(Photo of Dez Fitzpatrick: Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The start of the 2021 NFL Draft is now just two days away, and several former Louisville football players are hoping to hear their name called at some point over the course of the seven-round draft.
Wide receiver Tutu Atwell and running back Javian Hawkins are the most talked about and hyped up Louisville draft prospects, but wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick has also inserted himself into that mix thanks in part to the stellar offseason he has had.
First, he had a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Ala back in January. He finished with six receptions on 11 targets for 90 yards - all of which were game-highs - winning Offensive Player of the Game and just falling short of Game MVP.
Then this past month, he coupled that with a good showing at Louisville's Pro Day. The 6-foot-2, 208 pound wideout ran an official time of 4.46 in the 40-yard dash, followed by a 4.26 in the short shuttle and a 7.09 in the three-cone drill. Fitzpatrick also looked good in receiver drills
"(Scouts) said they were shocked, they didn't think I was that fast, they didn't think I was going to run that time," Fitzpatrick said after the Pro Day. "Some of the guys just liked how I interviewed well, say I'm a student of the game."
Thanks to both standout showings, coupled with a Louisville career that established him as a reliable target, and Fitzpatrick's draft stock has been steadily growing. NFL.com has him going in the seventh round, Sporting News has him as a sixth round pick, SB Nation a fifth, and CBS Sports & NFL Draft Bible have him as high as a third round selection.
"I try not to worry too much about (my draft stock), but hopefully if I'm doing something right with the Senior Bowl and the Pro Day like I just did, hopefully it's rising." Fitzpatrick said after the Pro Day.
The Southfield, Mich. native leaves the Cardinals as one of the top receivers in program history, and perhaps even one of the most underrated. His 21 career touchdown receptions is fifth in school history, and his 2,512 career receiving yards are sixth.
This past season, Fitzpatrick led the team in receiving yards (833) and yards per catch (19.37), was second in receptions with 43, trailing only Atwell's 46. He also finished with three receiving touchdowns, resulting in being named a Second Team All-ACC selection.
The 2021 NFL Draft will begin with round one on Thursday, Apr. 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Rounds 2-3 will start on Friday, Apr. 30 at 7:00 p.m. EST, and rounds 4-7 on Friday, May 1 starting at 12:00 p.m. EST. The entire draft will be on ESPN and the NFL Network.
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