North Carolina looks to extend states long NFL Draft history

More than 900 players from 20 different N.C. college have been drafted

Trevor Ruszkowski—X02835
Mar 3

If the latest rumors are to be believed, UNC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be one of the first players selected in the NFL Draft later this week, and there’s a chance he’ll be taken first overall.If so, he’ll become just the third player from a college in North Carolina to go first overall, and the first who didn’t come from NC State.The Wolfpack have produced the only two top picks in the draft—Mario Williams to Houston in 2006 and Roman Gabriel to the Raiders in the AFC Draft in 1962.All four ACC teams from North Carolina have had a player go in the top two in the draft. UNC has seen running back Ken Willard (1965), linebacker Lawrence Taylor (1981) and defensive end Julius Peppers (2002) chosen with the second pick. Duke had running back George McAfee go second overall back in 1940, and Wake Forest’s Norm Snead was picked number two in 1961.Overall, North Carolina schools have produced 53 first-round picks. UNC has the most, with 23, followed by NC State’s 15. In addition to the Big Four, East Carolina, NC Central, NC A&T and Elon have all had first rounders.Of the Big Four teams, NC State has the longest first-round drought. Duke (Laken Tomlinson) and Wake (Kevin Johnson) had players taken in the first round last year. UNC (Eric Ebron) had one the year before. John McCargo, the third of three Wolfpack first rounders in 2006, was the last NC State player taken in the first round.Duke has the longest drought since having a player taken in the second round (Lennie Friedman, 1999) and third round (Anthony Dilweg, 1989).Twenty North Carolina colleges have had at least one player drafted into the NFL, and the state has had 905 players chosen. UNC tops the list with 227.Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago and the Jets have all been mentioned as potential landing spots for Trubisky. Draft history doesn’t give much help in determining where he’ll end up. The Browns, Niners and Bears have all taken eight UNC players, while the Jets have drafted five.Perhaps the Cardinals are a good dark-horse pick for Trubisky’s landing spot. Arizona sent its quarterback coach to UNC’s pro day and also scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the quarterback. And the Cardinals have drafted more Carolina players than anyone else: 17. The Cardinals have also taken 19 Duke players and 15 Demon Deacons in the draft.The Steelers, Redskins and Giants also have a long history of doing their draft shopping in the state.While some teams return to the area time and time again, others have turned up their noses at North Carolina talent.The Panthers may be based in Charlotte, but they’ve never drafted a Duke, NC State or Wake Forest player. The Ravens have ignored Duke and State, while the Titans and Raiders have yet to draft a Blue Devil or Demon Deacon.The Tar Heels are the only team in the state to have had a player drafted by every NFL team.Assuming Trubisky is drafted at some point, he’ll be the seventh Tar Heel quarterback selected. That will match NC State for the second-most quarterbacks selected (although, according to the way draft picks are announced, State doesn’t get credit for Russell Wilson). Duke, with 12, is the state’s Quarterback U. Wake has only had three passers drafted and none since Mike Elkins in 1989.State is Wide Receiver and Defensive Back U, with 14 and 29 drafted, respectively. North Carolina has had the most running backs (22), tight ends (11), offensive linemen (59), defensive linemen (31) and linebackers (30) taken.