Over the last five NFL drafts, the ACC has the second-most picks (169), second only to the SEC. Based on the showings of several players from the ACC at the NFL combine over the weekend, the conference has a chance at a half-dozen first-round picks in 2015, if not more.
Former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the most anticipated combine participant from the ACC since, well, last year. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner opened his news conference with reporters admitting he made mistakes at FSU, but he reportedly impressed several teams during his interviews -- with both his answers to questions about his past and his football intellect in whiteboard sessions. It's hardly a surprise Winston excelled, as he has lost a public speaking engagement about as often as he lost games.
Winston was spectacular as a passer and left no doubt his skill set translates well to the NFL.
While Winston stole the headlines, there were several other former ACC stars who improved their draft stocks as well. Former Clemson defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley was the big winner Sunday, putting together one of the best performances for a linebacker. There has been talk that Beasley is a fringe NFL defensive end and fringe NFL linebacker. Beasley added weight and measured at 246 pounds, but he did it while keeping his athleticism and speed. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash and benched 225 pounds 35 times, which were tops among both defensive linemen and linebackers. According to Clemson's athletic department, no linebacker has done that since NFL.com began listing combine results in 2006.
Former Virginia defensive end Eli Harold, like Beasley, is looked at as a hybrid, too. He posted a 4.60 in the 40-yard dash. Mario Edwards Jr., formerly of Florida State, showed he could also play two positions: defensive end and defensive tackle.
The 6-foot-3, 209-pound DeVante Parker, formerly of Louisville, made a case to be the top receiver taken with a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash.
Once again, Apr. 30 could be a solid showing for the ACC.
Here are a few more links for your Monday.
Let's get all of the Winston-related material out of the way first. ESPN Insider Mike Sando writes Winston is worth the risk. Plus, only one team needs to trust Winston, although only time will determine whether Winston will resurrect a franchise or embarrass it. Of course, NFL teams are still deciding whether Winston or Marcus Mariota, whose Oregon team beat FSU in the Rose Bowl, is the better prospect.
Harold, the Virginia lineman, is motivated by the multiple personal tragedies he has endured.
It isn't football related, but former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, whose reach extended far beyond Chapel Hill's hardwood courts, was honored in a Sunday memorial.
Miami cornerback Antonio Crawford might be leaving the program. Senior kicker Matt Goudis and and receiver Garrett Kidd have retired from the Hurricanes.
Five takeaways from the Syracuse's spring practice Sunday.
Florida State secured three commitments at its junior day Saturday.
Boston College landed a commitment from Scooter Harrington, whose father was a former BC captain.
Wake Forest is gaining a transfer receiver from South Carolina.
Duke has more players at the combine than UNC for the first time since 2000.
Virginia Tech adds a commitment to its defensive backfield, a position the Hokies have been loaded at in recent years.