Ex-Cats

2019 Kentucky NFL Draft guide: Predictions for ex-Cats and how to track them

Who will Mark Stoops miss more, Benny Snell or Josh Allen?

After his team's 27-24 win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops was asked which of his stars will he miss most -- Benny Snell or Josh Allen? UK finished the season 10-3.
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After his team's 27-24 win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops was asked which of his stars will he miss most -- Benny Snell or Josh Allen? UK finished the season 10-3.

The 2019 NFL Draft is set to begin Thursday in Nashville.

Several University of Kentucky players hope to hear their names called during the three-day event. Here’s a breakdown of how to keep up throughout the week and where UK’s players are being projected to go leading up to the draft.

The draft

Thursday: First round (8 p.m.) | TV coverage: ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, NFL Network

Friday: Second and third rounds (7 p.m.) | TV coverage: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network

Saturday: Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds (noon) | ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, NFL Network

Online streaming broadcasts will be available through the ESPN app and NFL app.

NFL Draft order

NFL Draft rules and procedure

Twitter

Dozens of accounts — analysts, reporters and teams — collected in one spot to help you stay up to date during the draft.

Projections

Where do mock drafts project UK players to land in the draft? Find out here. (Note: Listed projections were as of Friday, April 19.)

JOSH ALLEN: Allen broke UK’s career sacks record with 31.5 and its single-season record with 17 in the 2018 season, during which the Wildcats won 10 games for the first time in 41 years. He was a consensus First-Team All-American as a senior and won every national Defensive Player of the Year award. He’s a lock to go in the top 10 regardless of trades that might or might not occur during the draft.

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: No. 4, Oakland Raiders

Charley Casserly, NFL.com: No. 3, New York Jets

Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com: No. 4, Oakland Raiders

Charles Davis, NFL.com: No. 3, New York Jets

Drafttek: No. 3, New York Jets

Luke Easterling, USA Today: No. 3, New York Jets

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: No. 3, New York Jets

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: No. 5, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: No. 4, Oakland Raiders

Peter King, NBC Sports: No. 4, Oakland Raiders

Mel Kiper, ESPN: No. 3, New York Jets

Josh Norris, NBC Sports: No. 3, New York Jets

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: No. 6, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (projected trade)

Steve Serby, New York Post: No. 3, New York Jets

Peter Schrager, NFL.com: No. 3, New York Jets

R.J. White, CBS Sports: No. 5, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: No. 3, New York Jets

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: No. 3, New York Jets

DERRICK BAITY: Two mocks from CBS Sports have the UK cornerback landing in Cincinnati during the sixth round — Ryan Wilson has him going to the Bengals at pick No. 198 while R.J. White projects him at No. 213. Chad Reuter of NFL.com has Arizona taking Baity at 254th overall in the seventh round with the last of its three compensatory picks, which would qualify him as this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” a title bestowed upon the last pick of each NFL Draft. Former Highlands and Kentucky star Marty Moore was the first Mr. Irrelevant to play in a Super Bowl, doing so with the New England Patriots in 1997, and he later won a Super Bowl with the Pats in 2001. USA Today’s Luke Easterling is higher on Baity, tabbing him as a fifth-round selection by the Tennessee Titans (pick No. 157).

C.J. CONRAD: Walter Cherepinsky has Conrad going in the sixth round to Denver with the 182nd overall pick, but otherwise the UK tight end is nowhere to be found on seven-round mock drafts we could identify. Sports Illustrated last week had Conrad ranked as the 22nd best tight end available and the 341st best player overall — well outside of draft range. In recent weeks he’s had to work to get his name back out there and prove to teams he’s OK after a health scare involving his heart.

MIKE EDWARDS: UK’s second-all time leader in tackles among defensive backs is likely to be taken on the final day of the draft. “Mike Edwards, probably I’d say fourth round is where he ends up going, maybe he could sneak into the third round,” NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said on “Move the Sticks,” a podcast, last week. “But more than likely you’re talking about a fourth-round guy and I feel great about that pick.” Luke Easterling has him going to Jacksonville in the fourth round (No. 109) while most other projections have Edwards landing in the fifth or sixth rounds.

LONNIE JOHNSON: After Allen, UK’s most sought-after prospect in this year’s draft is Johnson, who’s expected by most to be taken no later than the third round. It could be a lot sooner: hype has built around the 6-foot-2 cornerback, and he’s tabbed as a first-round selection by Pittsburgh according NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, who wrote last week that “This is higher than I have Johnson rated, but he’s catching a lot of buzz right now and the Steelers have a need at the position.” Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller wrote Friday that rumors of Johnson moving into round one have heated up; because of “question marks in the cornerback class,” Miller said, “Johnson could stand to be the biggest beneficiary in the group.” Lance Zierlein, another NFL.com analyst, projects Johnson as a second-rounder.

BENNY SNELL: Fans who watched Snell torch rushing records at UK might be surprised to see him pegged as no better than a mid-to-late round selection, but his speed is a concern and the position isn’t valued highly overall; only three running backs — Alabama’s Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris and Iowa State’s David Montgomery — are ranked among the top-70 players in the draft according to CBS (compare that to wide receiver position, which boasts 11 top-70 players). Expect Snell to be selected sometime on the final day.

BUNCHY STALLINGS: CBS has Stallings, a First-Team All-America and First-Team All-SEC selection last season, ranked as the 45th-best offensive lineman in a draft class featuring nearly 100 potential targets. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein thinks Stallings will be a “priority free agent” if he goes undrafted in part thanks to his ability to play at the center and guard positions. R.J. White and Ryan Wilson, both of CBS, have him going in the seventh round to the Buffalo Bills.

DARIUS WEST: NFL.com projects West as a seventh-round selection or priority free agent, meaning he’d get a call soon after the draft if he’s still available. He was UK’s leader in interceptions with three last season.

WHO ELSE?

Jordan Jones: Was invited to the NFL Combine but was not listed in any mock drafts identified by the Herald-Leader. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is concerned about his technique and size, but he thinks he could find a spot on special teams and end up in a team’s training camp.

Chris Westry: The 6-4 cornerback’s size is intriguing but he’s not mentioned in any mock drafts, even after running a 4.31 at UK’s pro day and recording a 38-inch vertical. He could be an interesting free agent target for teams looking to deepen their secondaries.

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