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Positive NFL Draft Press Keeps Comin'

The Dallas Morning News's Rick Gosselin wonders why, when it came to NC State's defense, the whole was less than the sum of the parts (BugMeNot):

The North Carolina State defense ranked sixth in the NCAA in sacks, eighth in defense and 14th overall in 2005. As impressive as those statistics are, I think the Wolfpack may have underachieved.

I didn’t see North Carolina State play a single game last season – but I do know the Wolfpack fielded one of the best defensive lines in college football. Or should have, anyway.

North Carolina State has the two top defensive ends and the third-best defensive tackle on the 2006 NFL draft board.

Strongside end Mario Williams is one of the three best players in this draft at any position. Weakside end Manny Lawson is right behind Williams on the end board and projects as a mid-first-round draft pick. Defensive tackle John McCargo projects as a late first-round pick.

So how did Wake Forest beat North Carolina State? How did floundering North Carolina slap 31 points on the Wolfpack? How did Clemson rush for 243 yards against the Wolfpack?

Two years of great defense, and a 12-11 record to show for it. Makes you feel wonderful, doesn't it?

Okay, that's not exactly positive, but the rest is, I promise...

Gosselin is also doing a position-by-position preview for the upcoming draft. He covered the defensive line today and featured Manny Lawson:

Manny Lawson has been compared to Taylor on this draft board. He's 6-5, 241 with 4.43-second speed over 40 yards. He posted 10 sacks at North Carolina State in 2005 and 20 in his career. He started a handful of games at linebacker in 2003 but moved to end in 2004. He put on 25 pounds for the 2005 season.

"Baked potatoes," Lawson said. "Then I went to the gym. Eating and working out, instead of eating, running and working out."

Gosselin ranks the top 15 defensive linemen in the draft--Williams, Lawson, and McCargo rank first, fourth, and sixth, respectively.

He previewed the tight ends on Tuesday and placed TJ Williams eighth.

Elsewhere, a writer for Patriots Football Weekly had some nice things to say about Oliver Hoyte:

When we watched Hoyte on tape, we were shocked. I thought I was looking at a first round draft pick. This guy made play after play and not only when we were watching him, but also when we watched other North Carolina State players like Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. Every time we watched tape of a Wolfpack player, Hoyte stood out.

At 250 pounds, Hoyte has the size the Patriots like in their linebackers and he hits like a ton of bricks. He’s not only a big hitter, however, he’s a great tackler. A lot of players can hit (Darnell Bing) but they don’t wrap up and tackle. When Hoyte tackles someone he pops them, wraps up and drives the player back. He’s the best tackler I saw at the linebacker position and that includes Hawk. Hoyte is a very physical player with a mean streak to him. He’s kind of like Rodney Harrison playing linebacker.

Hoyte showed over and over again on tape that he has the ability to shed blocks and make plays. He makes a lot of tackles in the backfield and seems to always be around the ball. Like I said, if you watched the footage of Hoyte that we saw and didn’t know where he was supposed to be drafted, you would think he was projected to go in the first or second round.