HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dreams will come true for 256 former college football players at this week's NFL Draft in Chicago. A few Hawaii guys will be among them,Oregon's DeForest Buckner the most coveted.
The Punahou graduate was the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Year, and with quarterbacks all but guaranteed to be selected with the first two picks, Buckner could be the first non-QB selected third overall to the San Diego Chargers, which happened to be the Waianae native's favorite team growing up.
Other projections have Buckner slipping to six to the Ravens, seven to the 49ers, or eight to the Browns.
"It's kind of nerve wracking because I honestly don't know where I'm going to end up going," Buckner told Hawaii News Now. "I'm excited, but I'm really nervous come draft day."
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock said Buckner has All-Pro written all over him and compared him to Cardinals All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell.
Another defensive end out of Hawaii is former Saint Louis Crusader Kamalei Correa. The Boise State standout was a second-team All-Mountain West selection last year as a junior after making the first team his sophomore season.
Correa had a very good combine and a phenomenal pro day in Boise according to several scouts. He's a fringe first rounder, but most likely a second round pick. Former Cowboys VP of Player Personnel Gil Brandt called Correa a slower Von Miller.
Former Punahou and UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn is considered the total package with his accuracy and ability to hit long field goals. Fairbairn hit a 60-yard FG last season and finished his college career with 41 straight makes from 35 yards and in. Fairbairn is projected as a 6th or 7th round pick.
The first round of the NFL Draft begins at 2 pm HST on Thursday. Rounds two and three take place Friday, while rounds four through seven take place on Saturday.