NFL Draft 2013: Jonathan Cooper, EJ Manuel, Bjoern Werner Among 34 ACC Players Selected

EJ Manuel Was One of 34 ACC Players Selected During Last Week's NFL Draft

Former FSU QB EJ Manuel Was One of 34 ACC Players Selected During Last Week’s NFL Draft

The 2013 NFL Draft is officially in the books after 254 selections from the NFL’s 32 franchises. In total, the ACC saw 31 players chosen in this year’s draft — 34, if you include the three draftees from Syracuse (and for argument’s sake, we will here). That number — regardless of which you decide to use — puts the conference behind just behind the more highly-regarded SEC in terms of NFL-bound talent this season. While not the only thing that counts by any means, moving players on to the NFL resonates with potential recruits, and does help all 14 (15) schools in one way or another.

We’ve included various breakdowns below — from school-by-school, to conference comparisons, an NFL team-by-team list, as well as the full list of ACC players chosen between Thursday and Saturday. Also, stop by later on, to see our compilation of the most confusing non-selections from the ACC, and where those players also ended up.

First 10 ACC Players Selected

No. 7 overall (Round 1): Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina, selected by the Arizona Cardinals

No. 16 overall (Round 1): EJ Manuel, QB/Florida State, selected by the Buffalo Bills

No. 19 overall (Round 1): Justin Pugh, OT/Syracuse, selected by the New York Giants

No. 24 overall (Round 1): Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State, selected by the Indianapolis Colts

No. 25 overall (Round 1): Xavier Rhodes, CB/Florida State, selected by the Minnesota Vikings

No. 27 overall (Round 1): DeAndre Hopkins, WR/Clemson, selected by the Houston Texans

No. 28 overall (Round 1): Sylvester Williams, DT/North Carolina, selected by the Denver Broncos

No. 37 overall (Round 2): Giovani Bernard, RB/North Carolina, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals

No. 40 overall (Round 2): Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE/Florida State, selected by the San Francisco 49ers

No. 42 overall (Round 2): Menelik Watson, OT/Florida State, selected by the Oakland Raiders

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NFL Draft 2013: Jonathan Cooper, EJ Manuel Among Seven ACC First-Round Picks

Now-Cardinal Jonathan Cooper Was One of Seven ACC Players Selected in Round One

Now-Cardinal Jonathan Cooper Was One of Seven ACC Players Selected in the NFL Draft’s First Round

For those who’ve been hanging with us here on the blog tonight, we’ve been keeping up with every ACC player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft — seven in all — providing some quick thoughts on each pick. All-in-all, there were certainly a few surprises, and needless to say our mock draft (and everyone else’s) was mostly wrong.

We’ll have a full breakdown post-draft next week, but for now, here’s a quick look at all seven ACC players chosen in the first round this evening, with links to our individual stories on each selection. And for those looking for thoughts on the entire NFL Draft, I was conducting a live thread over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician tonight, going pick-by-pick in the comments. But back to ACC matters…

#7 Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina (Mock Draft: 8th overall)

By the time we got to draft day, Cooper was suddenly being considered a once-in-a-generation guard. And given his speed and size combination up front, and the running game he’s facilitated at UNC, why not? Arizona had one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks in 2012, and this goes a long way toward fixing that.

#16 Buffalo Bills: EJ Manuel, QB/Florida State (Mock Draft: 43rd overall)

Once Buffalo swapped picks with the Rams, I thought we were perfectly set up for a regular old Syracuse family reunion between Doug Marrone, Nathaniel Hackett and QB Ryan Nassib. Instead, the Bills made one of the more surprising moves of the first round, picking Manuel, who’s seen as a proven commodity by many scouts. He’ll have some ramp to adjust to the pros — the team has Kevin Kolb on the roster as well — but there’s suddenly a lot of weight on Manuel’s shoulders.

#19 New York Giants: Justin Pugh, OT/Syracuse (Mock Draft: 48th overall)

If not for some later moves in the first, THIS would’ve arguably been the biggest reach of the entire round. And that’s not to discredit fellow Syracuse alumnus Justin Pugh, either. But with a glut of elite defenders falling to the later selections, most Giants fans (this one included) seemed convinced they’d go with someone on that side of the ball. Still, Pugh addresses a major need on the line for New York, and will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact. He’s the second straight Syracuse player to go in the top 20 after the Patriots picked Chandler Jones last year.

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NFL Draft 2013: Florida State’s Bjoern Werner Picked 24th Overall by Indianapolis Colts

Florida State DE Bjoern Werner is Headed to Indianapolis to Lead the Colts' Pass Rush

Florida State DE Bjoern Werner is Headed to Indianapolis to Lead the Colts’ Pass Rush

ACC players are flying off the board quickly now, as many thought would be the case — especially from Florida State. With the 24th overall selection, the Indianapolis Colts picked standout FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner, originally from Germany. One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle for the Colts will be fixing that defense, and Werner certainly goes a long way toward fixing that.

With tons of options on the defensive side of the ball, the Colts could’ve gone in any number of directions. But by choosing Werner, they’ve made a commitment to repairing the pass rush, which is to be commended. Werner has great speed off the line and an aggressive first move. He may look a bit undersized, but makes up for it with agility. The Colts have drafted a plug-and-play defender, which is not something everyone can say in this draft.

Want to read up on Werner a bit more? Check out our Florida State draft preview from last week.

Congrats to Bjoern and his family. We’ll be updating the blog with every first round pick as they happen.

#goacc

Previously:

Jonathan Cooper Selected #7 Overall by Arizona Cardinals

EJ Manuel Selected #16 Overall by Buffalo Bills

Justin Pugh Selected #19 Overall by New York Giants

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NFL Draft 2013 Preview: Mock-Drafting Every ACC Prospect

Will Former UNC Guard Jonathan Cooper End Up Being a Top-10 Pick?

Could Former North Carolina Offensive Guard Jonathan Cooper End Up Being a Top-10 Pick?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been evaluating every ACC prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft, giving some quick thoughts on players’ skill sets and what round they may be chosen in. With the draft officially starting tomorrow night, we’ll now be mocking up a quick draft, complete with the teams most likely to choose these players. For those who are not projected to be selected, we’ve avoided predictions, since it’s a pointless exercise in predicting undrafted free agency. Interested in full profiles of every ACC prospect? See the list of team previews at the bottom of the piece.

***First Round

8. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina (Sr.)

19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State (Jr.)

22. St. Louis Rams: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE/Florida State (Sr.)

24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB/Florida State (Jr.)

27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR/Clemson (Jr.)

30. Atlanta Falcons: Menelik Watson, OT/Florida State (Jr.)

***Second Round

33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sylvester Williams, DT/North Carolina (Sr.)

41. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB/Syracuse (Sr.)

43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EJ Manuel, QB/Florida State (Sr.)

48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Pugh, OT/Syracuse (Sr.)

53. Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard, RB/North Carolina (So.)

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NFL Draft 2013 Preview: Florida State Prospects

Can FSU Defensive End Bjoern Werner End Up Being a Top-10 Pick in the Draft?

Can FSU Defensive End Bjoern Werner End Up Being a Top-10 Pick in the Draft?

Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.

In 2012, Florida State enjoyed its most successful season in quite some time, riding a collection of senior leadership all the way to ACC and Orange Bowl titles, respectively. The result of that, of course, is a huge crop of players that could potentially find themselves selected in this year’s NFL Draft. The ‘Noles saw 13 (!!!) players invited to the scouting combine in Indianapolis back in February, and a grand total of 15 former FSU standouts could end up having their names called later this month. With so many players to go through, let’s dive in…

Bjoern Werner, DE, Junior (Projected: First Round)

Werner’s one of the best pure pass-rushers in this year’s draft, yet due to the depth of talent available all across the defensive line, he still may end up going in the latter half of the first round. While he’s certainly put up the numbers to warrant a top-10 selection (13 sacks last season), his late-season injury and lack of size in comparison to other DEs (a smaller 6’3″ and 266 pounds) has teams willing to wait. Without true breakout speed — only runs a 4.81 40-yard dash time — it’s tough to see him transitioned to an outside linebacker spot, which means he’ll be playing his natural position wherever he goes. I’d contend that concerns aside, the product out of Germany has less mileage on him than most prospects, which will make a huge difference in his long-term durability.

Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Senior (Projected: First Round)

Werner’s partner in crime on the defensive line, Carradine’s had a meteoric rise since the start of 2012, when he was just a reserve. Just 11 starts and 11 sacks later, “Tank” is universally projected to be a first-round draft pick. Like Werner, he did have a small injury problem at the end of the season. But without starting for the past three or four seasons, I’d give Carradine the same credit towards durability I also gave his counterpart. He’s got less mileage on him, hence will be more durable in the long run. Besides, with some huge paws and height, it’s tough to reason letting this elite pass-rusher slip through, especially as the NFL’s emphasis on throwing the ball increases.

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ACC Football Top 25 Players of 2012: #4, Bjoern Werner

FSU Defensive End Bjoern Werner Thrived in the Limelight This Season, and Now Heads to the NFL

FSU Defensive End Bjoern Werner Thrived in the Limelight This Season, and Now Heads to the NFL

As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 4, Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State(Preseason Rank: NR)

Werner’s junior season was everything FSU could’ve hoped for and more. Thrust into the forefront after Brandon Jenkins‘s season-ending injury in the first week, Werner quickly embraced his role as the team’s premiere pass-rusher. And by the end of the year, he was arguably the ACC’s best pass-rusher as well. His 13 sacks were a conference-high, and tied for second in the country, while his 18 tackles-for-loss were second in the ACC. From game one this year, Werner was a force of nature and among the country’s real game-changing presences on the defensive line. What stands out just as much as the gaudy sack numbers, however, are the amount of pass deflections he managed. No one will make a comparison to the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt just yet, but Werner did manage to defend seven passes in 2012. As he prepares for a sure early selection in the NFL Draft this April, it’s likely that pro scouts are all eying that unique skill set as well and looking to employ him similarly to Watts.

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ACC Football Top 25 Players of 2012: #6, Cornellius “Tank” Carradine

Tank Carradine Takes His Chance to Start and Runs With It, Tallying Huge Sack Numbers

Tank Carradine Takes His Chance to Start and Runs With It, Tallying Huge Sack Numbers

As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 6, Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE/Florida State (Preseason Rank: NR)

Senior Tank Carradine wasn’t supposed to be a starter this season. That was Brandon Jenkins‘s job. Or it was until he was injured in the Seminoles’ first game, ending his year far too soon. As a result, Carradine, long considered the “best backup defensive end in the country” finally got his chance to show his stuff in a major role, while also benefiting from playing opposite superstar Bjoern Werner. In 11 games (10 starting), the senior wreaked absolute havoc at the line, tallying 80 tackles (high for a D-lineman) along with 11 sacks. It made it virtually impossible to stop the FSU pass-rush with Werner and Carradine coming at teams from both sides, and with two different styles of pursuit. While Werner was utilizing his speed to get to the backfield, Carradine was all about pure force. Though he’s still only projected to be a third-round pick at the Draft (some scouts are concerned about his durability after he was injured in his own season as a starter), there’s a lot of potential for the 6’5″ end to grow his skillset even further at the next level. If there’s a run on D-linemen, he could jump to the second round and serve as a great steal for some lucky team.

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