Chapel Hill, N.C. - North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams was selected No. 28 overall by the Denver Broncos Thursday night in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Williams is the 22nd overall first-round draft pick in Carolina history and the sixth in the last six years.
No other ACC school has had as many first-round picks (6) as Carolina since 2008.
"I'm so proud of Sylvester and what he's accomplished in his life," said head coach Larry Fedora. "He's worked incredibly hard to accomplish his goals and Denver will be a great fit for him. Sly overcame several obstacles in his past to earn his degree from North Carolina and be selected in the NFL Draft. He was a selfless leader who did everything to help our team win."
Williams enrolled at Carolina in January, 2011, after two seasons at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. He worked at Modine Manufacturing Company making radiator parts for large trucks before enrolling at Coffeyville.
At Carolina, Williams was a standout defensive tackle who earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2012 and was chosen to the Pro Football Weekly All-America team. He finished the season with 42 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for losses and six sacks.
He started all 25 games in Chapel Hill, playing through an ankle injury last season. As a junior he posted 54 tackles, 7.0 tackles for losses and 2.5 sacks.
"He could have been a top 15 pick and no one could have argued," said ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper. "The Denver Broncos defensive line just got a lot better with that pick."
The last time a defensive tackle from UNC was selected in the first round was 2008 when Kentwan Balmer was taken at No. 29 by San Francisco.
North Carolina's First-Round Draft Picks (22)
1965 - Ken Willard (RB) - No. 2, San Francisco
1971 - Don McCauley (TB) - No. 22, Baltimore
1975 - Ken Huff (OG) - No. 3, Baltimore
1981 - Lawrence Taylor (LB) - No. 2, New York Giants
1981 - Donnell Thompson (DE) - No. 18, Baltimore
1984 - Brian Blados (OL) - No. 28, Cincinnati
1985 - Ethan Horton (RB/TE) - No. 15, Kansas City
1987 - Harris Barton (OT) - No. 22, San Francisco
1993 - Thomas Smith (CB) - No. 28, Buffalo
1996 - Marcus Jones (DT) - No. 22, Tampa Bay
1998 - Greg Ellis (DE) - No. 8, Dallas
1998 - Brian Simmons (LB) - No. 17, Cincinnati
1998 - Vonnie Holliday (DT) - No. 19, Green Bay
1999 - Ebenzer Ekuban (DE) - No. 20, Dallas
2002 - Julius Peppers (DE) - No. 2, Carolina
2002 - Ryan Sims (DT) - No. 6, Kansas City
2008 - Kentwan Balmer (DT) - No. 29, San Francisco
2009 - Hakeem Nicks (WR) - No. 29, New York Giants
2011 - Robert Quinn (DE) - No. 14, St. Louis
2012 - Quinton Coples (DE) - No. 16, New York Jets
2013 - Jonathan Cooper (OG) - No. 7, Arizona
2014 - Sylvester Williams (DT) - No. 28, Denver