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Could USF’s Mitch Wilcox be a first-round NFL pick?

The brawny tight end has received the most preseason buzz of any Bulls player
ALLIE GOULDING | Times USF tight end Mitch Wilcox (89) speaks to the press after the end of a spring game on Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Tampa. Wilcox caught a 75 yard pass early in the game.
Published Jul. 22

During his appearance at last week’s American Athletic Conference media days, USF tight end Mitch Wilcox said the feedback he received last winter while exploring his NFL draft potential was both candid and concurrent.

“For the most part, if it’s not a first- or second-round grade, they advise you to stay in school,” said Wilcox, who solicited feedback from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee. “And I picked that up from a lot of sources and a lot of feedback I received.”

As a result, the brawny Tarpon Springs High alumnus enters his redshirt senior year poised for some potential history ― both during and after the 2019 season.

MORE USF: Four questions with bulked-up USF quarterback Blake Barnett

Wilcox, who likely will enter the season carrying about 250 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, needs four catches to break Sean Price’s USF record for career receptions by a tight end (75). At this point, it’s the only major receiving record (by a tight end) Wilcox lacks.

Then next April, Wilcox could ― could ― become the Bulls’ first first-round draft choice in a decade.

Far-fetched? Hardly, especially when considering the evolution of the tight end position in the NFL.

In the last three drafts, a total of six tight ends have been selected in the first round. The five years before that (2012-16), only two were taken.

If that run on tight ends continues and Wilcox stays healthy, his name is sure to ricochet throughout cyberspace during the mock madness preceding the draft.

To a degree, it already is.

Wilcox was named among the ’20 draft’s top five tight end prospects by NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt, and is the 55th overall pick (by the Cowboys) in Draft Wire editor Luke Easterling’s early two-round mock-up for ’20.

MORE USF: Michael Kelly: Spring ground-breaking possible for USF Football Center

“I try not to get too caught up in that,” said Wilcox, recently named to the Mackey Award Watch List for the third consecutive year.

“It’s cool to see, but there’s a lot of ball left to play and a lot of things can happen ― good and bad. So I kinda take it with a grain of salt.”

Just don’t be shocked if Wilcox finds himself further embedded in Bulls history when the salt settles.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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