Updated: Apr 30, 2019
The Heels were expected to have one former player drafted on Saturday and that’s exactly what happened.
In a bit of a surprise selection, former linebacker Cole Holcomb was selected with the 173rd pick in the draft, the 35th and final selection of the 5th round, by the Washington Redskins. Holcomb, a 2018 second team All-ACC selection, led the Tar Heels in tackles in two out of his final three seasons, after assuming the starting job ahead of the 2016 season. Holcomb began his Carolina career as a walk-on and left as one of the Heels all-time tackle leaders, finishing with 327 total tackles, 15.0 TFLs and 12 pass deflections in his career. Holcomb will be part of a linebacking corps that will be looking to replace former Tar Heel linebacker Zach Brown who they let walk earlier this offseason. His athleticism and coverage ability will make him and intriguing option for the Redskins and give him a good shot to make the team’s roster.
While only one Tar Heel was selected in the draft, two Tar Heels were snatched up almost immediately following the draft as undrafted free agents. The Detroit Lions were the first team to agree to an undrafted free agent deal, as they snatched up defensive end Malik Carney. The Tennessee Titans weren’t far behind, as they signed wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams within an hour of the conclusion of the draft.
Unfortunately, one former player that many thought would either get selected or signed as an undrafted free agent has been left without a job. William Sweet, who left early to pursue in the NFL and was an invitee to the Scouting Combine, currently has no place to call home. Sweet graded out as the best pass protector in the ACC a year ago, according to Pro Football Focus, something that many thought would be enough to get him drafted in today pass heavy offenses. Instead, Sweet will now have to hope for something to break his way this offseason, or he might be looking at a stint in the CFL.
Since the original posting of this article, two former Tar Heels have agreed to deals with NFL teams. The Arizona Cardinals released their official list of undrafted free agent late on Monday night and former offensive tackle William Sweet does in fact have an NFL job. Meanwhile, Jeremiah Clarke has added his name to the list of former Tar Heels to received an NFL contract, as he will be joining the Oakland Raiders and their rookie mini camp later on this summer.