and also possibly the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and Buffalo Billsthe source on those is a little iffy. I’m not sure his stock has changed much; he was at the border of Day 2 and Day 3 before and that’s about where he stands now:

Jeremiah Gemmel

Gemmel’s got to have had one of the quietest pre-draft processes I’ve ever covered for a Heel who was invited to the Combine. There hasn’t been so much as a peep about any teams being interested in him since his Pro Day, which was pretty much his only opportunity to showcase himself in a practice setting in front of evaluators because he left the Combine only having done interviews. Still, the linebacker is a mainstay at the back end of mock drafts for his closing speed, sure tackling, and demonstrated leadership.

  • TA: R6, P3 (182nd overall) to the New York Giants
  • CBSS: R7, P29 (240th overall) to the Washington Commanders
  • PFN: Undrafted
  • NFL: R5, P33 (176th overall) to the Dallas Cowboys
  • SN: Undrafted

Marcus McKethan

While McKethan was invited to the Combine, his getting drafted isn’t a sure thing. Guards have relatively low value in the draft and a lot of quality ones have slid way down in the draft or even out of it entirely in the past few seasons, so that’s worth keeping in mind. It is notable, though, that the New York Jets apparently really like McKethan. They weren’t going to use a top-30 visit on a Day 3 prospect, but interest at all is a good sign for him, especially for a team that employs the guy he helped rewrite the UNC running back record book. McKethan is undrafted in every reputable 7-round mock draft I could find.

Kyler McMichael

McMichael wasn’t invited to the combine, but the defensive back’s elite athletic traits and a good Shrine Bowl showing are apparently attractive enough for some draftniks to project him as a Day 3 pick. CBS Sports has him going late in the 7th round, 250th overall, to the Minnesota Vikings; Pro Football Network has him as the first pick of the 6th round, 180th overall, to the Jacksonville Jaguars; and NFL.com has him mid-6th, 193rd overall, to the Dallas Cowboys.