In the end it’s all about the draft.
Players have a dream when they get to high school. They get offers from colleges, hoping that they end up in a position a few years later to where they hear their name called in the NFL Draft. By the time the draft hits, some expect it to be early, some are just hoping to hear it period. Either way, the goal is to have your name appear on a card saying a NFL team wants you to join their squad.
This weekend, four players from UNC realized that dream to move on to the next step.
In case you weren’t following along as they were announced, here’s where those four players ended up.
Dows was one of the ones thinking there was a shot he’d hear his name on Thursday, and then early on Friday. Instead, other receivers were taken ahead of him and time kept slipping by before Downs finally heard his name.
He was excited when it happened
In the end, while he had to wait, Downs may have ended up in a great situation to instantly show himself to the NFL. The Colts used their first round pick on Anthony Richardson, the Florida Quarterback who was the subject of a ton of debate. He showed a ton of potential but in a very short time, and it was clear the Colts are trying to get him help to succeed.
The move has been seen positively in Colts circles-Zach Hicks, of SI’s Colts group, called him “The type of receiver that Shane Setichen needed” in his film room break down of Downs. The Athletic’s Zak Keeper called Downs and Julius Brents a “double dose of what the roster needed ($$),” and Ian Valentino of Pro Football Network called Downs one of his biggest “Day two steals”
With a relatively weak division of the AFC South, a new coach, and a new quarterback, Downs has the opportunity to make noise early. Woe be to anyone who doubts he’ll make a name for himself.
Asim Richards impressed enough people to get a Senior Bowl invite, and between that and the work with the teams, he impressed the Cowboys to add him to their offensive line. Richards now jumps on a group tasked with protecting Dak Prescott, as well as helping get their running game going. You can read Akil’s breakdown of Richards here, understanding just how remarkable it is that this is where he will end up.
As one of the marquee franchises in the league, the Cowboys immediately had a breakdown of why Richards was selected, which you can read here. The biggest reason they took Richards is his flexibility, which for an offensive line deep with needs, makes Richards a huge help. Sean Martin over at our sister site Blogging the Boys also broke down how Richards will fit in with his new squad.
The other receiver who fans thought would go to a team was Green, and it was clear that his decision to avoid potential injury by skipping the Holiday Bowl’s horrid field paid off in a 7th Round Selection to one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL last season. Green going to Detroit gives a squad that passed for over 4200 years another downfield threat, and as a 7th Round rookie, he won’t be asked to do too much more than what he did at UNC-get down the field and catch the ball.
John Whiticar of our sister site Pride of Detroit loved the pick, giving his Lions an A for grabbing Antoine. He notes that Green may have more of a shot of making the squad thanks to the hit the team took with the recent betting scandal suspensions, hitting that area the hardest. It’s also important to note that even as a 7th Round pick, Whiticar continued, the Lions don’t have a receiver that slots in at the spot Green plays. CBS Sports also graded the move as an A, so even though he had to wait all day on the last day, Green is going to have a serious chance of catching on.
One last player heard his name called, and it was a mild surprise considering he missed 2⁄3 of the year with a season-ending injury. Ray Vohasek still parlayed his four years at Carolina, many of them starting on the defensive line, into getting his name on an NFL draft card.
Vohasek has his work cut out for him to make the squad. In their grades, CBS Sports only would give the move a C-, essentially saying that Vohasek’s deficiencies are too much to make up for his strengths.
The thing is, though, those strengths were enough to let Ray hear his name called. When Jacksonville opens up their training camp, he’ll be there along with the rest of the team trying to earn a spot. That’s all anyone can ask from the moment they step on a football field.
Congratulations to all of the Tar Heels drafted! You already made us proud, here’s hoping you show each of your new cities why we were!