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Now that the NFL regular season is over and the playoffs are underway the majority of NFL teams and fans are now looking ahead to next season. Fans are anticipating what off season moves their team will make. The 2013 edition of the NFL Draft will take place April 25-27. NFL coaches, general managers and scouts will have plenty of opportunities to evaluate talent at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine, pro days and individual workouts. As it stands right now the Tar Heels have several prospects that could be drafted one of the three days in late April.
Giovani Bernard (RB): Before any of the predraft festivities Bernard is expected to be one of the first running back taken in the draft. Bernard moves very elusive and with bursts of power. He is not extremely quick or strong, but he can do a lot of things on the field. He is a very good receiver out of the backfield and as NC State fans can tell you he is an excellent punt returner. Bernard is a player that can make an immediate impact in the NFL.
Jonathan Cooper (OG): Cooper is the early favorite to be the first Tar Heel taken in the 2013 NFL draft. Cooper is expected to go mid-late first round. Cooper, started 35 games while he was in Chapel Hill. He has excellent footwork and shows bursts of explosiveness off the line of scrimmage.
Sylvester Williams (DT): Williams chose to return for his senior season and he is a top 10 prospect at the defensive tackle position because of that decision. He is a very good pass rusher and can get to the Quarterback on a consistent basis. He had 42 tackles this season with 13 of those for losses, he also tallied six sacks. Williams will showcase his talent by being a participant at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 26.
Brennan Williams (OT): What is not to love about Williams size and athleticism, he stands 6'7" 310 pounds and has very good footwork. What will improve his draft stock is if Williams can show that he is healthy. Williams had surgery in late October for a torn labrum on his left shoulder. If healthy he could be a steal for a team drafting in the third or fourth round as he has the size and ability to first round talent on the right side of an offensive line for many years in the NFL.
Kevin Reddick (ILB): Reddick is carrying on a recent tradition of North Carolina producing good NFL linebackers. His senior season hurt his draft stock a bit and caused some to question his effort on the field. He was a four year starter and leader for the Tar Heel defense and that experience allows him to make up for the flaws in his game. He has a high football intelligence and that is something you need in a middle linebacker at the next level. Reddick will join teammate Sylvester Williams in Mobile for the Senior Bowl.
Erik Highsmith (WR): The 6'2" senior is expected to be a late round to undrafted free agent in the draft this year. Highsmith does not have blazing speed, but he does have length and very good skill sets. Highsmith has an excellent work ethic and would be a nice addition to any NFL team preseason roster. He has the ability and drive to improve his draft stock and his draft stock will be very interesting to watch the next couple of months.
Travis Bond (OG): Bond is a very big interior lineman at 6'7" 340 pounds. He is projected to go undrafted or in the last round of the draft.