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Josh Allen now projected as a top-3 pick; Derrick Baity getting first-round buzz

There may be multiple Wildcats that hear their names called on opening night of the draft.

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Josh Allen Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Josh Allen returned to Kentucky for his senior season with two goals in mind: to win football games, and to improve his NFL Draft stock. So far, mission accomplished.

Not only are the Kentucky Wildcats 7-1 and playing for the SEC East championship on Saturday, but Allen is a non a consensus first round pick with projections as high as No. 3 overall. He has also made his way onto the Heisman Watch list.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports listed Allen as the No. 3 pick assuming the Oakland Raiders end up in that draft slot. He believe Allen will be the obvious choice for them whenever they make their first selection (assuming Nick Bosa is off the board).

“Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky. If you’re drafting a pass rusher this high, ideally you’d like him to be, for example, Khalil Mack. Given that the Raiders traded Mack before the season, Allen might not be a bad consolation prize. He’s had a fantastic season to date, and seems to get better in every aspect from one week to the next. He had two sacks and two forced fumbles against Missouri last week, bringing his season totals to 10 and five, respectively. “

A Khalil Mack comparison has to be music to Allen’s ears. Mack was also a 2-star recruit, and Allen has taken to molding his game after the Chicago Bears star. Mack seems to be familiar with Allen’s work, as well.

Allen is the only Wildcat getting first-round NFL Draft buzz. Bleacher Report projects that senior cornerback Derrick Baity could go as high as No. 20, and their recent mock draft has been being selected by the Minnesota Vikings. That same mock has Josh Allen going to the Raiders at No. 12.

Baity has 23 tackles on the season and has locked down every receiver he has lined up against. At 6’3”, his frame has always made him an intriguing prospect to play corner in the NFL.

According to CFB Film Room, only 5.3% of footballs thrown to a receiver covered by Baity have been completed. That is good for the best in the SEC, with the second lowest percentage being 15.3%. That percentage is insane, and NFL scouts are taking notice that Baity can be a lock-down corner in the league.

Kentucky did not have a player drafted in 2017, and only one (Josh Forrest) was selected in 2016 in the sixth round. To go from that to having multiple first round selections (and a few others drafted as well) is the perfect illustration of the culture change that has happened around Kentucky football.