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Heel Tough Blog: Cedric Gray Becomes Second Tar Heel Off the Board

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

Over the past few years, there has been much to write home about with this Tar Heel defense, except for the play of their linebackers. On Friday night, the captain of the unit for the last two seasons, Cedric Gray, heard his name called in the 4th round of the NFL Draft.

Gray was selected by the Tennessee Titans on Saturday afternoon with the 106th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft becoming the second Tar Heel to hear his name called so far. He is just the sixth Tar Heel player to be selected by the Titans organization, joining Ed Kesler (1964), Lewis Jolley (1972), Larry Griffin (1986), Kevin Donnalley (1991), Michael Waddell (2004) and Zach Brown (2012).

This is a good landing spot for Gray who will have a chance to play early. Kenneth Murray came over in the offseason from the Chargers and will be a starter for the team alongside Jack Gibbens, the team’s second leading tackler from a year ago. Gray will have a chance to be that rotational guy behind these two. If he can prove his value in coverage, he could be a guy that has a role right out of the gate.

Gray is one of the best linebackers in recent memory for the Tar Heels after an amazing four year stay in Chapel Hill. This past season, he led the team in total tackles (121), solo tackles (64), forced fumbles (2) and fumble recoveries (2) and was second on the team in tackles for loss (11.0), sacks (5.0) and quarterback pressures (21). That followed an outstanding season where he finished third nationally in total tackles (145) and second in solo tackles (82). He also finished as the team leader in tackles for loss (12.0), forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (2) and tied for second in interceptions (2). He exploded onto the scene as a sophomore back in 2021 when he led the team with 99 total tackles and added 6.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, two interceptions and three pass deflections.

It was a little shocking to see the fall that Gray took after how well he played in the Senior Bowl, but he landed in a spot where can have some nice success.


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