Of all the draft-eligible Cats, Josh Forrest has the best chance of hearing his named called sometime between Thursday-Saturday. The 6-3, 249-pound linebacker ranked 10th in the SEC with 93 total tackles including six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and five pass breakups this past season.
Ahead of the draft, the guys at Harris Highlights did a nice highlight package of Forrest's Wildcat career:
Despite good college production in the SEC, Forrest is not even assured of being drafted this year, at least based on what the mock drafts and prospect rankings. CBS Sports ranks Forrest as the 12th-best linebacker and 285th overall.
Walter Football did give Forrest some nice love as they gave him the highest draft grade anyone has as a Round 3-4 prospect and the seventh-best inside linebacker. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein gives Forrest a 5.28 grade (Developmental prospect or special teams potential) and ranks him 205th overall, which would have him being drafted around Round 6-7.
As for who I hope to see get Forrest, you probably I'm a Bengals fan, but they're pretty full at linebacker. Looking around the NFL, I actually think the Broncos could use him as, ironically, a replacement for fellow Wildcat Danny Trevathan, who left to sign with the Bears this offseason.
In Denver, Forrest would get to play as a 3-4 inside backer, which was essentially what he played in UK's hybrid defense. Draft experts don't seem to have a consensus on his best fit in the NFL, but I'm seeing a lot of guys calling him either a 4-3 WILL or 4-3 MIKE.
I don't think he'll be as effective at either of those spots as he would be as a 3-4 inside backer for a team like Denver. where his strengths can be utilized while masking his weaknesses far more than they will with most teams. There's also the fact that ILB is a need for Denver with only Brandon Marshall and two unproven guys in Todd Davis and Corey Nelson there. Forrest could certainly earn playing time as a rookie and may be starting as early as next year when Marshall hits free agency.
And heck, between Wesley Woodyard and Trevathan, former Wildcat linebackers in Denver has worked out pretty well.
Do you think Forrest will be drafted? Regardless, which team do you hope to see get him?