Three Virginia Tech football players were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Jimmy Williams, Darryl Tapp and James Anderson were among the first 88 players selected, and were part of a large number of ACC players taken on the first day. More Tech players are expected to be taken in the final four rounds of the draft on Sunday.
Jimmy Williams was the first Hokie to come off the board. The unanimous All-American was projected as a mid-to-late first round pick, but slipped into the early second round. The Atlanta Falcons, who originally owned the 47th pick in the draft, traded up to the 37th pick to take Williams.
Williams will join a number of other former Hokies in Atlanta, including DeAngelo Hall, Matt Lehr, Bryan Randall and Michael Vick. Kevin McCadam and Keion Carpenter have also played for the Falcons in recent years. Williams could find himself starting opposite Hall at cornerback this season.
Williams was considered a lock to be a first round draft pick, perhaps even a top 10 pick, until very recently. He was ejected from the Gator Bowl for making contact with an official, and he steadily dropped on teams’ draft boards because of perceived character and attitude issues. He also posted just average numbers in testing sessions for NFL scouts, which also contributed to his draft day slide.
Darryl Tapp was selected in the second round with the 63rd overall pick by the defending NFC Champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Tapp was projected by the majority of analysts to be a first day pick, so things went basically as expected for the All-ACC defensive end.
Tapp was considered to be slightly shorter and a little slower than the ideal defensive end prospect, but he made up for his lack of measurable by having a relentless motor and strong work ethic. The Seahawks are looking for an explosive pass rusher to compliment Grant Wistrom, and Tapp is expected to fill that role.
The third Tech player selected was not Jonathan Lewis, as most would have expected, but whip linebacker James Anderson . Anderson was selected in the third round with the 88th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. He impressed NFL scouts at the NFL Combine with his athleticism, and he quickly moved up the draft boards of a lot of teams.
ACC Sets New Record
The ACC had 12 players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, which is a new record for a single conference. Only two of those 12 play on the offensive side of the ball, showing that the ACC was definitely a power defensive conference in 2005. Of the 19 defensive players selected in the first round, 10 were from the ACC. NC State had three defensive linemen drafted in the first round. Here is a look at each of the ACC’s first round picks.
Mario Williams, DE, NC State, #1 overall, Houston Texans
The Houston Texas stunned football fans when they passed on Reggie Bush in favor of Mario Williams. Williams is a 6-7, 295 defensive end who runs a 4.73 in the 40 yard dash. He was considered the top defensive end in the draft, but it was a bit surprising to see the Texans choose Williams over Reggie Bush.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia, #4 overall, New York Jets
Ferguson was unanimously regarded as the best offensive line prospect in the 2006 NFL Draft. He was the only offensive tackle taken in the first round, which shows how far he outclassed the rest of the field.
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland, #6 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Davis left Maryland a year early, which appears at this point to be the correct decision. It would have been hard for him to improve his stock by playing another year of college football. At 6-3, 256, Davis runs a 4.4 40.
Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State, #9 overall, Detroit Lions
Sims is a very good outside linebacker prospect, and the Lions are looking to rebuild their team based around a good defense. Sims is definitely a good start in the rebuilding process.
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State, #13 overall, Cleveland Browns
At 6-3, 241, Wimbley is a bit of a tweener, but that is exactly what Cleveland was looking for. Wimbley can lineup at defensive end or play as a speed rushing outside linebacker.
Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State, #14 overall, Philadelphia Eagles
Bunkley was the most dominating defensive tackle in the ACC in 2005. He was constantly in the backfield for Florida State this past season, recording 25 tackles for loss. He had a great game against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
Tye Hill, CB, Clemson, #15 overall, St. Louis Rams
It was probably a little surprising to some people to see Hill go this high, but he certainly opened some eyes in his workouts for NFL scouts. Hill has blazing speed, which will help offset his 5-9, 186 frame.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State, #19 overall, San Diego Chargers
No one questions Cromartie’s physical talent, but he missed the entire 2005 season with a torn ACL. To take a player who hasn’t played a down since 2004 in the first round is a bit of a reach, but it could very well work out for the Chargers.
Manny Lawson, DE, NC State, #22 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Lawson is a super athlete with the frame to put on more weight. He was a big-time playmaker on the defensive line for NC State, but was sometimes overshadowed by the hype surrounding Mario Williams.
John McCargo, DT, NC State, #26 overall, Buffalo Bills
So how good was NC State’s defensive line in 2005 when the #26 overall pick is just the third best out of four players on the defensive line? McCargo was selected a bit higher than most expected, but he fills a need for the Bills.
Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami, #31 overall, Seattle Seahawks
As a four-year starter at Miami, Jennings certainly has a lot of experience playing against the best of the best. He should contribute immediately in nickel and dime packages. At 179, he is a little light, but he is physical.
Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College, #32 overall, New York Giants
Kiwanuka’s stock dropped a lot from where it was a few months ago, but the Giants definitely helped themselves out at defensive end. He is tall and rangy with very good athleticism.