NFL Draft 2013: Conner Vernon, Kevin Reddick, Ray Graham Top List of ACC Snubs This Year

Kevin Reddick is One of Several Standout ACC Prospects Who Did Not Hear His Name Called on Draft Day

Kevin Reddick is One of Several Standout ACC Prospects Who Went Undrafted This Weekend

While 31 (34) of their ACC cohorts were selected during this weekend’s NFL Draft, the festivities still left plenty of ACC players without an NFL team to call home yet. Of course, many have since signed as free agents with squads, however, it still doesn’t eliminate the questions about why they weren’t considered among the top 254 players available.

We’ve listed out our top 10 biggest draft snubs out of the list of undrafted ACC players for 2013 below. Also included are notes on their respective skill sets, and if they’ve landed on an NFL team at this time.

Top 10 ACC Draft Snubs

1. Kevin Reddick, LB/North Carolina (signed with New Orleans Saints)

Reddick was viewed as slightly undersized before the draft, but was still slated to be selected sometime on day three. The fact that he was passed up obviously ends up being a blessing for New Orleans here, who now have one of the best undrafted players this year, with a huge chip on his shoulder.

2. Conner Vernon, WR/Duke (signed with Oakland Raiders)

In another shock, the ACC’s all-time leading receiver also went unselected; the issue being his less-than-stellar speed and primary use as a possession receiver on short routes. The Raiders may not be the perfect fit for Vernon, but perhaps he shows enough to head elsewhere before the fall.

3. Adrian Bushell, CB/Louisville (signed with Oakland Raiders)

Bushell was seen as a fringe corner, and there weren’t necessarily any guarantees he’d come off the board. Plus, for a team that already went about drafting defensive backs in Oakland, he’ll have a hard time making the roster.

4. Matt Furstenburg, TE/Maryland (signed with Baltimore Ravens)

Furstenburg gets to stay close to home, with the nearby Ravens snagging him shortly after the draft. As a late riser on most boards, there were thoughts he could’ve gone in the fifth round. But given his perfect fit for the Ravens’ offense, being passed up may have actually been a gift for both parties.

5. Ray Graham, RB/Pittsburgh (signed with Houston Texans)

Injuries obviously scared off observers, who saw Graham more as a health liability than the stellar halfback he was while with the Panthers. And even though the Texans fail to give hm any real shot to start (all-pro Arian Foster has that position locked up for the foreseeable future), Graham may get an opportunity to contribute in garbage time this year should Houston’s offense be as prolific as projected.

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NFL Draft 2013 Preview: Georgia Tech Prospects

T.J. Barnes is Viewed as the Best Georgia Tech Prospect Available, But Who Else Is on the Board?

T.J. Barnes is Viewed as the Best Georgia Tech Prospect Available, But Who Else Is on the Board?

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.

Since Paul Johnson took over, it seems like the talent coming out of Georgia Tech has certainly diminished a bit. Of course, they’re still churning out some elite receivers, but with a diminished recruiting pipeline and a gimmick offense, you’re starting to see a reduced pool of NFL-caliber players at Tech. This year in particular, there’s no one even within sniffing distance of the NFL Draft’s first two days, though former ‘Jackets could still provide some late-round value just the same.

T.J. Barnes, DT, Senior (Projected: Sixth Round)

Barnes’s size (6’6″ 369 pounds) is both a blessing and a curse, providing him with the power to manhandle opposing linemen, while also inspiring some fear he’s a health problem waiting to happen. Surprisingly, however, Barnes and his large frame can still put up a 5.19 40-yard dash time (mildly astounding, actually), which also leaves scouts to wonder how fast he could be if he just trimmed down 20 pounds or so. The weight issue won’t stop him from getting drafted at all, but the second he’s selected, you can bet that’ll be the first item addressed with his new employer. If he can get that under control, he’ll certainly be able to easily earn and keep a pro roster spot.

Omoregie Uzzi, OG, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)

First-team All-ACC this past year, Uzzi should’ve been able to parlay that into a late-round selection. That is, until he underwent knee surgery in January and was not invited to the NFL Draft Scouting Combine. For large offensive linemen like Uzzi (6’3″ and 305 pounds), that type of procedure automatically raises red flags for scouts — fair or not — and it’s the primary reason he’s fallen off draft boards. For teams willing to take a flyer on him as a free agent though, they’ll get a strong guard with a quick first move off the snap and plenty of run-blocking ability.

Rod Sweeting, CB, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)

In many drafts, Sweeting would probably have what it takes to hear his name called on day three, but when the defensive selection pool is this deep, it’s not sure-thing for him. He’s certainly got the speed to make it as a pro (4.39 40-yard dash time), but his lack of size (5’11″ and 189 pounds) is cause for concern against the growing number of larger, physical receivers in the NFL. He did do very well in the lead-up to the East-West Shrine Game, which helps his case, but his selection will likely come down to two things: does a team want to emphasize coverage over turnovers? And are they willing to overlook his lack of size? If a team’s okay with both, then he’ll be picked. If not, he won’t. Plain and simple.

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ACC Football Preview 2012: Preseason Defensive Unit Rankings

North Carolina Hopes a Transition to the 4-2-5 Defense Helps Kevin Reddick Become a True Star

We’re literally one day (and some hours) away from the start of the 2012 season, so obviously, we’re rolling out tons of arbitrarily ranked lists to peruse before kickoff. The focus of this particular list? Every ACC defense. Along with the ranked list, we’ll provide some background to legitimize said arbitrary ranking. Don’t agree with us? Voice your opinion in the comment section.

Want more lists? Be sure to check out our offensive unit rankings earlier today, and the coaching ranks later on.

ACC Defense Unit Rankings (Preseason)

1. Florida State Seminoles: FSU will possess one of the most frightening pass-rushes in all of college football. And return nine starters from the fourth-best scoring defense in the country last year. And be the guiding force behind a resurgent season back in the BCS spotlight for the Seminoles.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies: Aggressive and ball-hawking, the Hokies’ defense will be leaned on quite a bit this season, and I give them credit as a group capable of carrying that heavy burden. If they continue to force turnovers with pressure as they have in the past, they’ll be one of the country’s most impressive units yet again.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels: The new 4-2-5 scheme should have this group looking like an unconventional version of the two teams ahead of them on this list. Agile and focused on pressure and turnovers, senior leader Kevin Reddick should excel here, as will his defensive cohorts who’ve all waited a long time to be let loose in a set like this.

4. NC State Wolfpack: Some may murmur about linebacker concerns, but the focus for the Wolfpack will be on the talented secondary. David Amerson and Earl Wolff should run things as they have in the past, with Amerson gunning to add to his record-setting total of picks from last year.

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ACC 2012 Spring Practice Expectations: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Tevin Washington's Ability To Pass The Ball Will Have Big Implications for Georgia Tech in 2012

As spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing what needs to happen for the teams and players of the ACC, culminating with notes on all 14 spring games.

Today’s featured team: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

As good as Georgia Tech’s run-game was in 2011 — and it was great while averaging 316.5 yards per contest — its biggest issue became predictability. By-and-large, teams knew the triple-option was coming, and by the year’s midway point, it was obvious how to stop it (at least in part). The 6-0 start turned into a 2-5 finish, mostly because the book on the ‘Jackets was written, and there were very few tricks up their sleeves. On the other hand, maybe it shouldn’t have been. Tech started off its season using Tevin Washington extensively as a passer, before virtually shutting down the passing game in the second half of the year. Of course they’ll be fine proceeding with the same multi-tiered rush attack, but if they hope to get past the eight/nine-win mark currently blocking them from any further success, there must be competence (if not balance) in both facets. Replacing the departing receiving corps. is no easy feat, nor does it help matters, but it will be the key this spring. Incoming receiver Anthony Autry could play one of the largest roles of any freshman in the ACC, especially if the team hopes he can replace Stephen Hill Continue reading