The NFL Draft begins on Thursday and several Arizona football players could hear their name called at some point over the weekend. With several prospects having a chance at playing professionally, this weekend could be a big one for the UA football program.
With two defensive linemen – Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore - likely to be the first two Wildcats off the board, Arizona should be well represented this weekend, but it doesn't necessarily stop with those two players.
Nic Grigsby and Colin Baxter hope to be taken somewhere in the later rounds while players such as Adam Grant, Lolomana Mikaele and a few others are hoping to hear their names called or catch on with a squad through free agency.
The first player likely to be off the board is Reed. The three-year starter at defensive end has been impressive in offseason workouts to the point where his stock has risen all the way up to a potential late first round pick. Reed is being targeted as either a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Squads such as Green Bay and New England have shown interest and it would be a surprise to see him last beyond the middle of the second round if he slips past those teams.
Elmore is another player that could hear his name called as early as the second or third round. Elmore had a very productive career at UA and has the size to play defensive end in the NFL. He had a solid pro day where he ran the 40 in a shade over 4.8 and displayed good athleticism for a player that will likely be a solid pass rusher at the next level.
Elmore could go anywhere from round two to round six depending on how everything lines up. Given his production over the last two years and the effort put forth at Arizona's pro day, it would be a bit surprising to see him slip into the later rounds.
Grigsby was a long shot to get drafted at the end of the 2010 season. His career at UA was filled with injuries and never really lived up to the expectations set for him after his solid freshman year.
Pro Day really helped Grigsby's cause though, as he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 4.17 short shuttle and a 6.59 in the cones. He also added an impressive 43 1/2 vertical and an 11-foot broad jump. In a league where players can get drafted based on impressive offseason workouts, Grigsby could hear his name called in the sixth or seventh round. If he doesn't, expect him to find a team in free agency.
Another player that could get selected is center Colin Baxter. A late-season injury to the offensive lineman hurt his stock, but Baxter was considered a mid-round prospect at this time a year ago and it wouldn't be a surprise to see someone take a chance on him in the later rounds.
D'Aundre Reed could be a surprise draft pick. After spending most of his time as a backup defensive end at UA, Reed is looking for a team that sees his potential and, hopefully, calls his name this weekend. He has the size and athleticism to play a role as a pass-rushing specialist at the next level. If he isn't selected, he will most likely find a team in free agency
Outside of those four, it doesn't look as if any other Wildcats will be drafted. Players like Philip Garcia, Conan Amituanai, Lolomana Mikaele, Joseph Perkins, Anthony Wilcox and Keenyn Crier are all eligible for the draft, but will most likely have to wait until the draft is over to find a team.
Wildcats hoping to have several drafted
Wildcat Authority Top Stories
Highlights: Jemaurian JonesArizona recently made the top ten for one of the top corners in the nation in Jemaurian Jones. View the video to see highlights of his junior season.
Wildcat AuthorityYesterday at 11:39 PM
Four emerging as Arizona's prioritiesThere are four players emerging as a priority for Arizona. Read on to see who they are and where Arizona stands with each.
Wildcat AuthorityYesterday at 5:22 PM
Authority Report: Quinerly set to visitThis week's Authority Report discusses Jahvon Quinerly's visit, has an interview with Gerald Liddell, and more.
Wildcat AuthorityFriday at 10:17 AM
Kadeem Allen is a Boston CelticIn somewhat of a surprise, Kadeem Allen was drafted by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. Read on for the latest.
Wildcat AuthorityThursday at 10:37 PM