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April 25, 2013

The Wolfpacker's NFL Draft primer



The Wolfpack will try to tie last year's school record of six NFL Draft picks in this year's edition of the event, which kicks off on Thursday night at 8 p.m. with the first 32 selections in primetime. NC State also produced six selections in the 2006 Draft, which included a school-record three first-round picks and the No. 1 overall selection, Mario Williams.

Rounds two and three will be held on Friday, starting at 6 p.m., at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, while the final four rounds will take place on Saturday, beginning at noon.

The Wolfpacker examines some of the latest buzz around each player, collects what everybody is saying about them and even offers predictions for each NFL Draft hopeful that once donned the Red and White.

Offensive guard Zach Allen


Measurables: 6-2, 332 pounds, 33.5-inch arms, 9 7/8-inch hands
NFL Combine results: 32 bench press reps (t-5 among 45 OL, t-10 overall)
Pro Day results: 5.31 40-yard dash (1.87 10-yard split), 27.5-inch vertical jump, 93-inch broad jump, 4.96-second 20-yard shuttle
Mock draft buzz: 188 overall (6th round) to Chicago (Pete Schrager, Fox Sports)
NFL.com grade: 51 (50-69 is "draftable player," projected to go rounds 4-7)
Scouts, Inc. grade / position rank: Grade - 30 (21-49 is borderline draft prospect, these are players that teams like something about, but do not have the full package in terms of NFL talent. He will usually rate in the bottom third of players at his position and is considered a late round draft choice or un-drafted free agent)
Position rank - #25 OG
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report grade / position rank: Grade - 6.0 (Can make club and contribute, expected to be drafted in round 6)
Position rank - #19 OG
College wrap-up:
- Allen started 31 straight games at right guard before a foot injury suffered in the Miami game ended his final campaign prematurely.
- Was always noted as one of the team's best pieces up front, especially in run blocking.
- Started all five games he played in as a senior and did not let up a sack in 307 plays.
- Was in for more snaps than any other player on the team in 2011 (916) and allowed just two sacks.
- Gave up just three sacks in 969 snaps during the 2010 season.
- Redshirted in 2008 then saw actions in 11 games at both guard and tackle in 2009.
The Wolfpacker's prediction: Allen was invited to participate in the annual NFL Combine, which is always a great first indicator of NFL interest and he excelled on the bench press there. He is still recovering from the foot injury, but did take part in most all drills during his Pro Day and put up adequate numbers.
The Georgia native is on the shorter side, but is powerful and he is proven on the college level - he would've started every game in his final three years if it were not for the foot injury. He was one of State's most consistent linemen during his tenure, and should have no trouble drawing an NFL paycheck for years to come.
It's hard to see Allen coming off the board before the fifth round, but he should hear his name called at some point on day three. It's always tough to predict where a prospect will come off the board, especially the later you get into the draft, but he would be a solid addition to any club looking for a road grader on the interior in the sixth or seventh round.
Worst-case scenario, Allen will sign an undrafted free agent deal, but if he lasts that long, competition will be high, so if a team is truly interested, they'll call his name late on day three.

Cornerback David Amerson


Measurables: 6-1, 205 pounds, 32 5/8-inch arms, 10.5-inch hands
NFL Combine results: 4.4 40-yard dash (t-13 among 53 DBs, t-23 overall), 15 bench press reps (t-23 of 49 DBs), 35.5-inch vertical jump (t-24 of 52 DBs) and 127-inch broad jump (t-12 of 51 DBs, t-23 overall)
Pro Day results: 38.5-inch vertical, 132-inch broad, 4.13-second 20-yard shuttle, 11.25-second 60-yard shuttle, 6.75-second 3-cone drill
Mock draft buzz:
- 28 overall (1st round) to Denver (Bucky Brooks, NFL.com)
- 47 overall (2nd round) to Dallas (Pete Schrager, Fox Sports)
- 77 overall (3rd round) to Miami (Mel Kiper's grade 'A' mock, where he does what he feels is best for each team in first three rounds) - "Amerson's stock is down...it's a good place to hit a need and bet on upside."
- 85 overall (3rd round) to Washington (NFL.com seven-round mock)
- 92 overall (3rd round) to Atlanta (Scouts, Inc. seven-round mock)
Top 100 prospect lists:
- NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt - #58
- Mel Kiper Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report - #90
- NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock - #99
NFL.com grade: 74.4 (70-84 is "eventual starter," projected to go rounds 2-3)
NFL.com analysis: "Amerson is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. His play making and ball skills are reminiscent of Asante Samuel. However, unlike Samuel, Amerson isn't nearly as fluid out of his breaks or as technically sound in the fundamentals of the position. Amerison is tall, physical, and some may project him to free safety because of his size, but it is likely that some team will take a chance on Amerson as a cornerback if he can prove that his foot quickness and fluidity are up to par."
Scouts, Inc. grade / position rank / overall rank / breakdown: Grade - 70 (70-79 is solid prospect, standout college player that is close to being elite, no glaring weakness and will usually win his individual matchups, but does not dominate every game, will usually rate in the top third of players at his position and is considered a third round prospect)
Position rank - #15 CB
Overall rank - #108
Breakdown - Exceptional production, height/weight/speed and ball skills; above-average durability and intangibles; average cover skills and run support; below-average instincts/recognition
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report grade and notes: Grade - 8.5 (8 is potential to start first year, projected between rounds 2-4; 9 is will start first year, projected between rounds 1-2)
Ranking - #13 CB
Notes - Kiper called him underrated ... "Amerson regressed a little bit in 2012, though he did get better as the season went along" ... "He has great ball skills for the interception, but he tends to take some unwarranted chances and gambles in coverage that result in big plays" ... "Must work on his focus and also learn from his mistakes of this past season" ... "Not fast enough to make up ground in a hurry...he did run a little faster than I expected in Indy" ... "In the right defensive coverage situation, he could do a heck of a job" ... "There's definitely a place for him in the NFL because he's so talented and has such exceptional ball skills."
College wrap-up:
- A former All-American, two-time All-ACC selection (first-team in 2011 and second-team in 2012) and Jack Tatum Award winner
- Holds NC State's career interception record (18) after hauling in five as a junior, which tied for the ACC lead and 11th nationally, and 13 as a true sophomore. He returned three for scores and his total as a second-year led the nation by five, set an ACC single-season mark and is tied for second all-time in FBS history.
- Only Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith (21) and UNC's Dre Bly (20) ever recorded more picks in ACC history.
- As a true sophomore, was named first-team All-American by Walter Camp and ESPN. Second-team honors came from Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, Yahoo! Sports, CBS Sports, Rivals.com and Phil Steele. He was also one of three finalists for the Thorpe Award.
- Was one of just five true freshmen to start a game for NC State in 2010, he opened nine games at boundary corner before switching to the field side for the rest of his career.
Scouts' quotes (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn):
1 - "He's got all the talent in the world, but he doesn't use it all the time. Big, good-looking guy. Two years ago, he played great. This year, I don't even know why they gave him a uniform."
2 - "He got beat bad. He didn't play fast. Footwork wasn't good. I didn't think he was disciplined in his play."
3 - "He's mentally weak. He's not a football player."
The Wolfpacker prediction: Amerson is one guy that some feel could sneak into the bottom of the first round, but the odds are he is more likely a day two selection. He was touted as a surefire first rounder before his junior year began, and some coverage problems led to his stock falling.
He's not as tall as the 6-foot-3 that he was listed as for much of his career, but still possesses an interesting size and speed combination. Some people say he should be moved to safety, but I don't think he tackles well enough and you don't take away the chance of developing a shutdown cornerback to make him a safety; he may be best fit there, but I am inclined to give him a shot as a cover guy at first. If that doesn't work out, then I try him on the back-line.
He's a good enough tackler at corner, although he tries to dive and undercut legs too much, rather than wrapping and form tackling. He's a gambler in coverage with superior ball skills, but he's susceptible to the double move because of it. He also tries to bait quarterbacks, which can backfire for big plays.
He started 35 of his 39 games on campus and appeared in all of them, so durability shouldn't be a question. He normally came down with the pick when he got his hands on a ball, and he is capable of making things happen with the ball in his hands.
In all likelihood, Amerson is a solid second-round selection, and probably the first former NC State player off the board, unless there is a run of quarterbacks, which opens the door for Glennon. If he slips into the middle of the third round or later, he's an absolute steal, no matter what happened his junior season. He could be the most talented third-rounder taken this year, if he falls that far.

Safety Brandan Bishop


Measurables: 6-0 7/8, 208 pounds, 29 3/8-inch arms, 8 5/8-inch hands
Pro Day results: 4.59 40-yard dash, 32-inch vertical jump, 113-inch broad jump, 4.18-second 20-yard shuttle, 11.76-second 60-yard shuttle, 6.89 3-cone drill, 22 reps on bench press
Mock draft buzz: 168 overall (5th round) to Baltimore (Pete Schrager, Fox Sports)
Scouts, Inc. grade / position rank: Grade - 30 (21-49 is borderline draft prospect, these are players that teams like something about, but do not have the full package in terms of NFL talent. He will usually rate in the bottom third of players at his position and is considered a late round draft choice or un-drafted free agent)
Position rank - #30 S
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report grade / position rank: Grade - 5.5 (5 is has some talent - size or speed and is projected to be drafted in round 7; 6 is can make club and contribute, expected to be drafted in round 6)
Position rank - #48 S
College wrap-up:
- Bishop was overshadowed by his teammates in the secondary for much of his career with former All-American David Amerson at cornerback and fellow safety Earl Wolff earning All-ACC first-team laurels, but he earned All-ACC mentions in each of his final three seasons and totaled 315 tackles, 12 interceptions, four forced fumbles and four recovered fumbles.
- The fourth-year senior 38 of the team's 39 games over his final three campaigns and earned ACC All-Freshman honors from The Sporting News after he started eight games as a rookie.
- Ranked second on the team as a senior with 111 stops, also totaled 99 as a junior.
- His career interception total ranks fourth in school history.
The Wolfpacker's prediction: Bishop is battled-tested and productive, although he seems to be flying under the radar. There's no arguing his production over his 50-game career, which includes 46 starts, over 300 tackles and 12 picks.
As a result, he was invited to participate at the East-West Shrine Game, alongside teammate Earl Wolff, but Bishop was not invited to the NFL Combine. He had a solid showing at his Pro Day and should be able to contribute on special teams immediately at the next level, but that is where he'll have to prove himself and earn his keep.
In college, Bishop showed playmaking ability and an excellent nose for the ball, evidenced by his four forced and four recovered fumbles. He should hear his name called on day three, but will sign a free agent deal if he doesn't and go to training camp with somebody. Best-case scenario, he's probably a sixth rounder, but seventh seems more likely at this point.

Quarterback Mike Glennon


Measurables: 6-7, 225 pounds, 33 1/8-inch arms, 9 5/8-inch hands
NFL Combine results: 4.94 40-yard dash (eighth among 13 QBs), 26.5-inch vertical jump (12 of 12 QBs), 102-inch broad jump (12 of 13), 7.49-second three-cone drill (12 of 12), 4.52-second 20-yard shuttle (9 of 12)
Mock draft buzz:
- 64 overall (third round) to Jacksonville (Pete Schrager of Fox Sports)
- 66 overall (third round) to Oakland (Scouts, Inc. seven-round mock)
- 72 overall (third round) to New York Jets (Mel Kiper's three-round projection from Draft Report)
- 96 overall (third round) to Kansas City (Mel Kiper's grade 'A' mock, where he does what he feels is best for each team in first three rounds) - "Developmental QB with tools."
- 103 overall (fourth round) to Arizona (NFL.com seven-round mock)
Top 100 prospect lists:
- Scouts, Inc. - #74
- NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt - #76
- NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock - #81
- Mel Kiper Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report - #91
NFL.com grade: 79.4 (70-84 is "eventual starter," projected to go rounds 2-3)
Scouts, Inc. grade / position rank / overall rank / breakdown: Grade - 77 (70-79 is solid prospect, standout college player that is close to being elite, no glaring weakness and will usually win his individual matchups, but does not dominate every game, will usually rate in the top third of players at his position and is considered a third round prospect)
Position rank - #5 QB
Overall rank - #74
Breakdown - Exceptional durability; above-average production, intangibles and release/arm strength; average height/weight/speed, accuracy and pocket mobility; below-average mental makeup
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report grade and notes: Grade - 8.5 (8 is potential to start first year, projected between rounds 2-4; 9 is will start first year, projected between rounds 1-2)
Ranking - #4 QB
Notes - Kiper called him a guy on the slide ... "Has decent feet in the pocket and throws a nice ball" ... "He forces some balls at times and finesses others when he has the strength to put the necessary zip on the football" ... "Decision making isn't always very sounds, as pressure tends to get to him" ... "In 2012, his numbers were down, but Glennon had a ton of dropped passes by his wide receivers. In fact, there probably wasn't a quarterback in the nation with more drops." ... "Glennon is a smart, bright kid with the size and arm you look for" ... "One ace in the hole for him: his coaching pedigree" ... "Around mid-season, I thought Glennon would earn a first-round grade" ... "If developed properly, Glennon has a chance to make the grade as a very capable starting QB in the NFL."
College wrap-up:
- The first player in NC State history to throw for 30 or more touchdowns in two different seasons; his 63 touchdown throws in 26 starts trail just Philip Rivers (95 in 51 starts) and Russell Wilson (76 in 36 starts).
- Led the ACC and ranked 11th nationally with 310 passing yards per game.
- His 4,031 passing yards is the second-highest, single-season mark in school history and fourth-best in ACC annals. That came despite more than 45 drops as a senior from his receivers.
- His career completion percentage of 60.4 percent is the second-highest ever for a Wolfpack quarterback and his passer rating of 132.31 ranks fourth.
- Graduated with a Master's degree in December.
- Redshirted then backed up Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for two years.
- Played in the Senior Bowl.
Other: Was named the boom or bust prospect for the QB position by NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah - "He flashes the ability to accurately squeeze the football into very tight windows. However, he can generate turnovers in bunches when things start to go downhill."
Scouts' quotes (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn):
1 - "If he goes to a team that does a lot of play-action and throws the ball down the field, he's got a chance to maybe be something."
2 - "I think he's Ichabod Crane. He's a statue but he throws a nice ball. He has no foot skills."
3 - I was shocked he could run as fast as he did. But he's a statue."
The Wolfpacker prediction: Right after the season ended, Glennon was talked about as a first-round pick and some even called him the top signal caller available in the draft. However, that didn't last long and he is one of the most polarizing figures in the event; projections have him anywhere from a second-round selection to a fourth-rounder.
Teams that want a mobile signal caller probably won't even give Glennon a look. He is more athletic than he is given credit for, evidenced by a sub 5.0 40 in Indianapolis, but it isn't necessarily pretty when he tucks the ball.
He is at his best sitting back in the pocket and carving up defenses. Glennon possesses one of the top arms in the draft, but there are some questions about his consistency. His senior year numbers serve as a red flag to some (interceptions went from 12 to 17 and the completion percentage dropped from 62.5 percent to 58.5 percent), but he didn't get much help from his supporting cast and threw 50 more times than the previous year, which resulted in nearly 1,000 more passing yards.
Glennon can make every throw an NFL quarterback is asked to make, however he has to eliminate the turnovers (he also has a tendency to fumble when hit) and show the ability to make those throws on a consistent basis.
If there is a run on quarterbacks, he definitely has a chance to go in the second round, and there is a buzz that certain teams love him. If the run on signal callers doesn't come, he'll probably go in the third round, but there are some traits he has that nobody else in the draft can match and that's always an X-factor.
Remember, he only started two years in college and it will probably be best for his career if he lands somewhere he can compete for the job, but probably observe for a year or two, before being pressed into action. He has major upside for a quarterback taken in the third round, if that is how it works out.

Safety Earl Wolff


Measurables: 5-11, 209 pounds, 32 5/8-inch arms, 9 7/8-inch hands
NFL Combine results: 4.44 40-yard dash (2nd among safeties, t-23 overall), 4.07 20-yard shuttle (t-3 among safeties), 39-inch vertical jump (4th among safeties), 127-inch broad jump (t-12 of 51 DBs, t-23 overall), 15 bench press reps
Pro Day results: 36-inch vertical, 11.76-second 60-yard shuttle, 6.96-second 3-cone drill
Mock draft buzz:
- 101 overall (fourth round) to Philadelphia (NFL.com seven-round mock)
- 119 overall (fourth round) to Washington (Scouts, Inc. seven-round mock)
NFL.com grade: 63.4 (50-69 is "draftable player," projected to go between rounds 4-7)
NFL.com analysis: "The two-way high school star gave up toting the ball upon his arrival in Raleigh, and opposing offenses wish he hadn't. The three-year starter is willing to attack ballcarriers in space or in the backfield and can make plays in the secondary, meaning he has a chance to start in the NFL as a mid-round pick."
Scouts, Inc. grade / position rank / overall rank / breakdown: Grade - 63 (60-69 is solid prospect, a good starter that will give a solid effort week in and week out, but he is overmatches vs. the better players in the nation, weaknesses will be exposed vs. the best, will usually rate in the top half of the players at his position and is considered a middle round draft choice)
Position rank - #11 S
Overall rank - #135
Breakdown - Exceptional production, durability and intangibles; above-average height/weight/speed and cover skills; average instincts/recognition, ball skills and run support
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report grade and notes: Grade - 7.9 (8 is potential to start first year, projected between rounds 2-4; 7 is potential to start eventually, projected in round 5)
Ranking - #11 S
Notes - Kiper called him a guy who helped himself with a solid all-star game performance (East-West Shrine game) ... "He is a hard-hitter and a playmaker with good ball skills" ... "Very experienced and battle-tested, but he's a little stiff" ... "He comes out of the ACC a little underrated and I think he can be a starter at the pro level and a very good strong safety in the NFL."
College wrap-up:
- Started for more than three full seasons, including each of his final 39 games in a Wolfpack uniform, and capped his career with All-ACC first-team honors.
- Finished his college days as the first defensive back in school history to reach 400 career tackles. He was the fifth member of the 400-tackle club and stands fifth in school history for takedowns.
- He also has career totals of: eight forced fumbles, which ranks third in school history, 51 games played, 43 starts, seven interceptions and eight tackles for loss.
- Led the squad with 145 tackles in 2012, the most for a Pack player since 2005. He notched 113 as a redshirt junior and 91 in 2010.
- Officially finished his senior campaign with 119 stops, according to the NCAA, but that was still enough for the fifth-best total in the land for a defensive back.
The Wolfpacker prediction: Wolff was one of the stars of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and his stock has continued to rise. His stock initially took off with a great final campaign in Raleigh, and then he helped himself at the East-West Shrine game, where he recorded an interception, but he really emerged on the national scene following a great showing in Indy.
The sure-tackling safety was thrown into the fire as a freshman, but eventually found his way and showed he belonged on the back line. Former head coach Tom O'Brien called Wolff, "the heart and soul of the defense," before his career was over.
Wolff was an unknown as a football recruit, until he showed up to one of O'Brien's camps and earned a scholarship offer, although he was playing mostly wide out at the camp.
He has taken a similar path in the draft process, starting off as an under-the-radar prospect before running with his opportunity and proving that he belonged. Wolff can do it all - he's a hard-hitter, but can cover. He can bring anyone down, but he's athletic enough to stay with receivers. He hustles on every play and has a nose for the ball.
Wolff was raised with a military background, thanks to his mom, and has no red flags; he's a guy that everyone who meets him will root for. He proved he was more fluid and athletic than people originally thought during the draft process, and probably stands as a third or fourth rounder right now. However, the safety position is a deep one this year, and he could last later, so if he's still around in the fifth, he could be the best value of the draft. Wolff will be a find for somebody at strong safety, he should be able to play all special teams immediately and compete for a job in training camp.

Other NFL Draft Hopefuls


Tight end Mario Carter
Measurables: 6-4 1/8, 258 pounds, 34 7/8-inch arms, 9 3/8-inch hands
Pro Day results: 5.09 40, 28.5-inch vertical jump, 109-inch broad jump, 4.2 20-yard shuttle, 12.07-second 60-yard shuttle, 6.9-second 3-cone drill, 16 bench press reps
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 5.5 (projected between 6th and 7th round), #34 TE

Offensive lineman R.J. Mattes
Measurables: 6-6 2/8, 321 pounds, 33 5/8-inch arms, 9 3/8-inch hands
Pro Day results: 5.28 40, 27 vertical jump, 103 broad jump, 4.63 20-yard shuttle, 7.32 3-cone drill, 24 bench press reps
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 5.5 (projected between 6th and 7th round), #33 OG

Wide out Tobais Palmer
Measurables: 5-9 5/8, 178 pounds, 29.5-inch arms, 9.5-inch hands
Pro Day results: 4.39 40, 33.5 vertical jump, 121 broad jump, 4.19 20-yard shuttle, 11.78 60-yard shuttle, 6.82 3-cone drill
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 5.0 (projected 7th round), #110 WR

Defensive lineman Brian Slay
Measurables: 6-1.5, 261 pounds, 33.5-inch arms, 8.5-inch hands
Pro Day results: 4.88 40, 26 vertical jump, 111 broad jump, 4.44 20-yard shuttle, 7.13 3-cone drill, 16 bench press reps
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 5.0 (projected 7th round), #49 DE

Center Camden Wentz
Measurables: 6-3, 305 pounds, 31.5-inch arms, 9 3/4-inch hands
Pro Day results: 5.33 40, 27 vertical jump, 101-inch broad jump, 4.72 20-yard shuttle, 7.77 3-cone drill, 27 bench press reps
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 5.0 (projected 7th round), #29 C

Cornerback C.J. Wilson
Measurables: 5-11, 193 pounds, 31 1/4-inch arms, 9 1/4-inch hands
Pro Day results: 4.34 40, 37 vertical jump, 126 broad jump, 4.19 20-yard shuttle, 11.97 60-yard shuttle, 6.9 3-cone drill, 17 bench press reps
Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2013 Draft Report: Grade - 4.0 (projected undrafted free agent), #91 CB


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