NFL Draft: When for McKenzie, if for Taurus
I say this every spring: I'm impressed by anyone crazy/confident enough to compile a seven-round mock draft. So kudos to Foxsports.com's Peter Schrager and ESPN.com's Todd McShay (premium) for projecting all 256 picks, no matter how far off they might end up being. It's great for conversation leading into the draft ...
Both mocks have USF linebacker Tyrone McKenzie going in the late third round -- Schrager has him going 97th to the Patriots (who worked him out) and McShay has him going 90th to the Falcons. Neither mock has any other Bulls players drafted, though receiver Taurus Johnson still has a solid chance to be a late pick. A handful of other Bulls seniors should earn contracts to get into an NFL camp -- defensive end Jarriett Buie, tight end Cedric Hill, running back Ben Williams and potentially some of the offensive linemen.
-- I think you'll see this weekend how totally loaded Joe Tresey's defense was at Cincinnati -- looks like five draft picks out of 10 senior starters. SI.com's Peter King has defensive end Connor Barwin as a mid-first-round pick, and corner Mike Mickens should be one of five or six Big East second-rounders.
-- Connecticut should have four players taken in Saturday's first two rounds, with running back Donald Brown, tackle William Beatty and corner Darius Butler all potential late first-rounders. Cincinnati should have the most overall draft picks -- even punter Kevin Huber -- but USF and Syracuse are projected in both mocks as having only one draft pick. (Syracuse's is fullback Tony Fiammetta.)
-- Could the Big East go without a first-round pick? Absolutely. There could be as many as seven second-rounders, but none of the Connecticut players is a lock, and if Barwin or Rutgers' Kenny Britt fell out of the first round, you could have a BCS conference shut out of the first round. SI.com's Don Banks, for instance, has Brown, Butler and Britt in his first round -- three from the Big East, three from Big 10, five from the ACC (including three of the top six picks), six from Pac-10, seven from the SEC and eight from the Big 12. Schools outside the BCS? No such luck in his and many other mock first rounds ...
-- Real down year for the state of Florida -- if McKenzie goes in the third round, he could still be the third player taken from a Florida school, behind FSU defensive end Everette Brown and Florida receiver Percy Harvin and maybe St. Pete's Louis Murphy, another Gators receiver. Miami's streak of 15 straight years with at least one first-round pick won't just end -- it'll be crushed, with cornerback Bruce Johnson perhaps the first Hurricane taken ... in the sixth or seventh round. UCF, FAU and FIU might combine for one or two draft picks, with UCF's Joe Burnett and FAU's Frantz Joseph the best possibilities.