A handful of former Southern Miss football players will be waiting for their names to be called in the NFL Draft over the next three days.
Receiver Michael Thomas and cornerback Kalan Reed both have a good chance to be picked on the third day of the draft on Sunday when rounds 4-7 will take place. The two players have been visiting with NFL teams and have a chance to shoot up the board even further if one team falls in love with either Thomas or Reed.
Southern Miss has had a player selected in the draft in each of the last four years, including the Kansas City Chiefs' sixth-round selection, Rakeem Nunez-Roaches, in 2015.
Receiver Casey Martin and a pair of offensive linemen, Rashod Hill and Norman Price, are both hoping for their shot at the NFL, but free agency may be the route they end up taking. Martin has drawn comparisons to former NFL star Wes Welker as a talented slot receiver while the 6-foot-6, 309-pound Hill and the 6-foot-4, 311-pound Price both have ideal NFL size.
Mike Detillier, who publishes Mike Detillier's Draft Guide, sees Thomas landing as a fifth-round selection.
"He had an impressive senior season and he's a guy that's been productive," Detillier said. "He's got work to do as a route runner, but he can run after the catch. He's got some skills that are impressive. He catches the ball out front with his hands. He's certainly a guy the NFL knows about.
"There are so many receivers in this draft class. You've got a guy (in Thomas) that's got some skills that you could develop. I see him really being effective in the slot."
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Thomas pulled in 71 receptions for 1,391 yards and 14 touchdowns in a breakout senior campaign. Many projections have him landing anywhere between the fourth and seventh rounds.
Reed also had an outstanding senior season at USM with 56 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
Detillier sees Reed's landing spot in the draft as a little more uncertain, but a recent mock draft by the Washington Post had Reed being selected as the 38th overall pick in the second round.
"I think he's a guy that caught people's eye workouts. He did great," Detillier said.
The question for Detillier was about his lack of production prior to his senior season.
"He's a great looking athlete," Detillier said. "He's got athletic skills that are eye catching. He's got a shot to be selected in this draft class. Going back and watching film, he's got good ball reaction skills. He loses track of the football sometimes and that's something he'll have to work on. He's had great workouts and that's put him on the NFL radar."