ACC poised for even stronger 2012 draft?

This was another good draft year for the ACC, but 2012 appears to be even better, as Todd McShay has 10 ACC players who are possible first-round picks listed in his first mock draft. More than half of the schools in the ACC are represented.

North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples leads the group as McShay's No. 2 overall pick. (He should be a candidate for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.) Remember, though, how quickly this can change, as former Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was also projected to be one of the first players taken, but his former knee injury proved to be more costly than many originally thought.

Coples is just one of three players representing North Carolina on this list, along with Donte Paige-Moss and linebacker Zach Brown. So while North Carolina lost nine players to the NFL draft this year, the Tar Heels are hardly starting from scratch.

McShay's list reflects yet another season in which defense is the league's strength, as there's not one offensive player from the ACC on the board.

Here are the ACC's representatives:

  • No. 2 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

  • No. 6 Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina

  • No. 8 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

  • No. 13 Marcus Forston, DT, Miami

  • No. 14 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

  • No. 18 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

  • No. 20 Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami

  • No. 25, Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

  • No. 28 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

  • No. 32 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia