Sims, Wilhite join fellow Auburn defenders in NFL draft

UNDATED, Ala. (AP) - Defensive tackle Pat Sims led in-state players selected on the second day of the NFL draft, continuing a run on former Auburn defenders.

In Sunday's third round, the Cincinnati Bengals chose Sims, who skipped his senior season to turn pro. Sims was the 77th overall pick.

Sims who once quit the team early in his career ended with a breakout season after making a combined 19 tackles his first two years. He had 37 tackles, 11.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks as a junior.

The fourth Auburn defender selected in the draft was cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, the 130th overall pick late in Round 4 by the New England Patriots.

Former Auburn teammates defensive end Quentin Groves and defensive back Patrick Lee were both chosen late in the second round yesterday. Groves went to Jacksonville and Lee to Green Bay.

It was the first time since 1989 that four Auburn defenders have gone in the draft. Five were taken that year, including defensive lineman Tracy Rocker.

Then, Auburn offensive tackle King Dunlap was taken by Philadelphia with the 23rd pick of the seventh and final round.

Alabama didn't have any players selected, leaving such college standouts as receiver DJ Hall, defensive end Wallace Gilberry and cornerback Simeon Castille to sign as free agents.

The first state player taken was Troy cornerback/return man Leodis McKelvin, the 11th overall pick who went to Buffalo.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)