Several players from this year’s South Carolina Gamecocks squad will enter the NFL draft either as juniors or graduated seniors. None of them are projected first rounders, but some are thought to be talented enough to go in the early rounds. Also, a couple guys could burst up draft boards after the combine.
Most mock draft sites don’t have a full seven rounds up yet, but the ones that do have Gamecocks being taken mostly in the third through fifth rounds. The names that come up are usually, Devin Taylor, DeVonte Holloman, Justice Cunningham, Marcus Lattimore and D.J. Swearinger.
One site that does have a full seven rounds up is Draftsite.com. That website has Devin Taylor going in the second round at pick 51 to the Cincinnati Bengals, DeVonte Holloman in the fourth round at pick 125 to the Atlanta Falcons, Justice Cunningham going in the fifth round at pick 147 to the Bengals, and Marcus Lattimore going in the fifth round at pick 150 to the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s hard to give merit to any website that doesn’t have Swearinger being taken in its mock draft, so read into that what you will.
When the season is finally over, and when the NFL Combine is finally done with and when team interviews have all taken place, here is which Gamecocks I think will be drafted and where I think they will be taken (right now anyway. As always, mock drafts are subject to change):
Devin Taylor: Round 3 Pick 63, Kansas City Chiefs
D.J. Swearinger: Round 3 Pick 88, Baltimore Ravens
Justice Cunningham: Round 4 Pick 121, Green Bay Packers
DeVonte Holloman: Round 5 Pick 132, Carolina Panthers
Marcus Lattimore: Round 5 Pick 140, New York Jets
TJ Johnson: Round 7 Pick 196, Arizona Cardinals
Shaq Wilson: Round 7 Pick 216, Philadelphia Eagles
I think Devin Taylor and D.J. Swearinger will have terrific showings at the combine. The Chiefs need help everywhere, and the Ravens are, still, a defensive minded team with aging defensive stars.
Justice Cunningham will also impress at the combine, and the Packers need depth and a future at tight end with Jermichael Finley nearing the likely conclusion of his career in the next few years.
I’m not sure DeVonte Hollaman has done enough at Carolina to be drafted any higher than the fifth round. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. He deserves to be drafted, and the Panthers have a history of sticking around the Carolinas with some of their later draft picks.
Marcus Lattimore is the real enigma of this draft. Many players have proven it’s not at all a fantasy to think he could come into the league right away off his injury and contribute. Just this year, Adrian Peterson is going for the record for most rushing yards in a single season less than a year after having surgery for his terrible knee injury. The Jets need a ton of help at running back, and if Lattimore falls that far to them, I think they’ll snatch him up.
Finally, TJ Johnson and Shaq Wilson have been way too consistent to go un-drafted. Any team who can steal them in the seventh round will be lucky to have done so.