2023 NFL Draft Odds: How many ACC players will be drafted in the first round?

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ACC programs could have quiet first round per NFL mock drafts

The Atlantic Coast Conference certainly had a down year from a football standpoint last season and the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft may be just another example of why. Clemson, an annual powerhouse in the league, fell short of the usual expectations, though there were some positive signs from programs like Florida State and Duke.

 

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As we go forward, the infusion of talent from some new coaches and the transfer portal should bear more first-round fruit. For now, we’re looking at a draft class in which the ACC may only have three or four players selected in the first 31 picks.

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ACC players drafted in the first round

Over 3.5 (-150) / Under 3.5 (+120) 

There are a few players that look like near-locks to go in the first round, but there aren’t a lot of guys that have a guaranteed first-round grade. Boston College WR Zay Flowers looks to be one of them. Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy looks to be another, since teams are really prioritizing players that can get after the quarterback on defense. Beyond those two, there are definitely some questions, but there are some other players that are on the shortlist to go on the first night.

(Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook: Updated Thursday, April 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET)

Zay Flowers (Boston College) scouting report

There are a lot of questions with the receivers beyond Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but the back half of the first round should still include at least Flowers, and likely more. The Boston College product is small at 5-foot-9, but ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and racked up over 3,000 receiving yards in four years with the Eagles. He had a revolving door at QB due to injuries that likely cut into his production, but the tools are there to be a good speed receiver and a valuable asset against press coverage. He had over 3,000 receiving yards in four seasons and 29 touchdown grabs.

Flowers has an O/U Draft Position of 22.5, so it sure seems like he’ll be one of them.

Myles Murphy (Clemson) scouting report

Murphy moves well at 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds, plus he is a strong defender when engaged on running plays or in max protect. He can disrupt the timing of a play and break down the pocket. There were some consistency issues in his game and that could keep scouts from buying the size and potential long enough to push him out of the first round. On the other hand, measurables are important and he comes from a premier program, so a first-round selection seems way likelier than not. Murphy had 18.5 sacks and 36 tackles for loss.

Bryan Bresee (Clemson) scouting report

Murphy’s teammate seems like a safer pick and there are a lot of reasons to take a safe, reliable player in the first round. Bresee looks like a truly excellent run-stopper and a guy who has a lot of upside after dealing with injury and the loss of his sister during his Tigers tenure. He’s more of a traditional defensive tackle at 6-foot-5 and change and tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds. The aforementioned injury past for Bresee includes an ACL and shoulder surgery, but he’s a reliable mountain of a man in the middle to be a longtime stalwart at DT. He only played 25 college games with 15 TFLs and nine sacks.

Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh) scouting report 

The ACC class of potential first rounders is really heavy with defensive prowess. Kancey is another defensive lineman who shined brightly against the run and as a disruptive force against the pass. Kancey is small at 6-foot-1, but he also ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at the combine at 281 pounds. He’s the type of player that could run down a quarterback flushed from the pocket and has good quickness to get away from linemen before they are able to engage. His size is seemingly the only reason there are questions about his first-round probability. Kancey had 16 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

Keion White (Georgia Tech) scouting report 

White is another guy who comes from the defensive side of the ball and shows explosive potential when it comes to blowing up plays in the backfield. With a lot of the pass rushers in the back half of the first round, it likely just comes down to team preference based on scheme or what their scouts have had to say. White may sneak into the last couple picks of the first round White’s strength was thoroughly impressive at the combine with 30 reps on the bench press, but he is reported to be more of a project than others because of his technique. White was originally recruited to Old Dominion as a tight end, but finished with 11 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss. 

Other contenders 

Josh Downs (North Carolina): This year’s wide receiver class is a little bit limited, but teams looking for a pass catcher may opt to reach a little bit with the North Carolina product. He seems to have an easy second-round grade, but you never know in a pass-happy league.

Trenton Simpson (Clemson): This is also a weak draft in terms of traditional linebackers, but Simpson is generally regarded as the second-best LB on the board. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash with 25 reps on the bench press. Those are solid combine showings and maybe a team in need of a linebacker opts to draft the best player available.

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