While the NC State offense is losing a number of players to the draft, but the defense only has a handful of defensive starters leaving the program. Here is a look at some of those players, and when and where they may be drafted:
Germaine Pratt, linebacker
Pratt is without a doubt one of the most underrated linebackers in a top-heavy linebacker draft class. NC State fans were first-hand witnesses to the leadership that Pratt provided on defense, as he was the heart and soul of the entire Wolfpack defense. Pratt ended the 2018 collegiate season with 104 total tackles, ten of which for a loss and 54 of them being solo tackles, leading the Pack defense. Pratt also finished with six sacks.
On top of that, Pratt showed his ability to dominate all across the field in his four-year career, recording two forced fumbles this season along with three pass deflections. Pratt grabbed three interceptions in his NC State career, one of which he returned for a 73-yard touchdown. The defensive machine has elite leadership and athletic abilities, and is capable of play-calling at a high level.
The former NC State linebacker has absolutely dominated at the combine and pro day. Pratt ran a 4.57 40-yard dash which ranked seventh for all linebackers and better than NFL veteran Jamie Collins. He recorded 24 bench press reps which was sixth for all linebackers, a 32.5” vertical jump and a 116” broad jump.
The walking highlight reel’s tight coverage was felt across the board, with passers recording a 45.4 passer rating when Pratt was in coverage, per Pro Football Focus. Pratt only missed four tackles all year and had the ninth-best run-stop percentage at 13.4% for all linebackers in the country.
Pro Football Focus had Pratt rated at the 75th best player in the nation, third on NC State’s roster behind Ryan Finley and Terrone Prescod. Pratt was rated better than likely first-round picks such as Clelin Ferrell from Clemson, Montez Sweat from Mississippi State and even fellow linebacker prospect Devin Bush from Michigan.
Darius Leonard, Shaquem Griffin, Jaylon Smith, Myles Jack and Jordan Hicks are all examples of day-two or day-three linebackers, so if Pratt falls in this range, he is still in very good company among previous draftees.
Pratt has the capability to join an NFL team and make an instant impact as a starter. While Pratt will likely be overlooked in a class that boasts Bush, Devin White and Mack Wilson, he will almost certainly make teams regret passing on him.
Prediction: Fourth-round pick
Potential fits: Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles
Darian Roseboro, defensive tackle
Roseboro probably will not hear his name called in the NFL draft, but that does not mean the former NC State alum is out of luck. While it would be an uphill battle, Roseboro can try and sign on with a team for the spring and impress in the preseason, which would give him a shot at a practice squad run.
Eurndraus Bryant, defensive tackle
Like Roseboro, Bryant is not likely to be drafted in a defensive line heavy draft class that runs rich with talent all the way to the seventh round. Bryant will have to take the same path as Roseboro if he hopes to crack an NFL roster. However, both former NC State starters will be missed, as they were both very effective on the defensive line.