Dreams will turn into reality for several former SEC stars tonight at Radio City Music Hall for the first round of the NFL Draft starting at 8:00 PM ET. The beloved conference will be well represented, with 10 players in attendance for their big announcement.
Here’s what to look for tonight:
A new No. 1: All indications point toward Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel becoming the No. 1 pick. The Kansas City Chiefs have the top pick, and they’ve looked at Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Sharrif Floyd and Geno Smith, among others. But the Alex Smith trade pretty much halted the Chiefs taking a quarterback, and Joeckel or Fisher seem to be the ideal pick for the franchise at left tackle. Joeckel would become Texas A&M’s first ever No. 1 overall pick.
Record bustin’: The SEC is looking to set a new draft record with 13 players selected in the first round. It would break the ACC’s (ACC!) record of 12 in 2006. The primary 16 favorites to watch are Luke Joeckel, Sharrif Floyd, Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack, Barkevious Mingo, DJ Fluker, Sheldon Richardson, Jarvis Jones, Eric Reid, Alec Ogletree, Eddie Lacy, Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, Jesse Williams, Sam Montgomery and Matt Elam. Most mock drafts have anywhere from 10-13 former SEC players going in the first round. So, we’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.
Through the weekend
Tigers on the prowl: Tennessee holds the record with 10 players drafted in one draft with 10 in the modern era. LSU could break that record and continues to be a pipeline straight to the NFL. In fact, the Tigers have more first-round picks (12) than any other SEC team over the last decade. LSU should have somewhere around 13 players selected this draft.
Dawgs on top: Georgia has the most players drafted in the last decade with 57. However, LSU is right behind them with 56. But LSU should overtake the Bulldogs with a possible 19 draftees on the board. The actual number will more likely around 13, though, thrusting LSU as putting the most players in the league via the draft.
The draft dark horse: Everyone has a dark horse draftee and one who can do “Russell Wilson” things on the field, seemingly coming out of nowhere. And my pick is Tyler Bray. Bray never grew up at Tennessee, but yet, he has more pure potential and talent than any quarterback in this year’s draft. If things come together between the ears, Bray could be a hidden gem few saw coming. All the physical traits are there – big arm, height and presence in the pocket, but the intangibles are what are so bothersome. His attitude and leadership skills were never evident at Tennessee, and if he can somehow put them both together, look out.
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