Carter, Austin, Little Picked in 2nd Round

Three Tar Heels have been selected thus far on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, all in the second round. Linebacker Bruce Carter went to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 40 overall, Marvin Austin to the New York Giants at No. 52 and Greg Little to Cleveland at No. 59.

This is the first time UNC has had four players selected in the first two rounds.

"It feels great," Carter said. "It's America's team – it doesn't get any better than that. [Owner] Jerry [Jones] has built a great program starting with the coaching staff and the stadium. He's got great players, so I'm just really happy to be a Cowboy."

Carter (6-foot-1, 243 pounds) earned second-team All-ACC honors and was a Butkus Award finalist in 2010 after posting 57 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one interception. The Havelock, N.C. native was also recognized as a second-team All-ACC performer in 2009

"One of the reasons we took him was because with Keith (Brooking) coming back, this will give him the time to get in and learn," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "He will be on special teams right away then come on. He'll play a lot. If he didn't have this knee injury, we think he would have gone in the first and that is pretty much the consensus around the league."

Carter was unable to participate at the NFL Combine due to injuring his left knee against N.C. State on Nov. 20, 2010 and undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery on Dec. 14, 2010.

"My knee is doing great," Carter said. "I'm able to cut now. I'm just working on that and getting my feeling back. Everything's looking up. I'm able to get into a good workout routine. Everything is transitioning and I'm feeling more and more comfortable about it."

ESPN.com reported earlier this week that orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews had cleared Carter for workouts with any NFL team.

Austin (6-foot-2, 301 pounds) earned second-team All-ACC honors as a junior in 2009 after posting 42 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. The Washington, D.C. native was widely regarded as the top defensive line prospect as a high school senior and was tabbed as USA Today's 2007 National Defensive Player of the Year.

"It was a little tough watching the names go by ahead of me, but I got excited when it was the Giants pick, because they met with me three times at the combine and I knew they were interested," Austin said. "I'm just thankful for this opportunity, to go to a place where they want me and I can flourish. I know Coach Coughlin is a no-nonsense type of coach and he believes I'm a good guy who can help their football team. I'm so proud to be a New York Giant."

Austin was dismissed from the North Carolina football program in October for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin noted, "I spent quite a few minutes on the phone with him prior to telling him we'd be drafting him, and that there were some very, very high expectations for him if he was to come here and be a New York Giant. I think he understood that, so we will get off on the right foot. He's a talented football player who certainly has an opportunity now to show the world what he can do and to hopefully package all the energy and the disappointment and motivation based on the fact he did not play this past year. Hopefully, we'll wrap all of that up and come be the football player we think he can be."

After experimenting at both wide receiver and running back during his first two seasons in Chapel Hill, Little (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) eventually settled in and started all 13 games at wideout in 2009, totaling 62 catches, 724 receiving yards, five touchdowns. The Durham, N.C native continued to be effective on the ground, however, churning out 166 rushing yards and a touchdown.

"To be accepted as a second-round draft pick, just playing the position completely for one full year, I think the sky's the limit for me right now, honestly," Little said.

Little missed the 2010 season and being ruled permanently ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules.

"He's extremely good at catching the football, and when he's in a crowd or he hasn't created separation, he'll fight for the ball and make a catch," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "He's got a lot of what you're looking for, he finds a way to separate and he's got size. If you just watch him, he finds a way to get into the end zone."

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