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Heel Tough Blog: 2023 Post All-Star Game Draft Rankings

This past weekend was the conclusion to the 2023 NFL Draft all-star games, as offensive lineman Asim Richards competed as the lone Tar Heel representative in the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Saturday. Wednesday kicked off the next step of the pre-draft process as the NFL Combine invites were officially handed out. Here is a breakdown of where the draft stock of the four former Tar Heels that received those invitations stands heading into the event next month. 

WR Josh Downs

Jim Dedmon- USA Today Sports

The Draft Network: 2nd Round, No. 6 WR

Pro Football Focus: 1st-2nd Round, No. 5 WR

ESPN: 1st-2nd Round, No. 5 WR 2nd-4th Round, No. 11 WR

Pro Football Network: 1st-2nd Round, No. 4 WR

Drafttek: 1st-2nd Round, No. 4 WR

NFL Draft Buzz: 1st-2nd Round, No. 5 WR

NFL Mock Draft Database: 2nd Round, No. 6 WR

Downs will head to Indianapolis on the borderline of Day 1 and Day 2 and he will have a chance to push himself firmly into the back end of the first round. This is the type of event that should allow him to boost his stock, especially if he can improve upon a really solid 4.47 40-yard dash time that he ran in his junior year of high school. He will have to overcome the challenges that slot receivers have had with falling on draft night, but it seems like he has at least secured being selected in the first two rounds. Now the question is, how high can he climb?

OT Asim Richards

Charles LeClaire- USA Today Sports

The Draft Network: 4th-5th Round, No. 12 OT

Pro Football Focus: 6th Round, No. 17 OT

ESPN: 6th Round, No. 9 OG

Pro Football Network: 7th-Undrafted, No. 25 OT

Drafttek: Undrafted, No. 32 OT

NFL Draft Buzz: Undrafted, No. 27 OT

NFL Mock Draft Database: 6th-7th Round, No. 17 IOL

Richards was a bit of a surprise declaration when he made his decision a few weeks ago, but he heads to Indy with some legitimate stock. He wasn’t exactly a standout in Mobile, but he had a pretty solid week down there while spending most of his time taking reps at guard. This setting won’t allow him to really showcase his ability to play guard, which is where his future will likely be at the next level. Instead, this will give him the chance to showcase some of the athleticism that did allow him to thrive at times with the Tar Heels at tackle. Richards has a chance to really help himself, but at the least he can seal his status as a draftable prospect with a solid showing.

WR Antoine Green

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

The Draft Network: Undrafted, No. 37 WR

Pro Football Focus: Undrafted, No. 40 WR

ESPN: Undrafted, No. 42 WR 6th-Undrafted, No. 40 WR

Pro Football Network: 6th-7th Round, No. 32 WR

Drafttek: Undrafted, No. 40 WR

NFL Draft Buzz: Undrafted, No. 38 WR

NFL Mock Draft Database: Unranked

Green was one of the players that shined in East-West Shrine Bowl practices for the East squad, so he will roll in with a little momentum. He was able to showcase that ability to stretch the field in Vegas and if he can run well in Indy, it will be hard to see him not climbing some teams’ draft boards heading into his pro day. This is a great opportunity to prove those that are still doubting wrong and show him that he is a draftable prospect.

LB Noah Taylor

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

The Draft Network: Unranked

Pro Football Focus: Unranked

ESPN: Unranked

Pro Football Network: Unranked 

Drafttek: Unranked

NFL Draft Buzz: Undrafted, No. 57 LB

NFL Mock Draft Database: Undrafted, No. 39 LB

Taylor was the shocker of those that were handed invites, especially with his health status uncertain after suffering a season-ending right knee injury. He will enter with the event with the most to prove among the Tar Heel draft hopefuls with him void from the majority of draft boards. Regardless of if he can participate in the on-field drills or not, he will have a chance to interview with teams and prove that he is worth taking a flier on in camp.


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