The NFL draft is now just a few weeks away, and that means it’s time to ponder the annual question when it comes to North Texas.
Is this finally the year a UNT player will be drafted?
The Mean Green haven’t had a player selected since linebacker Cody Spencer in sixth round in 2004. No team competing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level has a longer draft drought than UNT.
The Mean Green’s hopes to break through this year rest largely with quarterback Mason Fine. The Oklahoma native spent his entire senior season as the leading active passer in college football and finished up with 12,505 yards and 93 passing touchdowns. Those totals place him among the most productive players in college football history.
They just might not be enough to help Fine convince an NFL team to spend a pick on him. He didn’t make CBS Sports rankings of the top quarterbacks in the draft. He is sitting at No. 23 in Walter Football’s rankings and is No. 306 in The Draft Network’s overall rankings.
Fine’s problem isn’t the way he produced in college. It’s his size. Fine is listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds.
That’s small for a college quarterback, let alone an NFL player.
Fine will go to camp with an NFL team. It seems unlikely, but a team could take a flier on him in the late rounds of the draft. The more likely path is the one so many UNT players have taken before him, including Patrick Cobbs, Lance Dunbar and Zachary Orr. All three signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents and made teams.
About the only other UNT prospect who might have an outside shot of sneaking into the draft is defensive end LaDarius Hamilton.
Hamilton finished with 8.5 sacks as a senior and was productive throughout his college career. He has also performed well in practices leading up to the Senior Bowl this week.
The expected draft range for both Fine and Hamilton is the sixth round to free agent.