NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper offers some quick takes on prospects out of N.C. State, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke:
On Wake prospects: Kiper doesn't like to label anyone a "safe pick," but said the closest to being one in this draft is Wake linebacker Aaron Curry, whom several mock drafts have projected as the third overall pick by Kansas City.
"I say safe, because he's not going to be a bust," Kiper said today during a national teleconference. "He's going to give you everything he has. He's got great character. He's got versatility. He can cover. He can rush the passer. Aaron Curry would probably fall into that category as the safest guy ... maybe not a boom, but certainly not a bust." Safety Chip Vaughn has a chance "to maybe be a third- or fourth-round pick."
On Duke prospects: "You look at the offensive tackles [Fred Roland and Cameron Goldberg], both of them have a chance [to be drafted], the linebacker [Michael Tauiliili] has a shot, but all late-round kind of guys. The wide receiver [Eron Riley] is a late-round [or] free agent type of player."
On N.C. State prospects: "Anthony Hill, the tight end, came off the injury [torn ACL, missed 2007 season]; he's the kind of guy, maybe a late-round possibility, sixth or seventh round. I thought Willie Young [junior DE] might come out. He opted not to. He would have probably been a first- or second-round pick.
"[Running back] Andre Brown is the interesting guy. Of all the players from those schools, the most intriguing is Andre Brown. When he was there, everybody was looking for some greatness out of him. There were some games where he did appear to be a star in the making. He's big — I have him about 6-foot-1/2, about 228. You talk about a guy who really impressed when he had to on the big stage, he did. So, I would say Andre Brown, just because of the talent he flashes — and running backs, they're going to get a chance early on to play at a high level — he's probably moved up into that third- or fourth-round mix."
On UNC prospects: "There you look at [WR] Hakeem Nicks as the top guy. I compare him a little bit to Michael Irvin [former Miami and Dallas Cowboys star]. Michael Irvin didn't have the great 40 time but certainly had great natural pass-receiving skills, had great hands, tough, good route runner. That's what Hakeem Nix is.
If his 40 time is good enough, he'll be a first-round pick. If it's an average-to-mediocre 40 time, he'll probably be a second-round pick. It's a shame that [WR/KR] Brandon Tate got hurt, or he would have been a second-round pick. Now, he's probably a fourth- or fifth-round guy. [WR] Brooks Foster, probably more of a fifth- or sixth-round guy. Garrett Reynolds, the right tackle, probably a sixth- or seventh-rounder.
"I like [S] Trimane Goddard as an undrafted free agent. I'm not sure he'll get drafted, but he's an instinctive safety, very smart, good hands, made a lot of big plays during his career. He's the kind of guy who's [usually] an undrafted free agent because he's not all that big [5-11, 195], and he doesn't run all that well, 40-time-wise. You might be able to get this kid undrafted, bring him into camp, and he might be able to help you."