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Heel Tough Blog: Post-Senior Bowl Draft Rankings

For the first time this year, it is time to take a look at that draft stock of the Tar Heel draft prospects as we head toward the start of NFL Scouting Combine, where five Tar Heels will get to chance to participate in the ultimate job interview. Sam Howell is the most highly regarded NFL Draft prospect this year from the program and will get the most coverage, but he is joined by seven other former Tar Heels that will be hoping to hear their name called on the final weekend of April. Here is a look at the current draft stock of those eight players as we reach the first major checkpoint of draft season.


Vasha Hunt- USA Today Sports

QB Sam Howell

The Draft Network: 2nd Round, No. 5 QB

CBS Sports: 2nd Round, No. 4 QB

Pro Football Focus: 1st Round, No. 1 QB

ESPN: 1st-2nd Round, No. 4 QB

WalterFootball.com: 1st-3rd Round, No. 3 QB

Pro Football Network: 2nd Round, No. 5 QB

Drafttek: 1st Round, No. 3 QB

Sports Illustrated: No. 5 QB

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 3 QB

The boards are kind of all over the place with Howell and where he stacks up amongst the top quarterbacks in the draft, but it seems almost certain that he will be off the board either in the first round or early in the second. The Senior Bowl didn’t really provide much clarity for him but probably solidified the fact that he will not be the first quarterback off the board unless a team really falls in love with in the next couple of months. He still has a chance to be a first round pick, especially if he can stand out in the combine and pro day portions of the draft prospect.


Bob Donnan-USA Today Sports

LB Jeremiah Gemmel

The Draft Network: 6th-7th Round, No. 24 ILB

Pro Football Focus: 6th-7th Round, No. 21 LB

ESPN: 4th-5th Round, No. 11 ILB

WalterFootball.com: 4th-6th Round, No. 14 ILB

Pro Football Network: Undrafted, No. 90 ILB

Drafttek: 4th Round, No. 3 OLB

Sports Illustrated: No. 23 LB

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 38 LB

CBS Sports: N/A

Gemmel received and accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl back in late November, but when the official rosters were released, he was not listed and ultimately didn’t participate in the game. He is a guy that really could have benefited from a trip to Mobile, but the good news for him is that he still got the combine invite and still appears to be solidly on most draft board. A good showing at the combine and in his pro day should allow him to hear his name called early on Day 3.


Stephen R. Sylvanie- USA Today Sports

RB Ty Chandler

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

Pro Football Focus: 7th-Undrafted, No. 24 RB

Pro Football Network: Undrafted, No. 23 RB

Drafttek: 6th Round, No. 17 RB

Sports Illustrated: No. 20 RB

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 31 RB

CBS Sports: N/A

WalterFootball.com: N/A

ESPN: N/A

Chandler is one of those guys that wasn’t been talked about a lot heading into the East-West Shrine Game, but might be the Tar Heel draft prospect getting the most buzz outside of Howell after an outstanding showing in Vegas. The middle of the draft at running back is still a question mark and Chandler fits the mold of what Michael Carter provided for the Jets this past year, meaning that there is still room for him to climb up draft boards. He'll have that opportunity at the combine after receiving an invite earlier this week and is the guy that most Tar Heels fans should be focused on at the event, especially if Howell chooses not to throw as many quarterbacks do.


John Byrum- Getty Images

OG Joshua Ezeudu

The Draft Network: Undrafted, No. 31 IOL

ESPN: 3rd-4th Round, No. 8 OG

Pro Football Network: 5th Round, No. 8 OG

Drafttek: Undrafted, No. 17 OG

Sports Illustrated: No. 29 OG

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 58 OL

CBS Sports: N/A

WalterFootball.com: N/A

Pro Football Focus: N/A

Ezeudu is the highest rated prospect of the three Tar Heel offensive linemen to enter the draft as of right now. He is the only of the three, though, who was not in attendance for an all-star game amongst that group because he is an underclassmen. However, he is still seen as the most likely member of that group to hear his name called in April. He is probably a borderline draftable player when you compile all the different site’s rankings, but it seems that at this point Ezeudu will almost certainly be in camp with an NFL team this summer.


John McCoy- Getty Images

OG Marcus McKethan

ESPN: 7th-Undrafted, No. 24 OG

WalterFootball.com: 4th-6th Round, No. 23 OG

Pro Football Network: 7th-Undrafted, No. 17 OG

Sports Illustrated: No. 21 OG

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 116 OL

The Draft Network: N/A

CBS Sports: N/A

Drafttek: N/A

Pro Football Focus: N/A

McKethan was one of two Tar Heel offensive lineman to participate in this weekend’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena. He had a really nice week, landing All-NFLPA Collegiate Bowl honors from The NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated and was recognized by offensive line guru Willie Anderson for his “impressive 1 on 1 pass pro” and showed “explosiveness in the run game.” McKethan’s run blocking ability will be one of the main reasons he gets drafted and this week may have gone a long way to helping that, especially if it results in an NFL scouting combine invite.


Joe Robbins- Getty Images

EDGE Tomon Fox

WalterFootball.com: 7th-Undrafted, No. 20 OLB

Pro Football Network: Undrafted, No. 45 OLB

Drafttek: 7th-Undrafted, No. 28 EDGE

Sports Illustrated: No. 52 EDGE

NFL Draft Buzz: N/A

The Draft Network: N/A

CBS Sports: N/A

Pro Football Focus: N/A

ESPN: N/A

Fox is one of the best statistical pass rushers in school history, but he too is seen as a borderline draftable player. He participated in the Hula Bowl back in mid-January, but was rather quiet. Right now, it feels like he will go undrafted, but he does have enough to be in training camp.


John McCoy- Getty Images

OT Jordan Tucker

Pro Football Network: Undrafted, No. 66 OT

Sports Illustrated: No. 51 OT

NFL Draft Buzz: No. 124 OL

The Draft Network: N/A

CBS Sports: N/A

WalterFootball.com: N/A

Drafttek: N/A

Pro Football Focus: N/A

ESPN: N/A

Tucker came into the month of January as the only Tar Heel prospect without an invite to one of the offseason bowls but received one to the NFLPA Bowl based on his performance at the College Gridiron Showcase. Tucker had a quiet week in Pasadena, but getting the invite was a good sign for him. With all of that, though, he will be someone that needs a good pro day to solidify himself as a training camp guy.


Jordon Kelly- Getty Images

CB Kyler McMichael

The Draft Network: 5th Round, No. 25 CB

Drafttek: Undrafted, No. 40 CB

Pro Football Focus: N/A

Pro Football Network: N/A

Sports Illustrated: N/A

NFL Draft Buzz: N/A

CBS Sports: N/A

WalterFootball.com: N/A

ESPN: N/A

McMichael is someone that wasn’t really on anyone's radar until he received the East-West Shrine Game invite, but he has to be talked about now. He may have been the person that helped themselves the most amongst the Tar Heel prospects that participated in offseason bowls as he was one of the most talked about members of the defensive backfield throughout the week. Not getting a combine invite was a bit of a shock and hurts his momentum a little bit, but his performance in Las Vegas might be enough to land him on training camp roster this summer.

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