Twelve former Kentucky Wildcats have made it to the NFL in the past five years. A solid number considering the competition and expectations most have for the program. Winston Guy and Danny Trevathan are the two most recent additions to the league, and the 2013 NFL Draft will look to add at least a couple more names with ties to the Big Blue, despite not having a team which appears loaded with NFL talent. From CBS Sports, here are three names Kentucky fans may hear called on Draft Day 2013.
— Larry Warford (RG)
Without a doubt Warford is the most NFL-ready player on the team. His massive 6-3, 343 pound frame is a load for any defensive linemen across the line of scrimmage to handle. He has been a starter for Kentucky for 25 consecutive games and led the team in 2011 with 34 knockdowns. His partner Matt Smith at center will make him look good too, as he challenges for a Draft spot.
Considering his frame and experience, Warford may get looks at center as well as his customary right guard position by scouts. He isn’t the elite prospect that his hype might lead one to believe but could challenge for a spot amongst the top 100 picks in 2013 — which would be quite the accomplishment considering that the last offensive linemen selected in the NFL draft was guard Todd Perry, who the Chicago Bears selected in the fourth round back in 1993.
— La’Rod King (WR)
Kentucky will be looking for an offensive leader and playmaker this season. Joker Phillips expects his young studs to step up, but King will be a senior and must lead by example. He may benefit the most from his new role and possibly impress NFL scouts who realize Kentucky has recently put a pair of impressive and overlooked receivers into the league named Stevie Johnson and Randall Cobb.
King lacks the elite measureables to warrant early round consideration. He’s a long-strider with good build-up speed and the size and willingness as a blocker to remain outside at split end. King showed improved route-running as a junior and, not surprisingly, developed into Kentucky’s most reliable pass-catcher despite the fact that the Wildcats had a revolving door at quarterback last year.
— Collins Ukwu (DE)
The defensive line will be one of the strongest units for Kentucky this season, and by far the most dominate on the defensive side of the ball. Ukwu has the ability to make an impact in the same way Danny Trevathan did last year — quietly going about his business while racking up the stats. If he can do that and have a breakout season, expect to see a team take a chance on Ukwu in a later round. Just like the wide receivers that have come through Kentucky, Corey Peters and Jeremy Jarmon represent the defensive front for the Cats well.
Ukwu didn’t sign with Kentucky as a highly regarded prospect but as a 6-5, 200 pound project. He’s since added nearly 60 pounds and has flashed the combination of burst off the snap and strength at the point of attack to result in a splashy season. The problem is, the results simply haven’t come yet … Ukwu’s production did jump last season but shoulder injuries robbed him of his strength (and three games). He finished with career-highs in tackles (28), tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (2.5).
Others in the rankings are Matt Smith (OC) and Martavius Neloms (DB). Receiving honorable mention are Morgan Newton (QB), Cartier Rice (CB), Mikie Benton (FS), and junior Avery Williamson (ILB).