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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC defensive linemen selected in NFL Draft

Wilson, Thomas going to Seahawks, Chargers

Defensive end E.J. Wilson was taken in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. DTH/BJ Dworak
Defensive end E.J. Wilson was taken in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. DTH/BJ Dworak

North Carolina defensive linemen E.J. Wilson and Cam Thomas have spent their entire football careers playing on the East Coast.

But thanks to the decisions of a pair of NFL franchises this weekend at the league’s annual draft, the two Tar Heel linemen are headed west.

Wilson was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round (127th overall), while Thomas was taken in the fifth round (146th overall) by the San Diego Chargers.

“I feel like I’m coming to a real good situation, a real good organization,” Wilson said on the Seahawks’ website. “I felt like Seattle would be a great place for me to live. I’m really excited and happy about it.”

Wilson and Thomas played a large role on UNC’s defense last season, as the Tar Heels finished sixth nationally in total defense.

Wilson, a defensive end, had a career-best 49 tackles last season and had 12 tackles for loss. Wilson also had four sacks for the year.

Thomas, a 330-pound, 6-foot-3 defensive tackle, was integral in North Carolina’s improvement against the run. The Tar Heels improved from the No. 56-ranked defense against the run in 2008 to the No. 10 unit in 2009.

Thomas recorded 23 tackles in his senior season and also scored a touchdown on a 20-yard fumble return against Boston College.

He was originally thought to be a potential second-round pick by several draft experts but didn’t go off the board until long after most anticipated.

Despite the drop, Thomas is expected to compete for playing time almost immediately.

“There’s a lot of times where he plays like he’s a high draft pick,” San Diego head coach Norv Turner said in a press conference. “That’s what you’re looking for. A guy you can bring in here and develop.”



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.

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