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NFL Draft 2022: North Carolina players hope to hear their names called

Football players from the SEC and ACC North Carolina schools are hoping to play at the next level.

LAS VEGAS — The 2022 NFL Draft began Thursday night. It's a moment many football players have dreamed about their whole lives. Many of them hope to hear their names called throughout the next few days, but only 262 will. Some of them could be from North Carolina.

NC State Offensive Tackle Ikem Ekwonu was projected to be a top pick, and the Carolina Panthers chose him with the No. 6 pick. 

He was one of 21 players invited to Las Vegas for the NFL Draft. The NC State junior and Providence Day grad has the size to play at the pro level. He can be a huge threat with his 34" arms and an 84 1/2" wingspan. He's also versatile, playing either offensive tackle or guard.

RELATED: 'Ikem is just the joy': Ekwonu's parents proud of first-round hopeful

Credit: AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker
North Carolina State's Ikem Ekwonu (79) prepares for the snap against Clemson during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.

Other NC State players who could be drafted later on include: Running Back Zonovan Knight, and Wide Receiver Emeka Emezie, a graduate of Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw.

North Carolina Quarterback Sam Howell leaves UNC as the best quarterback in school history. He holds the school's record in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense, and total touchdowns. He had 92 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Credit: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) scrambles against Wake Forest during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

RELATED: NFL Draft 2022: Stream one-of-a-kind coverage from Locked On and TEGNA

Running Back Ty Chandler from UNC would later be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Fellow Tar Heel Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel remains up for consideration.

UNC Offensive Tackle Joshua Ezeudu was drafted No. 3 in Round 3 by the New York Giants. 

Wake Forest also has some players in the draft including, Wide Receiver Jaquarii Roberson, and Defensive Back Ja'Sir Taylor. Kicker Nick Sciba of Clover, South Carolina is also among the top players. Saturday afternoon, Offensive Lineman Zach Tom was picked by Green Bay in the fourth round.

Linebacker D'Marco Jackson had his name in the draft too. He is coming out of App State and is now bound for New Orleans after the Saints picked him in the fifth round. His teammate, Wide Receiver Corey Sutton, a Mallard Creek High School grad, is also on the radar.

From Georgia, Defensive Back Derion Kendrick of South Pointe High School in Rock Hill is in the draft. Defensive Tackle Jordan Davis of Mallard Creek High School was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the No. 13 pick.

RELATED: Charlotte native Jordan Davis picked by Eagles in first round of NFL Draft

West Forsyth Alum Ja'Quan McMillian is a defensive back out of East Carolina.

Credit: AP Photo/Nell Redmond
East Carolina cornerback Ja'Quan McMillian intercepts an Appalachian State pass during an NCAA football game on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C.

Statesville grad Brock Hoffman, an offensive lineman for Virginia Tech, is also in the draft.

Northwest Guilford Alum Tre Turner is a wide receiver out of Virginia Tech.

Credit: AP Photo/Ben Margot
Virginia Tech's Tre Turner (11) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Atlanta. Turner caught seven passes for a 187 yards and one score to lead Virginia Tech to a 26-17 win

Many of these players will go in later rounds if they are drafted.

The NFL Draft began at 8 p.m. Thursday night with round 1. Rounds 2 and 3 took place Friday. The draft will finish up with rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

WFMY-TV and WCNC Charlotte's Nick Carboni contributed to this story

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