The third Tar Heel in this NFL Draft is off the board, as the Vikings have taken running back Ty Chandler in the fifth round with the 169 overall pick. Chandler played four years at Tennessee before taking advantage of the COVID-created extra year of eligibility to grad transfer to UNC, where he took the reins in the running backs room and set career highs in every category, putting himself on NFL radars in the process. His Combine got even more eyes on him, as he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash to cement himself as one of the Draft’s premier speed merchants at his position, and now he’ll get the chance to take advantage of that in Minnesota.
After a productive but not-special career at Tennessee, Chandler was a great starter for UNC. He rushed for over 1000 yards at 6 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground, adding 1 score through the air within his 15 receptions for 216 yards. He also impressed with his willingness and ability in pass protection, and was also a great lead blocker for his quarterback, who took off a fair bit himself. He clearly developed a great deal into a versatile back while also specializing as a home-run threat, with numerous carries that went for more than 15 yards. His speed changed games for UNC multiple times, and having his experience and talent as a starting running back was key for a UNC team that had lost nearly all of its ballcarrying experience to the previous draft.
Congrats to Ty on his selection and we’re all wishing him the best.