NFL Draft Projections: Cooper, Williams, Bernard, Reddick
The NFL dream will come true this weekend for several Tar Heels, with the annual draft beginning Thursday. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look around the Internet to see where four former Carolina standouts are projected. Here now are the results. I'll also tell you the highest projection, the lowest projection, and the average, with highest and lowest thrown out. Note: NFL.com actually has 12(!) analyst mock drafts, but I'm only going with the first four here. Note: many mock drafts include only the first round or two.
Sylvester Williams has really climbed the charts lately, and it's very likely that Carolina will have two players selected on Thursday night.
The former Tar Heel left guard, outstanding on the offensive interior for four years (plus a redshirt year), Cooper will be in New York for the draft and is very likely to be the first Tar Heel off the board.
As High As: 7th pick, 1st round by Arizona (Bucky Brooks at NFL.com)
As Low As: Not in the first round (Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com)
Average (discounting outliers): 11
Mode (number that appears most often): 10
Mel Kiper Jr. has two drafts posted. One he's calling a Mock Draft, and one in which he plays GM. I'm going with the GM one for the first round. In that, he has Cooper going 10th overall to Tennessee, calling him "the best value at a need spot" for the Titans.
Meanwhile, the four-letter's Todd McShay has Cooper at 11th to San Diego.
Over on NFL.com, Matt Smith, Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis agree on 10th to Tennessee, although Bucky Brooks (Tar Heel!) has Coop slotted at 7th to the Cardinals.
SI.com's Don Banks has Cooper going 8th to Buffalo.
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk has Cooper 15th to the Saints.
WalterFootball's mock draft slots Cooper 18th to the Dallas Cowboys.
CBSSports.com's four NFL Draft analysts vary wildly on Cooper, with Rob Rang picking him 8th to Buffalo, Dane Brugler has him 11th to San Diego, Pete Prisco says 20th to Chicago, and Pat Kirwan has Cooper out of the first round, which is ridiculous.
The Missouri native went from manufacturing parts for truck radiators to junior college to Chapel Hill, where he blossomed on the defensive line.
As High As: 18 (multiple)
As Low As: 28 (Bucky Brooks, NFL.com)
Average (discounting outliers): 21.8
Mode (number that appears most often): 18
Kiper: 18th to Dallas
McShay: 25th to Minnesota
Smith: 23rd to Minnesota
Jeremiah: 24th to Indianapolis
Davis: 20th to Chicago
Brooks: 28th to Denver
Banks: 18th to Dallas
Florio: 20th to Chicago
WalterFootball: 23rd to Minnesota
Rang: 18th to Dallas
Brugler: 20th to Chicago
Kirwan: 23rd to Minnesota
Prisco: 26th to Green Bay
Here's a link to WalterFootball's detailed profile of Gio, written by Charlie Campbell. Campbell says Bernard's best fits would be with the Jets, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Green Bay. I've seen Gio compared to C.J. Spiller, DeAngelo Williams and Chris Johnson.
Rang: 53rd to Cincinnati
CBSSports.com: 2nd-3rd round
Brugler says Bernard needs to focus on returns, and points to his drop at Virginia on the Carolina 12 that led to a Cavalier field goal. Gio had 247 touches last year between rushes, receptions and returns and had two fumbles - both on punt returns. In 2011, he had four fumbles and lost two, all on rushes.
ESPN ranks Reddick the 4th-best inside linebacker in the draft.
CBSSports.com: 4th-5th round