NFL Draft 2012: Luke Kuechly, David Wilson, Andre Branch Among 31 ACC Players Selected

Luke Kuechly Headlines a Long List of ACC Football Players Drafted By NFL Teams This Weekend

The 2012 NFL Draft is officially in the books, after 253 selections from the NFL’s 32 franchises. In total, the ACC saw 31 players chosen in this year’s draft — 33, if you include the two draftees from Syracuse (for argument’s sake, we will here). That number — regardless of which you decide to use — puts the conference behind just the SEC and Big Ten 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 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 roster 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. Continue reading

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2012 NFL Draft Preview: Clemson

Clemson’s Andre Branch Looks To Be An Early First-Rounder and Should Contribute Immediately

Leading up to April’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 43 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 26 and 28.

Our next featured team, Clemson, could have as many as nine players selected on draft weekend, so let’s get right to it:

Andre Branch, DE, Senior

The agile, yet physical Branch is seen as a top-flight prospect, and someone who could end up as a top-15 selection. During his career at Clemson, he showed a penchant for pursuing the quarterback, and though mildly undersized for a defensive end, still managed to get his fair share of sacks. Most intriguing, beyond his combination of decent speed (4.7 40) and strength, could be his ability to make tackles in various parts of the field. Scouts have him pegged as a possible switch to outside linebacker, similar to current Ravens star Terrell Suggs’ move upon entering the league. While needing some polish, Branch is NFL-ready and should anchor the line of whichever team drafts him.

Brandon Thompson, DT, Senior

Distinctly benefiting from his cohort above’s presence on the Tigers’ line, Thompson was given ample opportunity to make plays. Even in the shadow of his more-hyped teammate though, Thompson made waves and has continued to impress scouts as an enormous talent, despite a higher 40 time (5.24). On the other hand, Thompson can also push out 35 bench reps at 225 lbs. — the type of strength you can’t really teach. He may struggle against quicker offensive lines, but with a quick first step, could have a real advantage against the average pro line. Some lucky team could take a flier in the late-first, otherwise he’ll be snatched up early in the second. Continue reading

Top 15 ACC Players at the 2012 NFL Draft Combine

Boston College LB Luke Kuechly Leads a Strong Crop of ACC Players to the NFL Draft Combine

Another crop of players leaves the college ranks this spring to take part in one of my favorite events growing up (that is, until Roger Goodell ruined it): the NFL Draft. In preparation for their selections come April, the league released its official Combine invite list, and there are plenty of ACC players in attendance. In total, the 14 teams had 51 selections, with Miami scoring the most (eight). No surprise with the questions still looming over that program.

Below, we’ll list the top 15 prospects invited to the Combine, followed by a quick team-by-team list based on total numbers.

Top 15 ACC Players at the 2012 NFL Draft Combine

1. Luke Kuechly, LB/Boston College

2. David Wilson, RB/Virginia Tech

3. Andre Branch, DE/Clemson

4. Lamar Miller, RB/Miami

5. Dwight Jones, WR/North Carolina

6. T.J. Graham, WR/NC State

7. Sean Spence, LB/Miami

8. Chris Givens, WR/Wake Forest Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Convos All-ACC Team (Offfense)

Tajh Boyd is All-ACC First-Team, Despite Recent Struggles

The Atlantic Coast Convos All-ACC Team honors the best players at each offensive position. We’ve provided a list of both first- and second-team selections based on what we’ve observed throughout the season. Feel free to disagree, however, since we did on several of the official ACSMA list.

First Team

Quarterback: Tajh Boyd, Clemson

Running Back: David Wilson, Virginia Tech

Running Back: Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Wide Receiver: Dwight Jones, North Carolina

Tight End: Dwayne Allen, Clemson

Offensive Tackle: Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech

Offensive Tackle: Oday Aboushi, Virginia

Offensive Guard: Omoreggi Uzzi, Georgia Tech

Offensive Guard: Austin Pasztor, Virginia

Center: Dalton Freeman, Clemson

Kicker: Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

Special Teamer: T.J. Graham, NC State

Second Team

Quarterback: Mike Glennon, NC State

Running Back: Lamar Miller, Miami (FL)

Running Back: Andre Ellington, Clemson

Wide Receiver: Chris Givens, Wake Forest

Wide Receiver: Conner Vernon, Duke

Tight End: George Bryan, NC State

Offensive Tackle: Zebrie Sanders, Florida State

Offensive Tackle: James Hurst, North Carolina

Offensive Guard: Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech

Offensive Guard: Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

Center:Tyler Horn, Miami (FL)

Kicker: Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

Special Teamer: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Breakdown by Team: Clemson (7), UNC (4), Virginia Tech (3), NC State (3), Florida State (2), Miami (2), Virginia (2), Duke (1), Georgia Tech (1), Wake Forest (1)

Check out the All-ACC Defensive Team, too.