Ole Miss, with its rich football tradition, has never had two first-round NFL Draft picks in the same season.
That could change today.
Most analysts are projecting offensive tackle Michael Oher and defensive tackle Peria Jerry to be chosen in the first round, which begins at 3 p.m.
Oher will be one of nine top players in New York at the invitation of the NFL.
Other phones will ring as well. Wide receiver Mike Wallace, who turned in a strong performance at the NFL combine in February, could go in or between the second and fourth rounds.
Linebacker Ashlee Palmer and strong safety Jamarca Sanford could be drafted in the middle or late rounds.
Fullback Jason Cook and linebacker Tony Fein are also possibilities.
An interesting name to watch is former basketball player Jermey Parnell. He played very little in his one season with the football team, but scouts like his strength and athleticism.
Ole Miss had two players taken in professional football drafts in 1966. Offensive lineman Stan Hindman went as the 11th overall pick to San Francisco, and running back Mike Dennis was drafted in the first round by Buffalo, of the old American Football League, which would ultimately merge with the NFL.
NFL.com, the league’s official Web site, conducted its own mock draft with four analysts. Oher was rated highest by Pat Kirwan, who had him going with the 11th pick to Buffalo. That would make him the third offensive tackle chosen.
Two NFL.com analysts projected Oher to go to Washington with the 13th pick and one to Detroit with the 20th pick.
Only one analyst, Jamie Dukes, projected Jerry as a first-round pick, sending him to Tennessee at No. 30.
An ESPN mock draft has Oher going to San Francisco with the 10th pick, still the fourth tackle taken.
Jerry’s stock began to rise after a solid week before NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl in Mobile in January.
He did not take part in the NFL combine in February because of a hamstring injury. Oher tested at the combine but wasn’t pleased with his results.
Both players believed they helped themselves on “pro day” as NFL scouts put draft-eligible Ole Miss players through a series of tests in late March.
Jerry was still suffering slightly from the hamstring. He ran a 4.8 40 but lifted 225 pounds 28 times in the bench press. “Considering I wasn’t 100 percent I was pleased with what I did,” he said.
Like Jerry, Wallace turned heads at the Senior Bowl and was so pleased with his combine times that he did not test at pro day on campus.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal