There were 15 seniors on the 2013 Nebraska two-deep depth chart. According to the draft rating services NFL Draft Scout and WalterFootball.com, it seems that four Huskers have grades high enough to warrant a look in the seven-round draft. Several others could be undrafted free agents who sign contracts or receive tryout invites with teams following the selection process. This is my early projection that could change following the NFL scouting combine and university-sponsored pro days.
Stanley Jean-Bapiste: The best bet for a first- or second-day selection is cornerback Stanley Jean-Bapiste. SJB received praise from NFL scouts during the season and turned heads at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. Most draft services have Baptiste on the fringe of the top 10 corners in this draft. In 2013, 14 cornerbacks were drafted in the first three rounds of the draft. This year’s group of corners is projected to be deeper than in 2013. Early projection: Third round.
Spencer Long: Going into the 2013 season, many would have guessed NU’s top offensive guard would have been the highest Husker drafted in 2014. As a first-team All-Big Ten selection and second-team AP All-American, Long had the skins on the wall to be considered one of the top 10 guards in the 2013 class. A torn ACL in October makes the evaluation process more difficult. Long has been projected to land in the top 15 guards in this year’s class. In 2013, 16 guards were selected in the draft. Early projection: Sixth round.
Quincy Enunwa: Enunwa led all Big Ten receivers with 12 touchdown catches in 2013. Enunwa’s size — at 6-foot-2, 227 pounds — and production as a four-year player would make you think he’s a lock to be drafted, but receiver is probably the deepest position in this year’s draft and Enunwa doesn’t have elite speed. Combined with the drops he has had the last two seasons, that means Enunwa must have a superior performance in his workouts leading up to the May 8 draft. Early projection: Seventh round.
Two other players who seem to have the best chance to be drafted are cornerback Ciante Evans and QB/WR Taylor Martinez. Evans had the chance to practice and play in front of scouts at the NFLPA Bowl. He didn’t register any stats in the game, but getting the opportunity was valuable. Martinez will have to show what he can do (at a position other than quarterback) in front of scouts at the Nebraska pro day, though there is a slight chance he could get an invite and be ready to work out at the scouting combine in Indianapolis from Feb. 19 to 25. Martinez is still recovering from a foot injury that put an early end to his career at Nebraska. Early projection: Both players could do enough leading up to the draft to sneak into the seventh round.
UDFA, Position rank*
Jeremiah Sirles, offensive tackle No. 29
Brent Qvale, offensive tackle No. 32
Andrew Rodriguez, offensive guard No. 26
Jason Ankrah, defensive end No. 33
Jake Long, tight end No. 32
* Average of NFLDraftScout.com and WalterFootball.com
Some other draft notes:
Of 29 seniors on the Husker roster, only two were drafted in 2013. The last time only two Huskers were drafted was 1969.
Here are some more historical numbers on the Huskers’ recent draft classes:
1993 to 1997: 32 Huskers drafted
1998 to 2002: 27 drafted
2003 to 2007: 21 drafted
2008 to 2012: 20 drafted