At 7:30 PM tonight the NFL draft will get unde..."/>

At 7:30 PM tonight the NFL draft will get unde..."/>

Where will your favorite Wildcats go in the NFL Draft?


By Kyle

At 7:30 PM tonight the NFL draft will get underway and While the history of Kentucky football isn’t quite on the level of the basketball team, the success experienced recently is putting more of the Wildcats among the professional ranks. While it would be a long shot to see any of our Cats drafted tonight, there are certainly reasons to watch over the next three days.

The first Cat to go will probably be Cornerback Trevard Lindley. After being mentioned as a fringe first rounder last year, Lindley returned to Kentucky to finish his senior year only to be sidelined by injuries for much of the campaign. An uncharacteristically bad showing at the Senior Bowl followed by a solid yet unspectacular combine performance has dropped his stock considerably. Regardless, Lindley’s body of work over the past four years should certainly be enough to get him drafted somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds. The need for Cornerbacks in the pass-happy league and the memory of Lindley matching AJ Green and Julio Jones may end up helping push him higher than the experts think.

My call: 4th Round / Pick #115 NY Giants

John Conner proved his versatility over the course of the last four years and should finally get the opportunity to be in the NFL by Saturday. Likely one of the top two players taken at Fullback, Conner will slip further than he should because NFL offenses are moving away from traditional Fullbacks and towards the H-back. Expect a team with a big name Running back to grab Conner so they can make sure their rusher has no trouble finding open lanes.

My call: 4th Round / Pick #119 NE Patriots

Perhaps no Kentucky player has helped their draft stock more than Defensive Tackle Corey Peters. He was a highly rated lineman out of high school, but his consistently stellar play has helped his name to circulate among NFL scouts. With the versatility to play Defensive End in the 3-4 scheme, his ability to offer different teams different things should help him considerably. Plus, just like at the college ranks, big athletic linemen will always be a premium.

My call: 4th Round / Pick #122 GB Packers

Micah Johnson has definitely had an impact at Kentucky, and I think he’ll have an impact in the NFL too. While injuries have never allowed him to truly fulfill his full potential, he’s still been able to perform at the highest level of the SEC. His forty times at the combine and UK’s pro day were probably not what he was hoping for though and may have officially limited his potential suitors to teams that need help on the inside of their 3-4 defense. No matter what his forty time was, he has the size and strength to plug the running lanes and there will surely be a team that can use some help to stop the run.

My call: 5th Round / Pick #151 PIT Steelers

One of my favorite players of the last few years has gone from an unheard of special teams player and former two star recruit, to one of the surprise options of teams needing help at Outside Linebacker. Sam Maxwell was arguably the most improved player in the SEC this year and has played his way into the conversation of being drafted. With more teams switching over to the 3-4 defensive alignment, Sam will probably go a little lower than he would have just a couple years ago. Linebackers that can effectively cover the flats and short zones will always have a chance to make an NFL roster and the NCAA’s leader in interceptions amongst Linebackers is certainly up to the challenge.

My call: 6th Round / Pick #185 TN Titans

Of all the players that will be picked based on their potential, nobody has surprised scouts more than Alfonso Smith. The blazing speed he possesses will catch your eyes first, but he overwhelming consensus on his value lies on the limited punishment he’s taken over the last few years. Teams needing a spark in their return game could take a shot on Smith and we may be seeing a Willie Parker style story unfold over the next few years with Smith shocking everyone and fulfilling his potential as one of the most gifted athletes in this draft.

My call: 7th Round / Pick #215 OAK Raiders

While Zipp Duncan, Jorge Gonzalez, Justin Jefferies, Christian Johnson, and TC Drake may get a shot at being drafted late on Saturday but they’re more likely to be picked up as free agents on Sunday. All have the talent to make an NFL roster, and some of them will probably even stick through training camp.

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