It was a nice weekend for NC State to receive some positive PR!!! Six Wolfpackers were selected in the two-day NFL Draft over the weekend, and two others signed free agency contracts on Sunday. The Wolfpacker’s Draft Tracker highlights State’s six draft picks over the weekend. Heck, even Torry Holt got into the swing of things with analysis in ESPN’s studios.
* Prior to the 2006 draft, NC State had produced twelve first round picks. On Saturday, State grew that number by 25% when three players were chosen in the first round. NC State had never had three players selected in the first round in a single season.
* Mario Williams became the first player in both NC State and Atlantic Coast Conference history to be taken with the #1 overall selection in the NFL.
I think that we should highlight some of the information from choppack’s comments:
* 2 of State’s 3 first rounders were lightly-recruited kids who were developed into 1st rounders (McCargo & Lawson)
* 3 of the kids were from NC
* 4 of the kids weren’t big time recruits
State’s first round selections were as follows:
Mario Williams made history when the Houston Texans made him NC State’s and the ACC’s first ever #1 overall selection.
Manny Lawson went #22 overall to San Francisco.
John McCargo went #26 overall to Buffalo.
* The biggest mistake of the weekend seems to have been Derek Morris’ decision to enter the NFL Draft a year early. Of course, I could have written that exact sentence BEFORE the draft and known it to be true.
* CBS Sportsline Alumni Tracker lists twenty former NC State players on current NFL rosters. That number may be a little high as some of those former Wolfpackers may no longer be in the league. After today’s second round, it looks like NC State will have approximately 25 players on NFL rosters next season.
* Michael Smith had some great comments about Mario being the right pick for the Texans in this piece.
* The ACC was pretty impressive on Saturday, generating 7 of the first 15 selections and leading all conferences for the day with 25 of the 97 total picks on the day. The ACC sent 12 in the first round, 7 in the second round, and 6 in the third round. The conference’s dominance was not lost on many in the national media. ESPN Radio personalities were touting the ACC’s prominence on Sunday morning shows.
* Clemson’s Charlie Whitehurst was drafted in the middle of the third round by the San Diego Chargers to back up Philip Rivers.
* If you plan on following the Texans a little closer, allow me to offer my opinion that they compelted an excellent draft. The Texans needed help everywhere – but some needs were a little more strategic than others. They succeeded in alleviating some pressure from former Pro Bowl wideout, Andre Johnson, when they picked up veteran Eric Moulds in free agency. So, Saturday’s draft yielded two great defensive players (Williams & Demeco Ryans) and two much needed offensive linemen to protect David Carr. Sunday’s picks filled in some more holes for the Texans by diversifying their offensive firepower with the addition of an H-Back (remember Gary Kubiak’s success with Shannon Sharpe in Denver) and Virginia, Wali Lundy (a potential late round steal).
* I also followed the Chargers draft a little closely because of Philip Rivers. Although they failed to land a needed wide receiver to add to their aging corp, they did draft heavily for offensive line help.
* I wonder if any high school recruits out there noticed that other than Duke and Wake Forest, North Carolina was the only other ACC school to not have a player drafted on Saturday? The Tarheels “broke through” when defensive lineman, Chase Page was drafted in the last round by San Diego. Surely the name “Chase Page” will strike fear in the hearts of NFL offensivel linemen all over the country.
* State lost four underclassmen starters to this year’s NFL Draft. There is a lot of good…and a lot of bad in that.
* Sunday’s piece in the News & Observer highlighted the historical day for NC State’s program.
But with three of his players leading the way, Pack coach Chuck Amato said the first-round selections of his former players show that State’s football program is on the right track and should also help in recruiting.
“It shows these young men we’re recruiting that we can make you a first-round draft pick,” said Amato.
Amato had dinner Friday night with another former State player drafted in the first round — Hall of Fame quarterback Roman Gabriel, the second pick of the 1962 NFL draft.
Amato said he handed his cell phone to Gabriel so the former Wolfpack great could speak to Williams and Lawson.
“Roman was proud and happy to wish them luck and congratulations,” Amato said of the pre-draft conversation. “I just wanted them to hear his voice.”
Amato also said he was elated that it was Williams who broke the top-pick barrier for the conference. “The ACC has been going on for 52 years,” Amato said. “I’m glad it was one of our guys to do do it.”
* This link will take you to a guy’s blog who deserves a gold medal for detailing every single day one pick during a live blog on Saturday. He did as well or better than these two guys at FoxSports.com They should be good resources if you want to check on any individual players.