At this point, all us non-underneath-a-rock-dwellers know that Darrius Heyward-Bey is considered one of the top receivers available in the NFL draft. But did you know there are 10 Terps who could potentially be drafted this weekend? It’s true. Let’s break it all down, shall we?
Obviously it all starts with the DHB. ESPN’s two-headed monster of Kiper and McShay (I wonder which head will eat the other one first) have him ranked fourth at WR, behind Michael Crabtree, Jerome Maclin, and Percy Harvin. Not too surprising, given that he ran the fastest 40 at the NFL combine. I nerded out and watched a little of his combine workout…what surprised me was how built he is. For all that speed, he’s not a skinny dude. Every mock draft has him going in the first round…some to Baltimore with pick 26, some to Tampa with pick 19. (I also wouldn’t count out the Skins reaching for him at 13…might be hard for them to resist a big-play guy who would put local butts in the seats. Do you really expect them to draft a lineman if they keep that pick?)
It’s not all about DHB, though. Center Edwin Williams is projected for the late rounds (frankly, I thought he’d be higher…he was on the Rimington Trophy watch list, for jerk’s sake). They’re saying Kevin Barnes could be a “value pick” in the middle rounds at cornerback…his season-ending injury basically took him out of the running for the early rounds. I think he’ll be nasty in the NFL…the dude hits like Mark Carrier.
I also think someone’s going to get a nice, serviceable tight end in Dan Gronkowski. He catches some, he blocks some, he works hard, he plays hard. So look for him to continue Maryland’s NFL pedigree at “the tight end position.” I could see him having a decent, if somewhat inconspicuous, career for the Browns or someone like that.
There’s another solid draft possibility too. Do you remember Jaime Thomas at left guard? I admit it…I do not remember Jamie Thomas at left guard. But apparently, he could be a late-round pick.
There are other guys, but they could be destined for the practice squad, or a desk at the local Gold’s Gym. Dave Philistin and Moise Fokou are in the mix at linebacker, but my guess is they won’t be drafted. Same goes for Jeremy Navarre, who was good for the Terps but probably not athletic enough to be an NFL defensive end. Tackles Dane Randolph and Scott Burley are top-40 prospects, at least according to some.
But how about this as a potential surprise? In all the DHB talk, we forgot about WR Isaiah Williams. He was a decent player, and he ran the same 40 time as Crabtree…maybe someone will take a flyer. Eh? Who’s with me on this one? Who’s excited? Can’t you just hear it…”with the 256th pick in the NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select……Isaiah Williams, wide receiver, Maryland!” I’m setting my Tivo right now.
Overall, here’s my guess: DHB in the first round, Barnes in the fourth, Gronkowski and Thomas in the fifth, Edwin Williams in the sixth, Isaiah Williams in the seventh. So that’s six guys…not too bad. As always, we shall see.
(Photo credits: DHB photo is Sun photo by Christopher T. Assaf; Gronkowski is Scott Boehm/Getty Images)