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Ken SugiuraKen Sugiura

Attaochu pegged as second-rounder

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If draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. is right, this man will be Arizona-bound.

If draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. is correct, this man will be Arizona-bound.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projects former Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu to be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 52nd overall pick (20th of the second round) in the NFL draft taking place May 8-10. It would complete a considerable rise since the end of the season, when the Yellow Jackets’ all-time sack leader was seen as more likely to be taken in the fourth round.

“Second round, I think, is a distinct possibility,” Kiper said Wednesday.

Kiper also said that “the great thing about Attaochu is he’s going to help you immediately as a big-time special-teams player. That’s critical, as I said, in the NFL for a guy that’s probably going to be a second-round draft choice.”

Kiper said he saw Attaochu more as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which is what the Cardinals use, but could also see him as a designated pass rusher in a 4-3 defense.

Kiper also projected former Tech defensive back Jemea Thomas as a late-round selection or possibly a “priority free agent.” He did not have a projection for any other Tech draft hopefuls, such as former linebacker Brandon Watts, who has worked out for multiple NFL teams since Tech’s pro day.

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