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

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

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The 2022 NFL Draft begins 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 selected by the Carolina Panthers. He was one of 21 players invited to Las Vegas for the NFL Draft. The NC State junior 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: Carolina Panthers select NC State's Ikem ''Ickey'' Ekwonu

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, Wide Receiver Emeka Emezie. 

North Carolina Quarterback Sam Howell could go late in the 1st round. 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.

Other UNC players who could be drafted later on include:  Running Back Ty Chandler, Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel,  Offensive Tackle Joshua Ezeudu.

 Offensive Tackle Joshua Ezeudu - Selected by the Giants in the 3rd round.

Wake Forest also has some players in the draft including, Wide Receiver Jaquarii Roberson, Offensive Tackle Zach Tom, and Defensive Back Ja'Sir Taylor.

Linebacker D'Marco Jackson has his name in the draft too. He is coming out of App State.

There are a few Triad players who could turn pro. 

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.

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

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