Kentucky Guard Larry Warford
Warford is the best overall player Kentucky’s offense, and is a rising star that hopes to finally get the proper recognition he deserves this season. Going into the season Warford has been named in the Top 25 SEC players for 2012, and ranked as the 4th highest offensive guard in the NFL Draft. He’s a very physical guard and a capable pass-protector. Many have him projected to go between the 2nd-4th round, and could be a great pickup for any team in need of immediate guard help.
Here’s the CBS Sports Draft Profile of Warford:
As his size would suggest, Warford is a load in the middle for the Wildcats. He possesses a short, squatty frame with broad shoulders, making him difficult for defensive tackles to slip past when he’s in pass protection. Warford, who was started the past 25 consecutive games and has 35 games total under his belt, shows good awareness to handle surprise blitzes and the competitiveness to finish off defenders that he sees off-balance, contributing to his team-leading 34 knockdown blocks a season ago. A relatively rare all-conference pick for the Wildcats, Warford has been named to the preseason All-SEC squad prior to each of the past two seasons (2012, 2011) and earned second team honors from league coaches following his junior campaign. As a run blocker, Warford gets a powerful first shove into his opponent but must do a better job of continuing the block as he can get fundamentally lazy and not keeping his feet moving forward. Though he appears to have the quick feet to block on the move, too often he gets off-balance, resulting in his being on the ground more than scouts would like. Considering his frame and experience, Warford may get looks at center as well as his customary right guard position by scouts. He isn’t the elite prospect that his hype might lead one to believe but could challenge for a spot amongst the top 100 picks in 2013 — which would be quite the accomplishment considering that the last offensive linemen selected in the NFL draft was guard Todd Perry, who the Chicago Bears selected in the fourth round back in 1993.
Kentucky Wide Receiver LaRod King
The self proclaimed King of Kentucky has a great skill set coupled with great size and a frame that will do very well in the NFL. King’s speed is his greatest strength, but questionable hands will keep him a lat day-3 prospect, unless he can show scouts he can consistently catch the ball this year with a more accurate quarterback in Maxwell Smith throwing to him now. With 86 career receptions for 1,218 yards over his 3-year career in the SEC, he could prove to be descent 4-th or 5th receiver for an NFL team.
Here’s the CBS Sports Draft Profile of King:
While the Wildcats have struggled to put offensive linemen into the NFL, in comparison the program has been a virtual factory of receivers, churning out seven into the pro game over the past 15 years, most notably the Buffalo Bills’ Stevie Johnson and the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb. Like Johnson (who was drafted in the seventh round), King (pictured above) lacks the elite measureables to warrant early round consideration. He’s a long-strider with good build-up speed and the size and willingness as a blocker to remain outside at split end. King showed improved route-running as a junior and, not surprisingly, developed into Kentucky’s most reliable pass-catcher despite the fact that the Wildcats had a revolving door at quarterback last year (and could this year, as well). He eclipsed previous career highs in receptions (40), receiving yards (598) and touchdowns (seven), leading the team in all three categories. The focus that he demonstrated last year, however, wasn’t there during the spring as King became a father and elected to pledge a fraternity. King has publicly admitted that he was distracted during the spring and has thus far proven a different player during summer practices. NFL scouts won’t be pleased with King’s decision to put a fraternity pledge over football but a strong 2012 campaign can erase memories quickly. With 86 receptions over his career — over twice as many as the rest of the Kentucky receiving corps combined — the Wildcats are counting on the preseason All-SEC pick (second team) to do so.
Other Draft Prospects to Watch:
Louisville CB Adrian Bushell, OG Alex Kupper, SS Hakeem Smith
Kentucky: CB Martavius Neloms, C Matt Smith, DE Collins Ukwu, OG Larry Warford, DE Taylor Wyndham.