Football

Expect only one first-round NFL Draft pick from state of Kentucky, but more could be chosen later

Western Kentucky offensive tackle Forrest Lamp competed in a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis in March.
Western Kentucky offensive tackle Forrest Lamp competed in a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis in March. AP

Kentucky’s Jon Toth, a 6-foot-5, 307-pound center, represents the Wildcats’ best prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night. In all, nine players from UK and other Kentucky schools are believed to have a shot this year.

CBSSports.com ranks the top 1,000 players eligible, and the rest of UK’s entries fall into free agent territory, most notably Stanley “Boom” Williams, UK’s 5-7 190-pound running back who declared for the draft after his junior season. Williams ranks as the 35th-best running back and 488th prospect overall, well outside the draft’s seven-round range.

Toth, a four-year starter at UK from Indianapolis, is projected as a sixth- or seventh-round choice by NFL.com and CBSSports.com.

Toth “will appeal to teams looking for centers who can operate in a power-based rushing scheme,” according to analysis by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. “While he’s better in a phone booth than on the move, he understands his limitations and does a good job of staying within himself.”

The best-rated prospect in the state is Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, projected as a first-round pick. Lamp, a 6-4, 309-pound redshirt senior out of Venice, Fla., is the top-ranked guard in the class and 28th-best prospect overall, according to CBSSports.com.

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Boom Williams worked out during Kentucky’s Pro Day in March. The UK junior rushed for a team-best 1,170 yards in 2016. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

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Kentucky offensive lineman Jon Toth runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 3, 2017. Michael Conroy AP

Likely joining Lamp at an NFL camp this summer will be WKU wide receiver Taywan Taylor, ranked as the 14th-best wideout and 110th-best prospect overall. Projected as a third- or fourth-round pick, Taylor, a 5-11, 203-pound senior out of Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park, saw his stock soar after catching nine passes for 121 yards in a loss to perennial power Alabama last season. His 17 touchdowns were third best in the nation.

Louisville tight end Cole Hikutini projects as a fifth- or sixth-round pick for the Cardinals. Hikutini, a 6-4, 247-pound senior out of Wilton, Calif., leads a pack of about 12 Cardinals hoping for an NFL contract this summer. Teamates Devonte Fields, DeAngelo Brown, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Jamari Staples project as potential seventh-round picks.

Michigan’s Jeremy Clark, a 6-3, 221-pound cornerback out of Madisonville, also projects as a potential seventh-round pick despite tearing an ACL in the fourth game of his senior year. The former all-state player “could challenge for a roster spot with teams looking for bump-and-run corners with an ability to operate on special teams,” NFL.com’s Zierlein said.

NFL Draft

When: Thursday (Round 1), Friday (Rounds 2-3), Saturday (Rounds 4-7)

Where: Philadelphia

Thursday’s TV: ESPN and NFL Network, 8 p.m.

Kentucky connections in the NFL Draft

CBS rank

Player

Pos.

Pos. Rank

School

Class

Ht.

Wt.

Projected Round

Hometown, high school

28

Forrest Lamp

OG

1

Western Kentucky

rSr

6-4

309

1

Venice, Fla., Venice

110

Taywan Taylor

WR

14

Western Kentucky

Sr

5-11

203

3 or 4

Louisville, PRP

190

Cole Hikutini

TE

12

Louisville

Sr

6-4

247

5 or 6

Wilton, Calif., Pleasant Grove

234

Jon Toth

C

6

Kentucky

rSr

6-5

307

6 or 7

Indianapolis, Brebeuf Jesuit

239

Jeremy Clark

CB

29

Michigan

rSr

6-3

221

7

Madisonville, North Hopkins

252

Devonte Fields

OLB

22

Louisville

rSr

6-2

236

7

Arlington, Texas, Martin

270

DeAngelo Brown

DT

25

Louisville

rSr

6-1

312

7-FA

Savannah, Ga., Savannah Christian

289

Josh Harvey-Clemons

SS

13

Louisville

rSr

6-4

217

7-FA

Valdosta, Ga., Lowndes County

350

Jamari Staples

WR

41

Louisville

rSr

6-3

195

7-FA

Lineville, Ala., Central

357

Max Halpin

C

11

Western Kentucky

rSr

6-3

300

––

Fort Mitchell, Covington Catholic

363

Keith Towbridge

TE

23

Louisville

Sr

6-4

262

––

Toledo, Ohio, Toledo Central Catholic

381

Branden Leston

FS

18

Western Kentucky

rSr

6-2

202

––

Clearwater, Fla. Clearwater

422

Colin Holba

LS

3

Louisville

rSr

6-4

248

––

Louisville, Eastern

425

Keith Kelsey

ILB

19

Louisville

Sr

6-1

233

––

Gainesville, Fla., Gainesville

446

Keith Brown

ILB

21

Western Kentucky

rSr

6-1

246

––

Miami, Norland

459

Darrell Williams Jr.

OT

34

Western Kentucky

rSr

6-5

315

––

Dublin, Ga., West Laurens

488

Boom Williams

RB

35

Kentucky

Jr

5-7

190

––

Monroe, Ga., George Walton Academy

490

James Quick

WR

53

Louisville

Sr

6-1

186

––

Louisville, Trinity

514

Tobijah Hughley

C

16

Louisville

rSr

6-1

304

––

Lexington, Lafayette

528

Anthony Wales

RB

39

Western Kentucky

rSr

5-9

197

––

Louisville, Central

607

Brandon Radcliff

RB

45

Louisville

rSr

5-9

206

––

Miami, Columbus

625

Marcus McWilson

SS

32

Kentucky

Sr

6-1

198

––

Youngstown, Ohio, Cardinal Mooney

674

Nicholas Norris

WR

80

Western Kentucky

Sr

5-8

160

––

Miami, Booker T. Washington

893

Khalil Hunter

OG

53

Louisville

Sr

6-2

317

––

Orlando, Fla., Agape

903

Devin Borders

WR

130

Eastern Kentucky

rSr

6-5

220

––

Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Choctawhatchee

926

Omarius Bryant

DT

69

Western Kentucky

Sr

6-3

315

––

Byram, Miss., Terry

942

Ryan Timmons

WR

138

Kentucky

Sr

5-10

201

––

Frankfort, Franklin County

944

Jojo Kemp

RB

70

Kentucky

Sr

5-9

204

––

Deland, Fla., Deland

975

J.D. Harmon

CB

97

Kentucky

rSr

6-1

196

––

Paducah, Tilghman

r-redshirt

Source: CBSSports.com

NFL Draft order

The draft order for Thursday’s first round (Click here to view all seven rounds):

1. Cleveland Browns

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Chicago Bears

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

5. Tennessee Titans from Los Angeles Rams

6. New York Jets

7. Los Angeles Chargers

8. Carolina Panthers

9. Cincinnati Bengals

10. Buffalo Bills

11. New Orleans Saints

12. Cleveland Browns from Philadelphia Eagles

13. Arizona Cardinals

14. Philadelphia Eagles from Minnesota Vikings

15. Indianapolis Colts

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Washington Redskins

18. Tennessee Titans

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20. Denver Broncos

21. Detroit Lions

22. Miami Dolphins

23. New York Giants

24. Oakland Raiders

25. Houston Texans

26. Seattle Seahawks

27. Kansas City Chiefs

28. Dallas Cowboys

29. Green Bay Packers

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

31. Atlanta Falcons

32. New Orleans Saints from New England Patriots

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