Campus Corner

The Star’s NFL Draft projections for former Kansas players

Kansas linebacker Ben Heene’s size — 6 feet, 231 pounds — is a question mark, but he profiles as a solid NFL special teams player at the very least.
Kansas linebacker Ben Heene’s size — 6 feet, 231 pounds — is a question mark, but he profiles as a solid NFL special teams player at the very least. The Associated Press

Former Kansas standouts Ben Heeney and JaCorey Shepherd lead a group of former Jayhawks who could hear their names called in this week’s NFL Draft. A few other players, including former receiver Nigel King, will likely sign as free agents or earn invites to a rookie camp. Here’s a look at where these former KU football players could be drafted.

LB Ben Heeney

6-0, 231, Hutchinson, Kan.

Analysis: Heeney, an All-Big 12 linebacker from Hutchinson, projects as a fifth- or sixth-round pick after completing a sterling career at Kansas. He draws high marks for his athleticism — he set the combine on fire with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash and great performance in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill. His size — 6 feet, 231 pounds — is a question mark, but Heeney profiles as a solid special teams player at the very least.

The Star’s projection: Fifth or sixth round

CB JaCorey Shepherd

5-11, 199, Mesquite, Texas

Analysis: A former receiver, Shepherd changed positions as a sophomore and grew into an All-Big 12 cornerback over the next three seasons. He was invited to the combine and has solid college numbers from the last two seasons, finishing with 32 passes defended and five interceptions.

The Star’s projection: Fifth-round pick

CB Dexter McDonald

6-1, 200, Rockhurst High

Analysis: A Kansas City native, McDonald could be a candidate to go in the late rounds or sign somewhere as a free agent. He opened eyes with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash time at the Jayhawks’ pro day. He wasn’t invited to the combine.

The Star’s projection: Seventh round or free agent

P Trevor Pardula

6-5, 212, San Jose, Calif.

Analysis: After two strong seasons as Kansas’ punter, the former junior-college transfer will likely have an opportunity to impress a team as a free agent. Armed with a strong leg, Pardula had at least one punt of 54 yards or more in 18 of 24 college games.

The Star’s projection: Free-agent signing

WR Nigel King

6-3, 210, Raleigh, N.C.

Analysis: A former graduate transfer, King spent one season at Kansas and left with a year of eligibility remaining. A big receiver at 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, King ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash at the KU pro day. He was a big-play threat at Kansas.

The Star’s projection: Free-agent signing

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rustindodd.

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