Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anxious couple of days for UConn's NFL draft hopefuls

Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Sio Moore lead the list of former
UConn players expected to be taken in the NFL draft.
All the workouts and interviews are in the books, the countless hours of film study are also complete and now it is finally time for the NFL draft.

For a handful of former UConn players it is a couple of days they won't soon forget.

It's a foregone conclusion that cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, linebacker Sio Moore and defensive end Trevardo Williams will heat their names called but the question is which day and by what team.

Donald Brown is the only UConn player to be taken in the first round when the Indianapolis Colts selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2009. Will he have some company after all 32 first-round picks are announced tonight?

Wreh-Wilson figures to have the best shot of going in the first round although most of the pre-draft databases have him slated as a second rounder. There have been mock drafts with Wreh-Wilson going late in the first round so that means a long night of watching and wondering for the two-time UConn captain as the first round is held tonight. Tomorrow figures to be a special day in UConn football history with as many as four Huskies going by the end of the third round. The NFL draft marathon ends on Saturday with rounds 4-7.

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock, considered by many to be the best NFL draft analyst in the business, has Moore as his top-rated UConn prospect at No. 64 in his final pre-draft Big Board which is two spots ahead of Wreh-Wilson and eight ahead of Gratz.

This draft is intriguing on a variety of levels for the UConn prospects. Of course you have the story line surrounding whether Wreh-Wilson or perhaps even Moore could sneak into the end of the first round and then will four Huskies be gone by the end of day two or will one of them have to wait. Finally, you have players like tight end Ryan Griffin and linebacker Jory Johnson would have a chance to hear their names called late in the draft or at least will get signed as free agents. They could have company as receivers Michael Smith and Nick Williams, tight end John Delahunt and offensive guard Adam Masters are in some draft prospect databases.

Barring a stunning development, there will be a player from Connecticut taken in the first round tonight - kind of. Bjoern Werner out of Florida State is one of the top defensive ends available in the draft and his football career began at Salisbury. As for the former Connecticut public school stars, I would guess that Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins, who played at Maloney High in Meriden, will be the first one taken. Jenkins' situation is similar to that of Wreh-Wilson as he figures to go either late in the first round or in the second round. Other Connecticut natives to keep an eye on are Florida tight end Jordan Reed out of New London and Rutgers receiver Mark Harrison from Stratford who are projected to go between rounds 3-5.

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