As the hours wore on Saturday, it looked increasingly less likely that Duke would break its NFL draft drought.
But late in the seventh round, with the 249th overall pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected Blue Devils quarterback Sean Renfree. He is the first draft pick out of Duke since 2004.
Renfree, who is recovering from surgery on his right pectoralis major muscle, the biggest chest muscle, was unable to work out and throw for teams before the draft, making his selection somewhat surprising.
More than two hours before Renfree was drafted, the ESPN crew was singing his praises. Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay and Bill Polian constantly referenced Renfree’s strengths, including his size, accuracy and tutelage under Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
“He is a big, tall guy who’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Kiper said.
Much earlier in the day, N.C. State safety Earl Wolff went to the Philadelphia Eagles with the third pick in the fifth round, No. 136 overall. Not bad for a player who had only one major offer coming out of high school.
“It’s just a blessing to hear my name called,” Wolff told Eagles beat reporters on a conference call. “I feel like God does everything for a reason, so I never look at the negatives, I always look at the positives.”
Appalachian State punter/place kicker Sam Martin was also drafted in the fifth round, No. 165 overall to the Detroit Lions. His teammate, cornerback Demetrius McCray went No. 210 overall in the seventh round to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
North Carolina guard Travis Bond (No. 214 overall to the Vikings), Wake Forest fullback Tommy Bohanon (No. 215 to the New York Jets) and Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette (No. 238 to the Baltimore Ravens) were also drafted in the seventh round.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter: @laurakeeley