Take Your Pick

Never before have two players from Ole Miss been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Prepare to rewrite history. Read about it inside.

While most Rebel eyes are fixated on Swayze Field this weekend, Ole Miss history could be made in Saturday's NFL Draft.

In 1966, Stan Hindman was selected 11th overall by San Francisco and Mike Dennis was the first player taken by Buffalo in the AFL's draft process.

Out of 264 former Rebels who have entered the professional ranks in school history, including 22 Pro Bowl selections, no two have gone in the first round of the NFL Draft the same year.

But with many media outlets projecting LT Michael Oher and DT Peria Jerry to be selected early, some Ole Miss record books are sure to be rewritten.

"It means a lot," Oher said of the possibility of two Rebels being high picks. "It shows Ole Miss is filled with good players and you'll see even more good players next year. The talent at Ole Miss is better than most schools out there."

Considering the inexact science of drafting, the possible landing spots for each is hard to predict.

Oher is widely regarded as the fourth-best tackle behind Baylor's Jason Smith, Virginia's Eugene Monroe and Alabama's Andre Smith. However, many teams have Oher ranked atop their respective draft boards.

While he wouldn't elaborate on his likely destination Friday, the former Rebel captain said a variety of potential franchises have been in contact.

"I'm looking good right now," he said. "Everybody's been talking about me going in the Top 10. But I don't know where I'll go. A lot of different teams have expressed interest. I've heard anywhere from five to 13. "

The fifth selection belongs to the Cleveland Browns, who Oher held his last workout with Monday.

The Browns could be a fit, considering RT Kevin Shaffer has since departed and landed with the Chicago Bears in free agency. The San Francisco 49ers, selecting 10th, are an option, with the San Diego Chargers apparently showing interest as well if Oher were to fall to them at 16.

"I've tried to take everything head-on," Oher said of the draft process. "I've done all I can possibly do and feel I'm the best tackle in the draft. If a team wants the best tackle, they'll take me."

Jerry could fill a need for teams seeking a run-stuffing tackle for a 4-3 scheme.

The 6-foot-2, 290 pounder isn't the ideal size for nose in a 3-4, so teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17th) and Indianapolis Colts (27th) seem likely.

Another former Rebel who has gradually climbed the draft ladder is WR Mike Wallace. Wallace established single-season school records as a senior in 2008, with 1,737 all-purpose yards and 861 yards in kick returns.

First considered a second day choice, Wallace said he feels confident of being picked in one of the draft's first three rounds.

"Every team has talked about my upside," Wallace said. "They've told me I'm just now scratching the surface of my potential. I've improved in a lot of areas and am doing everything I can to get better. I'm just ready to get started."

A large proponent in his improved stock was a 4.33 40-yard dash in February's NFL Combine.

It was the second-fastest sprint among wide receivers behind only Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, which has helped spike attention amongst many teams according to Wallace.

"There are so many different names," he said. "Cleveland (Browns), Dallas (Cowboys), Seattle (Seahawks), Tennessee (Titans), Chicago (Bears) and Tampa Bay are real high on me. Dallas said I was at the top of their board, but their pick isn't until 51. They think I might be gone."

Other draftees who could possibly be selected Saturday include RG Maurice Miller, SS Jamarca Sanford, LB Ashlee Palmer and DE Jeremy Parnell.

CB Dustin Mouzon has also thrown his name into the mix, along with LG Darryl Harris, FB Jason Cook and LB Tony Fein.

Each is expected to be candidates for free agent contracts.


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