The NFL Draft is an exciting event for players, coaches, and fans. In the past, numerous players from Wake Forest have been drafted and have had successful careers in the NFL. Some notable names that come to mind include Brian Piccolo, Ricky Proehl, Calvin Pace, Aaron Curry, and Alphonso Smith. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit down with Coach Grobe and talk about this year’s draft and future drafts.
Q: What do you think the NFL Draft will have in store for Wake Forest players this year?
A: Well, you really never know. We had no idea that Calvin Pace was going to be a first-round draft pick. Nobody told us that. Even though we have our program wide open for all the NFL scouts, they hesitate to tell you what they think because they do not want other teams to know what they think. It is really a crab shoot to find out who is going to go and what round they will go in.
Q: How do you think the transition from college to the NFL will be for players who do get drafted?
A: Well, it is all based on needs. Sometimes players get drafted to certain teams and there is too much depth at their position and they do not have much of a chance right from the start. However, if the numbers are not great and they fit in a little better it becomes a factor of maturity. NFL coaches are looking for hard-working, dependable guys. If you get into a program where you have a chance to compete and you work hard enough, then your chances go up.
Q: What are your general thoughts on the draft this year?
A: Overall, it remains to be seen. It depends on which teams have the most emphasis on positions. Each year, teams try to fill their needs. From year to year, it may be quarterbacks or running backs or defensive linemen. Typically, you do not figure out what the biggest needs were in the NFL until the draft is over.
Q: Which young players do you think have a shot at being drafted in the next few years?
A: Well, we have several kids that could develop into NFL-type guys. Besides ability, the things that the NFL scouts are looking for are guys that are good students, guys that have good character, and guys that have a good work ethic in the weight room and on the practice field. There are a lot of intangibles that the NFL scouts are looking for. Without singling anyone out, we have a lot of guys that have the physical potential to play at the next level but whether they develop into next level players is kind of a toss-up. I feel good about a lot of our kids. We have kids that could play at the next level, but it depends on whether or not they develop enough.
After speaking with Coach Grobe, I got the impression that several players have a good chance of getting drafted this year. Players like Chris Givens, Joe Looney, and Kyle Wilber have all made significant impacts on the field at Wake Forest and Coach Grobe believes that they can do the same at the next level if they continue to work hard. The future of Wake Forest players getting drafted also looks bright. As Deacon fans, we wish the best for our players entering this year’s NFL draft and future NFL drafts.