After finishing 3-9 in 2015, Maryland football has appeared in the news lately for its coaching hires. But in a few months, you'll be hearing a few former Terps mentioned as possible NFL Draft prospects, with at least one player a lock to hear his name called by Roger Goodell in April.
Here are the three Terps whom experts say have the best chance at making it in the pros:
Yannick Ngakoue, OLB/DE, 6'2, 255 lbs.
After switching from linebacker to defensive end this season, Ngakoue will probably flip back in the NFL. FOX Sports's Walter Cherepinsky projects Maryland's single-season sack record-holder going somewhere in the second or third rounds.
Ngakoue, who has impressed NFL talent evaluators, has played strongly this season with 38 tackles, 15 for a loss, 13.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. While he doesn't get a lot of publicity, he could have a lot of potential as a pro edge rusher. Ngakoue has length to him with speed off the edge. He has flashed some moves and has played well when taking on future NFL linemen.
CBS Sports ranks Ngakoue as the 14th-best outside linebacker in the draft, and has him going in the fourth or fifth round, the highest out of any Maryland player.
Quinton Jefferson, DL, 6'3, 289 lbs.
CBS Sports ranks Jefferson, another junior who declared early, the 20th-best defensive tackle, and has him going in the sixth or seventh round. Cherepinsky has him going in the sixth or seventh round, or going undrafted. He called the lineman's decision to skip his final year of eligibility a "bad move."
Quinton Jefferson is just a late-round prospect, at best. He has declared because he needs the money to support his family, but as I wrote, financial decisions are not factored into my verdict. It's possible that Jefferson won't be drafted, so from a pure football perspective, it's difficult to get behind this decision.
Brad Craddock, K, 6'1, 195 lbs.
Coming into 2015, Craddock was the easy choice team's highest draft pick, pretty much by default. But when Ngakoue rose to prominence, Craddock's chances at being the first Terp drafted decreased significantly. However, it appears that his lack of opportunities in 2015 really took its toll on the Australian kicker's draft stock. Craddock only had 10 field goal attempts during his injury-shortened season, as Maryland's offense lacked the ability to put him in field goal range.
Cherepinsky doesn't even have the Lou Groza Award winner on his seven-player list of kicker prospects, and CBS Sports has him going undrafted as the fourth-best kicker in the draft.
The 2016 NFL Draft will take place in Chicago on April 28-30.