UNT NFL draft prospects post

North Texas linebacker E.J. Ejiya closes in on SMU quarterback Ben Hicks during the Mean Green's win over the Mustangs last season at Apogee Stadium. 

The NFL draft is right around the corner, raising the annual question when it comes to the North Texas football program.

Is this the year?

The Mean Green have had several players go on to great success in the NFL over the last 15 years. Zach Orr, Lance Dunbar, Craig Robertson and Patrick Cobbs all made a name for themselves in one way or another.

What UNT hasn't had in a long, long time is an NFL draft pick.

Linebacker Cody Spencer was the last UNT player selected in the NFL draft. The UNT Hall of Famer and one of the greats of the Darrell Dickey era was selected in sixth round in 2004.

He is actually the only UNT player to be selected in the NFL draft since Anthony Bridges in 1995.

UNT has been waiting on its next draft pick since. There have been several players who seemed like they might break the drought only to be passed over until free agency hit.

The Mean Green have two players who are the next in line to try to break the drought this year, linebacker E.J. Ejiya and wide receiver Jalen Guyton.

The following is a look at both. The video below is of Ejiya after his pro day:

Linebacker E.J. Ejiya

Size: 6-foot-3, 231 pounds

Stats: Finished with 121 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 9 sacks as a senior. His 25 tackles for loss ranked fourth among players at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. He finished with 273 tackles and 40.5 tackles for loss in three seasons at UNT. Ejiya led UNT tackles, tackles for loss and sacks in each of his last two seasons with the Mean Green.

Honors: Ejiya was a first-team All-Conference USA selection as a senior and an honorable mention selection as a junior.

Where he's ranked: Drafttek has Ejiya rated No. 15 among outside linebackers and No. 323 overall in its draft rankings. CBSSports has Ejiya ranked No. 280 overall. Draftwire called him a potential late-round selection before the New Mexico Bowl.

Bottom line: Ejiya was highly productive at UNT. He'll to go camp with a team.

The question is if an NFL team will spend a late-round pick on him.

Ejiya wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine but fared well at his pro day. He was a terrific player for UNT and was a great representative of the university off the field.

UNT's coaching staff has sent a host of players on to the NFL before they arrived in Denton. Those coaches are giving Ejiya rave reviews to NFL teams. 

Wide receiver Jalen Guyton

Size: 6-foot-1, 202 pounds

Stats: Caught 54 passes for 805 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. Guyton caught 103 passes for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons with the Mean Green. 

Where he's ranked: Guyton is ranked No. 523 on CBSSports rankings of draft prospects. DraftCountdown has Guyton ranked No. 47 among wide receivers. 

Bottom line: Guyton is a tough player to gauge when it comes to his draft prospects. The former Allen standout graduated with a year of eligibility remaining and declared for the NFL draft after two productive years with the Mean Green.

Guyton seemed like a sure-bet to be a free agent signee up until he posted a head-turning pro day. He ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and excelled in other drills as well.

A crowd of scouts stayed after UNT's pro day to talk with Guyton about his past. That is what could be the issue.

Guyton started out at Notre Dame, where he was suspended and eventually left the team. He landed at Trinity Valley Community College and excelled there before signing with UNT.

Guyton flashed his potential at UNT, but never really became a dominant player.

The talent has always been there with Guyton and still is. That skill level could lead an NFL team to take a chance on him.

It would be the ultimate irony if Guyton is the player to break UNT's NFL draft drought. He didn't go down as one of the greats in Mean Green history like so many prospects before who seemed to have a chance to break UNT's NFL draft drought like Orr and Dunbar.

In the end, he could end up being UNT's first player drafted in 14 years.

So could Ejiya. We'll soon find out if the wait for UNT's next draft pick is over, or if the watch goes on for another year. 

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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