BOZICH | Who will be the first Louisville or Kentucky player taken in NFL Draft?
WKU had two players taken the the NFL Draft Friday while Indiana had one. Who will be the first player from Louisville or Kentucky selected during the final four rounds Saturday?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The NFL Draft moves to the lightning rounds Saturday. The final four rounds of selections, followed by free agent frenzy, begin at noon in Philadelphia.
This is the day players from Louisville and Kentucky will join two former Western Kentucky stars (offensive lineman Forrest Lamp and receiver Taywan Taylor) and Indiana offensive guard Dan Feeney in pursuit of their professional careers. Those three players were selected Friday night.
At least two former Cardinals (tight end Cole Hikutini and linebacker/defensive end Devonte Fields) and perhaps as many as four (add safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and defensive tackle Deangelo Brown) are projected to be selected in rounds four-through-seven.
Others, like receiver James Quick, linebacker Keith Kelsey, tight end Keith Towbridge and receiver Jamari Staples, should earn free-agent opportunities.
This was the first time since 2013 that Louisville did not have a player taken in Round One.
For Kentucky, center Jon Toth projects as a pick in rounds four-through-six while halfback Stanley “Boom” Williams is more likely to earn a free agent deal.
Western Kentucky had a night to celebrate Friday. Lamp, a 2-star recruit from Venice, Fla., five years ago, became the highest draft pick in WKU history when the Los Angeles Chargers selected him in the second round with the 38th overall pick.
At 6 feet 4 and 309 pounds, Lamp earned all-American honors at offensive tackle for the Hilltoppers but is likely to move inside to guard in the NFL.
His former WKU teammate Taywan Taylor, who was under-recruited out of Pleasure Ridge Park High School, was selected in the third round by the Tennessee Titans, a convenient spot for family members and friends to follow his career.
How determined were the Titans to add Taylor?
Tennessee exchanged two picks with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to make the selection with the 72nd overall pick.
Playing for one season for Bobby Petrino and three for Jeff Brohm, Taylor set multiple WKU receiving records, finishing with 253 catches for 41 touchdowns.
Feeney, a four-year starter for the Hoosiers, will join Lamp with the Chargers. He was selected in Round Three at No. 71.
Feeney was charged with allowing two quarterback sacks in more than 3,300 career snaps for the Hoosiers. Former IU head coach Kevin Wilson said Feeney was the best offensive lineman he coached — and IU sent tackle Jason Spriggs to the Packers last season.
It was the fourth consecutive season the Hoosiers have had at least one player taken in the first three rounds for only the second time in IU history.
Which local player will be the first taken Saturday?
This is how they are ranked at ESPN:
Hikutini, 23rd overall, fourth among tight ends.
Toth, 67th overall, second center.
Harvey-Clemson, 75th overall, seventh at safety.
Fields, 83rd overall, sixth at defensive end.
IU linebacker Marcus Oliver 121st overall, fifth at inside linebacker.
Kelsey 127th overall, sixth at inside linebacker.
Quick 133rd overall, 25th in receivers.
Brown 136th overall, 12th defensive tackle.
Staples, 251st overall, 28th in receivers.
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