On the heels of their first 10 win season in 41 years, Mark Stoops‘ Wildcats look to make more history this weekend. As many as eight to 11 players could hear their name called during the NFL Draft which begins Thursday night. With our 2019 Kentucky Football NFL Draft Preview we take a look at when each player may go.
2019 Kentucky Football NFL Draft Preview
The Top Five Pick
Following a senior year in which he won nearly nearly every major defensive award, Josh Allen is a lock to be a top five pick. Most mock drafts have him going to the New York Jets at number three. However a couple have Allen going with the first pick to San Francisco, with the Arizona Cardinals trading out of the top spot.
Assuming Allen goes in the top four he will be the highest pick for the Wildcats since Dewayne Robertson went fourth to the Jets in 2003. If he goes first to the 49ers he would join Tim Couch in 1999 as the only number one pick from the school.
The University of Kentucky is going all out to promote both Allen and the football program. A huge billboard now hangs on Broadway in Nashville for the thousands of people coming into watch the draft.
— 41 (@JoshAllen41_) April 22, 2019
Moving Up In The Mock Drafts
Behind Allen, the Cat most likely to be selected next is Lonnie Johnson. While the cornerback was often overshadowed by his teammates, he has blossomed since. He was one of the MVP’s at the senior bowl and then turned more heads at the NFL Combine. Running the 40 yard dash in 4.52 which is great for a six foot two player. In addition he showed great explosiveness and agility. As a result, Johnson now projects as a late first round pick according to several mock drafts.
DJ: CB Lonnie Johnson is 'gaining steam' https://t.co/x62ukTXE1T
— Rotoworld NFL Draft (@Rotoworld_Draft) April 17, 2019
Should he sneak his way into the first round, it would be the second time in school history Kentucky had two players taken. Back in 1977 tackle Warren Bryant went number six to the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Randy Burke went 26th to the Baltimore Colts.
As we continue on with the 2019 Kentucky Wildcats Draft Preview let’s look at the next two guys to likely come off the board.
Snell Yeah And The “Kentucky Badger”
At the NFL combine Benny Snell didn’t really do that much to help or hurt his draft status. However teams know going in exactly the kind of player they are getting. A no-nonsense bruising type runner who would as soon run over tacklers as around them.
Recent mock drafts have Snell going anywhere from the third to fifth rounds. A couple of teams most associated with Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher include the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jets. Of course Snell’s uncle Matt Snell played on the New York squad which won Super Bowl 3 over Baltimore. Another recent mock draft has Snell going to Tampa Bay.
Live 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Round 4 underway. Jets take DE Austin Bryant; Bucs pick RB Benny Snell – https://t.co/tvQtyXRtEZ
— Walter Cherepinsky (@walterfootball) April 16, 2019
In addition to Snell Mike Edwards is the Cat most likely to be chosen next. In fact there is a good chance he goes before Benny. On the season Edwards’ 17 run stops led all SEC draft eligible safeties. A broken thumb kept him out of participating at the NFL Combine. When he got his shot at Kentucky’s Pro Day Edwards really helped his draft stock with a 4.5 40 yard dash and a 37 inch vertical leap.
The Chicago Bears have come up consistently as a team to watch for Edwards. However in recent days one club is showing lots of interest in the strong safety.
Miami have spent a lot of time with Kentucky Safety Mike Edwards this draft season. Edwards makes MTS “safest picks” list because he makes all the tackles, disrupt the short passing game and contributes on special teams. Good backup option to Reshad while they figure that out.
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) April 19, 2019
Continuing on with our 2019 Kentucky Football NFL Draft Preview let’s look at even more players hoping to hear their name called.
Several More Cats Who Could Be Drafted
In addition to the four we have talked about, there are seven more Cats who could be chosen. Before the NFL Combine tight end C.J. Conrad looked to be a mid-round pick. However a heart issue forced him to miss the combine. He now has a clean bill of health. Despite his somewhat lackluster numbers at Kentucky’s Pro Day Conrad’s blocking and pass catching ability should make him a late round steal for one team.
Defensive back Chris Westry is another Cats whose stock has really risen since a sensational pro day. With a 4.31 40 yard dash and 38 inch vertical leap Westry really impressed scouts. What makes his numbers even more impressive is he stands six foot five. He looks to fall somewhere in the sixth to seventh round range.
Two other Cats who look to be drafted are Derrick Baity and Darius West. Baity had a good week of practice leading up to the East-West Shrine Game and his six foot two frame is very enticing to NFL squads.
West ran a 4.39 at the combine and scouts love his ability to move on the football. In addition he helped impose some toughness into the Wildcat secondary. One team who has been mentioned with West is the Oakland Raiders.
In addition to the eight players featured there are three other Cats looking to start their NFL careers. Linebacker Jordan Jones and offensive linemen George Asafo-Adjei and “Bunchy” Stallings are long shots to be drafted. Don’t be surprised to see all three sign free agent deals.
A Springboard To Success?
Should the eight Cats showing in the mock drafts get drafted it would be the second most in school history. The 1951 draft saw nine Kentucky players selected off the national championship team. However back then the draft lasted 30 rounds. Four Kentucky players were taken in the 2008 draft, the most in the modern era. They should surpass that this weekend.
In the 2010 NBA Draft the Kentucky basketball team had a record five players taken in the first round. Coach John Calipari called it “the greatest day in school history.” With the most wins in NCAA history and second most championships many True Blue Fans scoffed at that notion. However nine years later the Wildcat team has become synonymous with NBA success.
Stoops and the staff are looking at the 2019 draft as a launching pad to future success. By having as many as eight players all recruited and developed by the staff chosen the staff hopes future players take note. Remember Allen was a two star player coming out of high school and look where he is now.
Thanks for checking out the 2019 Kentucky Football NFL Draft Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Check back over the weekend for updates and a full draft recap.