ACC/NC In 2024 NFL Draft:
UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest
Join Parade Of High-Profile Prospects

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

Prominent players from North Carolina, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest are expected to join those from traditional Atlantic Coast Conference heavyweights Clemson and Florida State later this week in the early rounds of the 2024 National Football League draft.

Players from Appalachian State, Barton (a Division Two program), Campbell, Charlotte, East Carolina, NC Central and Western Carolina have a chance to hear their names called during the three-day, seven-round event, too.

UNC quarterback Drake Maye and Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton are expected to be first-round NFL picks. NC State linebacker Payton Wilson and Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha also have been projected as early round selections in a wide variety of mock drafts.

This year’s NFL draft, which will be held in Detroit and run from Thursday through Saturday, is expected to draw an average audience of more than 10 million viewers for its first-round coverage (8 pm, ABC/ESPN/ESPN Deportes/NFL Network) on Thursday.

As usual, the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference are expected to have by far the most first-round draft picks and the most overall selections this year. Below are the numbers from last April.

2023 NFL Draft
(Overall Selections By Conference)

63—Southeastern Conference (SEC)
55—Big Ten Conference
32—Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
30—Big 12 Conference
27—Pac-12 Conference
10—American Athletic Conference (AAC)
9—Sun Belt Conference
7—Mid-American Conference
7—Independents (BYU-3, Notre Dame-3, Liberty-1)
5—Mountain West Conference
3—Conference USA
2—Missouri Valley Conference
1—Atlantic Sun Conference
1—Big Sky Conference
1—Coastal Athletic Association
1—Great Lakes Conference
1—Ivy League
1—Northeast Conference
1—Ohio Valley Conference
1—South Atlantic Conference
1—Southwestern Athletic Conference
1—Western Athletic Conference

Since 2000, the ACC has produced the third-most first-round NFL draft picks (116), behind only the SEC (209) and the Big Ten (129), although this year only three or four ACC players are expected to be drafted that high.

Maye, the 2022 ACC Player of the Year, became the first Tar Heel to win that honor since legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1980. If Maye is selected #2 overall on Thursday, he would tie Taylor, Hall of Fame defensive end Julius Peppers and others as the highest picks in the history of UNC football.

A two-year starter in Chapel Hill, Maye posted the two most productive seasons of any quarterback in program history. His 5,019 yards of total offense in 2022 (with 45 touchdowns) set the school record, and his 4,057 yards of total offense (with 33 TDs) in 2023 were the second-most of all-time.

Barton, a four-year starter on the offensive line at Duke, also is expected to be a first-round NFL selection. A 6-foot-5, 311-pounder, he started at left tackle for the Blue Devils in each of the last three seasons, but most NFL teams project him as a center, where he began his college career.

After the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Barton was selected as a second-team Freshman All-American for his play at center. He then moved to left tackle, where he went on to become a two-time first-team All-ACC selection in 2022 and 2023. As a senior this past fall, he also received second-team All-American honors.

Here is a summary of the top NFL draft prospects from ACC and North Carolina-based programs this year.

Probable/Possible First-Round Picks

QB Drake Maye (6-4/223), r-So., North Carolina
OL Graham Barton (6-5/311), Sr., Duke
DE Jared Verse (6-4/254), r-Sr., Florida State
CB Nate Wiggins (6-1/173), Jr., Clemson

Other Top-Rated ACC Prospects

DT Braden Fiske (6-4/292), r-Sr., Florida State
WR Keon Coleman (6-3/213), Jr., Florida State
LB Payton Wilson (6-4/233), r-Sr., NC State
S Kamren Kinchens (5-11/202), Jr., Miami
S Malik Mustapha (5-10/206), r-Jr., Wake Forest
RB Trey Benson (6-0/216), r-Jr., Florida State
WR Malik Washington (5-8/191), r-Sr., Virginia
WR Devontez Walker (6-1/193), r-Jr., North Carolina
OG Christian Mahogany (6-3/314), r-Sr., Boston College
DT Ruke Orhorhoro (6-4/294), r-Sr., Clemson
CB Renardo Green (6-0/186), r-Sr., Florida State
LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (6-0/228), Jr., Clemson
WR Johnny Wilson (6-6/231), r-Jr., Florida State
DT DeWayne Carter (6-2/302), r-Sr., Duke
DT Leonard Taylor III (6-3/303), Jr., Miami
WR Jamari Thrash (5-11/188), r-Sr., Louisville
CB Jarrian Jones (6-0/190), r-Sr., Florida State
RB Will Shipley (5-11/206), Jr., Clemson
LB Cedric Gray (6-1/234), Sr., North Carolina
CB Caelen Carson (6-0/193), Sr., Wake Forest
OL Matt Goncalves (6-6/317), r-Sr., Pittsburgh
CB Elijah Jones (6-1/185), r-Sr., Boston College
CB Jarvis Brownlee Jr. (5-10/194), r-Sr., Louisville
OG Javion Cohen (6-4/324), Sr., Miami
RB Isaac Guerendo (6-0/221), r-Sr., Louisville
WR Bub Means (6-1/212), r-Sr., Pittsburgh
DT Tyler Davis (6-2/301), r-Sr., Clemson
TE Jaheim Bell (6-2/241), Sr., Florida State
DE Xavier Thomas (6-2/253), r-Sr., Clemson
QB Jordan Travis (6-1/200), r-Sr., Florida State
CB MJ Devonshire (5-10/186), r-Sr., Pittsburgh
LB/S James Williams (6-4/231), Jr., Miami
OC/OG Dylan McMahon (6-3/299), r-Sr., NC State
DT Myles Murphy (6-4/309), Sr., North Carolina
OC Matt Lee (6-3/301), r-Sr., Miami
RB Jawhar Jordan (5-9/193), r-Sr., Louisville
DT Fabien Lovett Sr. (6-3/316), r-Sr., Florida State
OC/OG Jacob Monk (6-3/308), r-Sr., Duke
OC/OG Bryan Hudson (6-4/300), r-Sr., Louisville
LB Kalen DeLoach (5-11/210), r-Sr., Florida State
P Porter Wilson (6-4/241), r-Sr., Duke
OC/OG Michael Jurgens (6-4/307), r-Sr., Wake Forest
OC/OG Corey Gaynor (6-3/303), r-Sr., North Carolina
LB Tatum Bethune (5-11/227), r-Sr., Florida State
DE Amari Gainer (6-3/236), r-Sr., North Carolina
S Akeem Dent (5-11/203), r-Sr., Florida State
CB Isaiah Johnson (6-3/206), r-Sr., Syracuse
DS Joe Shimko (5-11/233), r-Sr., NC State

Other North Carolina-Based Prospects

OT Mike Edwards (6-5/363), r-Sr., Campbell (Wake Forest)
CB Tyrek Funderburk (5-11/186), r-Sr., Appalachian State
S Julius Wood (6-1/193), r-Sr., East Carolina
DE Eyabi Okie-Anoma (6-4/260), r-Sr., Charlotte
QB Davius Richard (6-2/225), r-Sr., NC Central
OT Tyler Smith (6-6/310), r-Sr., Western Carolina
WR David White Jr. (6-2/201), r-Sr., Western Carolina
WR Kameron Johnson (5-8/184), r-Jr., Barton (D2)

Other Former ACC Players

QB Devin Leary (6-1/215), r-Sr., Kentucky (NC State)
QB Sam Hartman (6-1/211), r-Sr., Notre Dame (Wake Forest)