This past weekend featured the 2010 NFL Draft and saw Sam Bradford of Oklahoma go to the St. Louis Rams with the first overall pick. It was also a weekend of fulfilled dreams for two Wake Forest players whose hard work paid off when they were selected in the seven round draft. CB Brandon Ghee and OL Chris Degeare were drafted in the 3rd and 5th rounds respectively by the Bengals and the Vikings. DT John Russell was also signed to a contract shortly following the draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Click through for analysis of how the Deacons fit in with their new teams
Cornerback Brandon Ghee was considered the Demon Deacon's best prospect for the 2010 draft. Rated as highly in some rankings as the 4th or 5th best corner in the draft, he boosted his stock at the combines running a 4.45 40 yd. dash, one of the fastest by corners. The Cincinnati Bengals snagged Ghee with one of the final picks of the 3rd round, and Ghee became the last player in the draft to leave the Green Room on Friday night.
Ghee should be a good fit in Cincinnati as he will have time to learn the position and potentially see time on the field as a nickelback. He will be firmly behind veteran corners Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph who anchored the Bengals' defensive unit last year. Ghee's major criticisms are his size and ballhawking skills, as he only recorded one career interception in college.
Offensive lineman and Winston-Salem native Chris Degeare was grabbed in the 5th round by the Minnesota Vikings, who are looking for big men to shore up their offensive line. Degeare will get the opportunity to be a general backup for the team as he can play both guard and tackle on the line. Depth on the offensive line was one of the Vikings' general concerns coming into the draft and Degeare may get a chance to play some since he was the only offensive lineman drafted by the team. Ultimately Degeare's versatility and size should allow him to see some snaps this year while learning the ropes of being an NFL offensive lineman.
Defensive tackle John Russell was signed by the Green Bay Packers shortly after the NFL Draft concluded. Despite playing on the line all four years in college, Russell is expected to compete for a job at outside linebacker during mini-camp where his speed and size will be more suited for him seeing the field. He will have plenty competition on the field as the Packers have a fairly solid linebacking corps, held down by AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett, and Clay Matthews. If Russell can make it through mini and training camp and earn a spot on the roster, expect him to see some playing time spelling these three guys during the regular season.
Although not drafted and not yet signed, four year starter Riley Skinner earned a mini-camp invite from the New York Giants. Skinner is considered by many to be a good third quarterback to have on the roster and given the right situation could fit in well to a pro-style system. In related news, Sam Swank was signed to a contract in the offseason by the Giants so the two heroes of the 2006 Orange Bowl team will be at least briefly reunited under the bright lights of New York.
All-in-all the draft went as expected for the Deacs. The two most highly regarded prospects were taken, while the two fringe prospects were both given a shot to show if they can cut it on an NFL field. Congrats to all four Deacs who made it and good luck in the NFL boys!