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Several Hokies Hope to Improve Draft Stock
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #443 July 30, 2010

Virginia Tech currently has 30 former players in the NFL, and several more will be looking to make the jump to "The League" following the 2010 season. A couple are almost certain to come off the board early in the draft. Several others are working hard towards improving their draft stock, and few are hoping to sneak into the later stages.

Tech had five players chosen in the 2010 draft, ranging from Jason Worilds going in the second round to Cody Grimm being selected in the seventh. We should see about the same number of Hokies drafted in 2011, perhaps as many as six or seven.

After looking at several 2011 NFL Draft sites, we came up with some rough projections. Keep in mind that opinions on all players will vary depending on which scout is doing the evaluation. When listing the projected round each player will be selected in, we went with the highest projected pick we could find.

2011 NFL Draft Prospects
Player Pos. Yr. Projected Round
Ryan Williams RB r-So. 1
Rashad Carmichael CB r-Sr. 2
Blake DeChristopher* OT r-Jr. 2-3
Darren Evans RB r-Jr. 4-5
Tyrod Taylor QB Sr. 6-7
John Graves DT r-Sr. 6-7
Steven Friday DE r-Sr. 7
Beau Warren C r-Sr. 7-FA
*DeChristopher is projected as a mid-1st round pick in 2012

It seems to be unanimous agreement that Ryan Williams will enter the draft after the 2010 season and he'll be selected in the first round. Most seem to think that he'll be a mid-1st round pick, though he'll have the 2010 season as well as workouts for NFL scouts to prove that he deserves to go higher in the draft.

Cornerback Rashad Carmichael is one of the most underrated college football players in the country. The fans and media haven't heard of him, but NFL scouts certainly have. Right now he's projected to go as high as the second round in next year's draft.

WalterFootball.com projects Blake DeChristopher as a second or third round pick at offensive tackle if he leaves after this year, and as a mid-1st round pick if he stays for his senior season. Those projections are very optimistic at this point. DeChristopher is a very good player, and he'll get drafted by the NFL at some point. However, evaluating offensive linemen is very difficult. Sergio Render was ranked the #1 guard in the country before his senior season, but failed to get drafted in April.

DeChristopher could end up moving to offensive guard at the next level, as he sometimes struggles with speed rushers off the edge in college.

With raising his family likely weighing on him, it's possible that Darren Evans could declare for the NFL Draft if he proves in 2010 that his reconstructed ACL is back to 100%. Evans isn't likely to get as many carries as Ryan Williams, but if he has a good, productive season then he could potentially be a mid-round pick in next year's draft.

John Graves could potentially be a late riser on the NFL Draft boards. He does not have great statistics during his career, with only 8.5 tackles for loss and one sack. However, he spent most of 2009 hurt before blowing up the Tennessee offensive line in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If he can stay healthy in 2010, he could move up the list for a lot of NFL teams next April.

Graves also has versatility in his favor. He could potentially fit in with both NFL defensive systems: the 3-4 and the 4-3. He could play defensive end in a 3-4, or defensive tackle in a 4-3. Whatever his NFL Draft status, look for a big season from Graves.

Tyrod Taylor is another guy with a lot to prove as a senior. With a good year throwing the football, he could potentially move up the draft boards. However, he doesn't have the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback (6-3 or taller) which would allow him to see effectively over the line of scrimmage. His lack of height will likely limit him in the draft, but he's a guy who should get drafted at some point just based on college production.

Steven Friday will finally get a chance to get a lot of reps this season. He's a tweener on the NFL level. He's probably not big and strong enough to play defensive end, but he might not have the skills to play linebacker either. A lot will depend on how he plays this season, but he has the chance to be a late round pick. He has a lot of pass rushing ability, and could have potential as a pass rushing linebacker or a third down defensive end.

Beau Warren is Tech's starting center, and though he's not quite as bulky and strong as most NFL teams look for, he has quick feet and he can get to the second level. He has a chance to be a late round draft selection.

These players, as well as the rest of the Virginia Tech team, will begin practice on August 6. They'll be preparing for a Boise State team that could have 2-3 players selected on the first day of next year's NFL Draft: offensive tackle Nate Potter, wide receiver Austin Pettis and defensive end Ryan Winterswyk.


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