With the NFL Draft just days away, quite a few Kentucky Wildcats from this past season’s football team are expecting and hoping to hear their name be called. The name to watch, though, is Josh Allen, who at this point seems like a consensus top-five pick.
Let’s take a look at some of the ex-Cats projected to go in the first round come Thursday night in Nashville.
Allen helped himself the most by returning for his senior year, as he racked up 88 tackles (56 solo), 17 sacks and five forced fumbles to earn a reputation as a top draft pick in 2019. In almost every mock, Allen is projected to go in the top five.
CBS Sports, Todd McShay of ESPN, and both Charles Davis and Charley Casserly of the NFL Network have Allen going #3 to the New York Jets, while NBC Sports has Jon Gruden taking him #4 to the Oakland Raiders.
All of these teams will either be aiming to draft the best player available or a premier pass rusher, which is exactly how most analysts see Allen. At this point, it’s safe to say Allen will be Kentucky’s first top-five NFL draft pick since Dewayne Robertson (4th pick to the Jets) in 2003.
Daniel Jeremiah has Johnson joining Allen in the first round at #20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Chad Reuter has him falling to the 61st pick to the Kansas City Chiefs towards the end of the second round.
At 6’2”, Johnson has the size to be a problem at the next level and NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said that, “when we talk back in three or four years about this class, (personnel) are telling me that Lonnie Johnson, Jr. will be the name that we’re talking about as a premier corner in this class.”
It seems that even if he isn’t taken in the first round, he has a very good chance to be selected on Day 2, specifically at some point in the second round.
As for the rest of this year’s Cats, it all comes down to preference, team needs, and demand at the position.
RB Benny Snell Jr. and DB Mike Edwards will likely be drafted somewhere between the second and third rounds, if not very early in the fourth. TE CJ Conrad will have a chance to go relatively early as well.
With multiple Wildcats likely getting selected, Big Blue Nation will have a chance to follow this weekend on one of the channels broadcasting the event, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, and ESPN Deportes.