The NFL Draft begins on Thursday, and more than two dozen players with North Carolina connections will be waiting by the phone during the three-day event to see if they get chosen.
Whether they get to try on a hat during Thursday night’s first round or see their name go by on the crawl at the bottom of the screen on Saturday, here’s who has the best shot to get selected (based on NFL.com’s draft rating).
Draft grade 6.00 to 6.50 (Should be instant starter)
Dexter Lawrence, Clemson, DT, 6.19 — The Wake Forest native is the No. 17 prospect and the No. 4 defensive tackle. He’s talented, but his size doesn’t fit what many teams are trying to do on their defensive lines. Mock drafts have him going as high as 19th in the first round and as low as early in round two.
Garrett Bradbury, NC State, C, 6.12 — He’s considered the best interior lineman in the draft and wowed scouts at the NFL combine with his speed. He’s projected for the top 20 in the first round, although some mocks have him slipping to the early second.
Draft grade 5.50 to 5.99 (Chance to be a starter)
Daniel Jones, Duke, QB, 5.81 — One of the biggest wild cards in the draft. Giants GM Dave Gettleman is believed to be in love with the idea of having him replace Eli Manning. Other GMs aren’t as convinced. Mocks have him going as high as No. 5 and as low as the 20s, but he seems a likely first-rounder.
Nate Davis, Charlotte, G, 5.71 — The 316-pounder played right guard for his first three years before switching to right tackle as a senior. He’s expected to go in the third round. He’s strong and athletic but expected to need some time to develop.
Ryan Finley, QB, NC State, 5.65 — Not considered an elite arm in the draft, Finley has impressed in every other area, including speed — running a 40 time that rivaled Duke’s Jones — and intelligence. Supposedly, his Wonderlic score is tops among QB prospects. He’s considered a second- or third-rounder.
Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State, 5.63 — Another Wolfpack player who helped himself at the combine, Pratt has potential but needs development, in the eyes of many NFL personnel people. That means he could go virtually any time between the third and sixth rounds, according to mock drafts.
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State, 5.55 — Ryan Finley’s favorite target didn’t have an outstanding combine, but his performance on the field will get him chosen fairly early — the second or third round, according to most mocks.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford, 5.53 — Like Lawrence, Love is a Wake Forest resident who went elsewhere to play in college. A Doak Walker award winner as a junior, Love suffered an ACL tear during his senior season. Mocks have him going between the fourth and sixth rounds.
Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest, 5.50—The Deacs lineman has been on several team visits during the pre-draft process, but, despite his high draft rating, he’s not a sure thing to be selected. Mocks have him in rounds six or seven, and CBSSports.com has him going undrafted.
Draft grade 5.20 to 5.49 (NFL backup or special teams potential)
Jalin Moore, RB, App State, 5.38 — The Shelby product missed half of his senior year with an ankle injury. He may be the state’s best chance at a Mr. Irrelevant since Duke’s Fred Zirkie in 1969. He’s slotted for the 30th pick of the seventh round in one mock draft, undrafted in the other.
Mark Fields, CB, Clemson, 5.37 — The Charlotte native played his college ball at Clemson. His father was a Pro Bowl linebacker. CBSSports has him going as high as the fourth round, while other mocks have him going in the seventh.
Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina, 5.36— The former walk-on developed into UNC’s highest-rated prospect in the draft after leading the Tar Heels in tackles three straight years. He could go as high as the sixth round or not get selected at all based on the seven-round mock drafts.
Oli Udoh, T, Elon, 5.35 — The Fayetteville native started at right tackle all four seasons with the Phoenix. His size (6-foot-5, 323 pounds) impresses scouts, but he’s considered a project. He could go anywhere between the fifth and seventh rounds.
Tyler Jones, G, NC State, 5.30 — The senior spent time at left guard and right tackle before taking over the left tackle spot for three years. He’s listed as a potential sixth-rounder in some mocks but is undrafted in others.
Malik Carney, Edge rusher, North Carolina, 5.24 — Listed as a sixth-rounder in the NFL.com mock draft, he went unselected in CBSSports.com’s mock. He had 0.81 sacks per game in his senior year, but his four-game suspension kept him from being among the national leaders.
Draft grade 5.01 to 5.19 (Better than average chance to make roster)
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, North Carolina, 5.12 — The big-play receiver and return man came out after his junior year, but he’ll need a little luck to get drafted. NFL.com has him going one spot before Mr. Irrelevant, while he’s not chosen in the other mocks.
Jakobi Meyers, WR, NC State, 5.09 — The former quarterback was a 1,000-yard receiver and first-team All-ACC as a senior. CBS has him as a fifth-rounder.
Draft grade 5.00 (50/50 chance to make NFL roster)
Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest, 5.00 — The redshirt sophomore rewrote the Wake record books as a return man and receiver. CBS has him going to New England in the seventh round.
Draft grade 4.75 to 4.99 (Should be in an NFL training camp)
Daniel Helm, TE, Duke, 4.99 — Undrafted
Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke, 4.99 — Possible fifth-rounder
Clifton Duck, CB, App State, 4.96 — Undrafted
Garrett McGhin, T, ECU, 4.95 — Undrafted
Darryl Johnson, Edge rusher NC A&T, 4.92 — Possible sixth rounder
Terronne Prescod, G, NC State, 4.92 — Possible sixth rounder
William Sweet, T, North Carolina, 4.90 — Undrafted
A. J. Cole, P, NC State, 4.90 — Undrafted