It’s not going to happen with this week’s draft, or even the next year or two, but eventually, Mark Stoops will turn the NFL Draft into an event for Kentucky Wildcat fans. Before John Calipari came to Kentucky, the NBA Draft had become something of a non-event for UK fans to follow. He quickly turned that around in just his first year and made history with six first round picks last year. The NFL Draft is a different animal from the NBA Draft with no “one and done” turnaround and a much longer pool of players to pick from. Regardless, in the next few years, expect Mark Stoops to become the most successful coach in turning Kentucky players into NFL Draftees.
Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips have had some success at getting Kentucky players into the NFL. Randall Cobb, Stevie Johnson, Wesley Woodyard, and Tim Masthay are just a few of the names that have had great success so far. There year, there is an outside chance Larry Warford can sneak into the first round, although second to third round is more likely. Regardless, Warford looks to have a solid future in the NFL. And there are some players that could make the jump into the NFL that will be on Kentucky’s roster next year.
For this, I pooled the WBN football writers (Kyle, Darren Durham, and Jason Marcum) and asked them what players that will currently be on the roster next year that have NFL potential in two to three years. There are a few players (Raymond Sanders, Mister Cobble, Donte Rumph) that with a good year or two could be potential late round draft flyers. But when we get into the Mark Stoops players, there were quite a bit more than could have potential.
Jason Hatcher, Marcus McWilson, Za’Darius Smith, Jaleel Hytchye, Alvonte Bell, Alex Montgomery, and Ryan Timmons are just a few of the players in the 2013 class that could hear their name called in 2016 or 2017. Za’Darius Smith could make an impact in 2015.
The players that will debut for Kentucky in 2014 will have even more potential. Transfer Braylon Heard, Dorian Hendrix, Mikel Horton and Thaddeus Snodgrass have have a legitimate NFL pedigree. And it is just starting for Kentucky as Stoops has been on the job right at six months.
I know that a change in culture is needed for Kentucky football for us to claim that Kentucky will have all these NFL caliber players, but Mark Stoops is absolutely the man for the job. Darren Durham will take a look at what potential NFL players Mark Stoops has developed at FSU on Wednesday at 2:00PM. Be on the lookout for that.