Willie Young, Ted Larsen and Toney Baker look forward to the weekend

In what is likely the most stressful day of their lives, three former Wolfpackers will look to start the next chapter of their careers via the NFL Draft, which begins tonight. While it’s highly unlikely Young, Larsen or Baker will get drafted tonight, there is a good chance all three will be taken by the end of the weekend.

Here’s three different stories about the draft prospects of these three very different players.

The Palm Beach Post: Young splitting time between training, fishing

Willie Young’s life is centered on two things – catching fish and quarterbacks.

A defensive end from North Carolina State by way of Palm Beach Gardens High, Young is expected to be a mid- to late-round selection in this week’s NFL Draft. Creeping anxiety caused by the draft’s uncertainty has Young seeking refuge where he can find it.

Ask Young, 24, what he’s been told regarding his draft status and he responds with a crack: “All I’m hearing right now are dumbbells clanging and fish splashing,” he said.

The dumbbells are for his 6-foot-5, 251-pound body. The splashing fish are for his head.

“It’s a privilege to be in this situation, but it can easily become very stressful,” said Young, whose younger brother, Avery, is a heralded offensive lineman at Palm Beach Gardens. “It’s the moment of a lifetime … but the closer that day comes, the more free time it seems I have to sit around and think about it. Fishing is an opportunity for me to get away.”

Last week, that meant searching for peacock bass on the state’s west coast. Other times, the fishing takes him closer to his father’s home in Riviera Beach.

Greensboro N&O: Patience not only virtue for Baker

When Toney Baker suited up for the East all-stars at the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the Ragsdale senior was the starting running back.

His backup that day in San Antonio was Rashard Mendenhall, who is about to enter his third NFL season as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ incumbent starter.

On the other sideline were running backs named Jonathan Stewart and Jamaal Charles, who also are two-year pros — Stewart with the Carolina Panthers, Charles with the Kansas City Chiefs.

And now, at last, it’s Baker’s turn to get his shot at the NFL.

The first round of the NFL draft starts at 7:30 p.m. today (ESPN). Baker knows his name won’t be called tonight, and probably not Friday in the second and third rounds.

Saturday is a different story.

“I expect to be drafted. Definitely,” Baker said. “I went on visits to the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans. They both liked me a lot. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from other teams, too. You just never know with the draft.”

Bleacher Report: Larsen’s stock rising

Ted Larsen is an offensive lineman that attended NC State, where he played center after being converted from a defensive tackle. After his first year as the center he was added to the Rimington trophy watch list, the Rimington trophy is given to the top collegiate center.

Larsen is officially listed at 6’2″, 304 pounds, and the all important arm length at 32 inches. Many scouts have him listed as the fifth best center in the draft.

Like I mentioned above Larsen has only been playing center at the collegiate level for two years and he can improve but he has solid fundamentals and consistently stays low with his knees bent.

He also handles speed rushers with success and can redirect them very nicely, this makes him versatile and he can play both center and offensive guard.

Larsen recently participated in the NFL combine where his best performance was seventh in the 20-yard shuttle run, where he ran it in 4.66 seconds. He also did the 225 pound bench rep 26 times. His stock could see some potential rise on his pro day which will be on March 24th.

Many Scouts have Larsen going as early as the fourth round but the overall consensus is that he will be taken in the fifth round.

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

Alums College Football Pro Sports

9 Responses to Willie Young, Ted Larsen and Toney Baker look forward to the weekend

  1. b 04/22/2010 at 12:43 PM #

    I believe Larson and Young come off the board in the late fourth early fifth. Toney B is likely a sixth or seventh round pick, and will be a steal for whoever takes a chance on him.

  2. TOBtime 04/22/2010 at 1:56 PM #

    b, do you really think Ted will last that long? He has the potential to play Jim Richter-like years. I hope he goes 2nd-3rd with Toney no lower than 4th-5th. Hopefully Mr Young has caught the eye of someone looking for a Manny Lawson-type player. That could end up being 2nd round but you just never know.

  3. b 04/22/2010 at 2:32 PM #

    I hope I’m wrong TOBtime.

    To me, Larson is a project player in the NFL, he has athletic skills, but he also had some struggles with the shotgun snap and our subpar running game reflects on the O-ilne as much as the RBs. He could go earlier than I predicted, and I hope my Eagles pick him, but with other more established Olinemen from better teams in a deep draft class, he will likely be picked up in the later rounds.

    TB is scary for NFL decision makers due to his serious knee injury. Most NFL teams already undervalue RBs due to their limited shelf-life, and damaged goods always sell later. I would pick him in the 4th, but I watched him play in HS down the street at Ragsdale, so I have a definite bias based on what my friends and neighbors think of TB and his family and my general affection towards Wolfpackers.

    As for Willie, he could go anywhere from the 2nd on, I just don’t see anything jumping off the charts to incite a risky pick. Going into his SR year there was talk from a lot of outlets that he could make himself into a 1st rounder with a big senior year. But a relatively unproductive year on one of the worst defenses in college football, is bound to have an impact on his status.

  4. b 04/22/2010 at 3:31 PM #

    In ESPN’s 7 round mock draft, FWIW, they have Willie in the 5th and Larson in the 6th. No mention of TB, but I still think his intangibles will compel a well managed team to take a chance.

  5. Prowling Woofie 04/22/2010 at 3:44 PM #

    TB may have to wait and sign on as a free agent, but someone will take a chance on him. Maybe the Panthers ? They’ve lost Hoover, and may need someone catching passes out of the backfield…

  6. FunPack 04/22/2010 at 4:48 PM #

    Good luck to all these guys. I’ll be looking for them on Sundays.

  7. TOBtime 04/22/2010 at 4:53 PM #

    Agreed on Larsen being a project. I still remember some of those shotgun snaps! However, the guy certainly deserves a look with the tools he has.
    I saw Toney play as well and agree 100% with your sentiment towards him as a person and his family. I remember telling my wife “he should just go pro” but of course I was ecstatic he went the NCSU route. Toney was an absolute man-among-boys at Ragsdale. I also think he could do alot in the right situation but the question is will anyone give him a chance? I agree with Woofie about the Panthers. Look at what they have done with Hoover in their offense over the years. I think TB could fill that role.
    Maybe Willie should fish less?

  8. packalum44 04/23/2010 at 10:06 AM #

    Although Willie’s the same weight as Bruce Smith, he’s not Bruce Smith who’s a once-in-a-100-year talent. I don’t expect Willie to play DE in NFL but rather linebacker. I’m not sure how his skill set transfers to that position but I assume its not easy.

  9. b 04/23/2010 at 2:15 PM #

    What Willie most likely will be is a 3-4 rush LB, he’ll be a project along the lines of Manny Lawson.

Leave a Reply