Pack Has Five Picked in the 2012 NFL Draft
April 28, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. - A total of five players from last years Wolfpack football squad were picked in the 2012 NFL Draft held this past three days. The five players picked were the most since a school-record six were selected in 2006, and this year is only the third time in school history at least five were drafted (also in 1980).
The first NC State player off the board was wide receiver T.J. Grahamin the third round. The Buffalo Bills traded up a couple of spots to draft the speedy wideout with the 69th pick overall late Friday night.
"He's 5'11" and something and he can run by most everybody, I mean the guy can fly," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey.
"We like his speed and he can catch the football and return. They'll have to cover deep," said Bills GM Buddy Nix.
When asked why the Bills made a move up the board, Nix admitted they were worried Graham wouldn't be there.
"We didn't want to get that close and not get him," he said.
Graham had an impressive senior season where he recorded 46 receptions for 757 yards and seven touchdowns. He was the team's leading wide receiver and a first team All-ACC selection as a specialist. He trailed only Torry Holtfor the school's single season leader in all-purpose yards as a senior.
"I spoke with some people and they suggested that this was the earliest I would go," Graham said. "You expect the worst in this situation, so getting the best that they told me is a pretty good thing. I am pretty excited about it.
"It's something I worked for my whole life. I'm just going to enjoy the opportunity I have now with the Buffalo Bills."
Linebacker Terrell Manningalso forced a team to trade up to draft him, as the Green Bay Packers moved up and selected Manning in the fifth round with the 163rd selection overall.
Manning recorded 10 sacks and 25 tackles for loss over the last two seasons as a starter, before leaving after his junior season.
“It was just a situation where we felt a player was being undervalued a little bit,” Packers GM Ted Thompson said on drafting Manning. “We didn’t know how long he would be undervalued.”
“I think he’s going to be a good addition, and I think he’s going to press the guys who are in the room right now,” inside linebackers coach and assistant head coach Winston Moss said. “All he needs to do is just bring his best game. We’ll help him out, we’ll coach him up and see where he fits in.”
Three additional former Pack players went in the 7th and final round on Saturday. Audie Cole went to the Minnesota Vikings, followed by J.R. Sweezy to the Seattle Seahawks and Markus Kuhn to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
"We coached (Audie) down at the Senior Bowl and (he) is another kid with passion for the game," said Vikings GM Rick Spielman. "He’s played outside and moved to mike linebacker this year."
"(Markus) is a gym rat; big, strong, tough; great to put in your d-line rotation,” said Giants GM Jerry Reese. “Obviously he is still learning. He is a like a buzz saw in there. Somebody better take him because he stays busy in there and he is a slugger.”