Football

10 players with SC ties to watch for in 2018 NFL draft

Former South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst catches a pass at the Gamecocks Pro Day on Tuesday, March 20.
Former South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst catches a pass at the Gamecocks Pro Day on Tuesday, March 20. tdominick@thestate.com

A look at 10 players (in alphabetical order) with South Carolina ties to pay attention to for next week’s NFL draft, which starts Thursday and concludes Saturday, April 28:

Deon Cain, WR, Clemson – Speedy Clemson receiver ran 4.43 at NFL combine and is projected as high as a third-round selection.

Dee Delaney, DB, Miami – Played at Whale Branch High School and started college career at The Citadel before playing last season at Miami.

Poona Ford, DT, Texas – Hilton Head Island product and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of Year was snubbed by not being invited to NFL combine but shined at Texas Pro Day. Projected as a fifth- to seventh-round pick.

Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina – Consensus top tight end in draft by analysts. ESPN’s Mel Kiper expects him to be a first-round pick.

Former South Carolina Gamecocks football tight end Hayden Hurst got a piece of NFL draft advice from Carolina Panthers star Greg Olson. He also talked to OC Norv Turner.

Darius Leonard, LB, S.C. State – Played at Lake View High School and two-time MEAC Defensive Player of Year and FCS All-American at S.C. State. Projected as early third-day selection, but CBS’ Jason LaCanfora has him as 48th-best player in the draft.

Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina – Gamecocks' leading tackler in all four seasons. Kiper expects Moore to be fourth- or fifth-round pick.

Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Clemson – Tigers’ leading tackler last season is projected as third-day selection.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State – Played at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill and set several records at Oklahoma State. Projected as a first- or second-round pick.

Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State – Played at Rock Hill High School and final two years at New Mexico State, where he caught 76 passes for 1,079 yards this year. Expected to be third-day selection

Vyncint Smith, WR, Limestone College – Played at Westwood High School and turned heads with 4.36 40-yard dash at South Carolina Pro Day. Projected as third-day selection.

Vyncint Smith, who starred locally at Westwood High School and played at Limestone College, has his sights set on the NFL as a wide receiver.

NFL Draft

Where: This year's draft is at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

When/Watch

Round 1: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26 (NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2)

Rounds 2-3: 7 p.m. Friday, April 27 (NFL Network, FOX Sports, ESPN, ESPN2)

Rounds 4-7: Noon Saturday, April 28 (NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)

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