Sports

Triangle triplet drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the New York Giants selected Jones in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the New York Giants selected Jones in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

Three players with Triangle ties heard their names called on the first day of the 2019 NFL draft Thursday, and one went as high as No. 6 overall.

N.C. State offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury, former Wake Forest High School star Dexter Lawrence and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones were all drafted in first round of the NFL Draft.

Jones made history Thursday night when the the New York Giants selected him with the sixth pick. He became the first Duke quarterback ever to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. He was also the first Duke player drafted since 2015.

His selection was, however, met with some skepticism among Giants fans. A video circulating on social media showed fans at MetLife Stadium expressing their displeasure with the Giants’ pick.

Jones was projected on most draft boards to be taken after Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was picked by the Washington Redskins after dropping to 15th pick.

Jones, a 6-foot-5, 221-pound quarterback, was a three-year starter for the Blue Devils. He led the Blue Devils to a 8-5 record this past season and a second consecutive bowl game. He threw for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also completed 237 of 392 pass attempts.

Earlier this week, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said he talked to Jones about him possibly joining the Giants and what that would mean, including the high expectations that come with playing in a big market.

“I have a firm belief, particularly at quarterback, nothing is ever as good as it seems and nothing is ever as bad as it seems,” Cutcliffe told reporters on Tuesday. “If you can understand that and live that, you’re going to be fine in any of those environments.”

Jones will likely back up and eventually succeed current NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning, another one of Cutcliffe’s pupils.

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Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michael Conroy AP

Lawrence, who played defensive tackle at Clemson, was drafted 17th overall in the NFL draft by the Giants.

Lawrence, a 6-4, 342-pound defensive tackle, became the third Clemson defensive lineman drafted in the first round behind Clelin Ferrell, who was drafted fourth overall, and Christian Wilkins, who was 13th overall.

In his three seasons at Clemson, Lawrence recorded 131 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Lawrence was forced to sit out of Clemson’s Cotton Bowl game against Notre Dame, as well as the national championship game against Alabama after he and two other players failed a drug test. Lawrence maintained that he didn’t know how ostarine, a banned substance, got into his system.

Bradbury, the N.C. State offensive lineman, was taken with the 18th pick by the Minnesota Vikings. He was the second N.C. State player drafted in the first round in the last two years, a first for N.C. State since it had two players drafted in the first rounds of the 1979 and 1980 NFL drafts.

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N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury (65) greets fans after the Wolfpack’s 34-28 overtime victory over UNC at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Former N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb was taken No. 5 overall in the 2018 NFL draft.

Most draft boards had Bradbury going late in the first round. But Bradbury, a 6-3, 306-pound center and native of Charlotte, was the first center taken off the board at No. 18.

Bradbury began his career as a backup tight end, moved to the defensive line, and before settling on offensive line. He became consensus All-American center in 2018.

Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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