Mike Wilcher, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound outside linebacker from North Carolina and graduate of Eastern High School here, was selected in the second round of yesterday's NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was the 36th pick overall and was the first player drafted from the Washington area.
Two University of Maryland players also were picked in the top four rounds, tight end John Tice by New Orleans and defensive tackle Mark Duda by St. Louis.
Another area player selected was Pete Speros, a Penn State offensive lineman who attended St. John's. He was picked by Seattle in the 10th round.
Wilcher was home in Northeast Washington visiting his parents yesterday and was delighted by his selection.
"It feels good; it feels very good; it almost feels too good," he said. "I was sort of surprised I'd go that high. It was a nervous time just sitting around the phone and waiting for it to ring."
Wilcher backed up Lawrence Taylor, now an all-pro with the New York Giants, for two seasons at Chapel Hill; last season he had 40 tackles and 28 assists and was a consensus choice for all-Atlantic Coast Conference.
"I flew out to Los Angeles about a week and a half ago to visit the players and staff," Wilcher said. "They were just getting out of camp, so I got to meet many of the players. It should be good to live on the West Coast. L.A.'s got great facilities and the weather there is always pretty nice. I was hoping I wouldn't get stuck in a place with bad weather."
Wilcher said Washington, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles showed the most interest in him: "It would have been nice if Washington had drafted me, to stay at home and all, but I've got no complaints. I think I'll spend the rest of the day with family and throw a little party to celebrate tonight."
Tice, whose brother Mike plays tight end for Seattle, was the ninth pick in the third round and 65th overall. Tice, 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds, from Central Islip, N.Y., lettered four years at Maryland. He had 83 career receptions for 949 yards and an 11.4 average for a team whose tight end was primarily a blocker until last season.
Tice left for the Saints' camp in Metairie yesterday to meet with team officials. "I suppose I spent the day the same way most guys up for the draft did," he said. "I waited by the phone while watching what was going on TV.
"Because I'm from the New York area, I was hoping the Giants would pick me up. I was a little disappointed. Maybe I wouldn't have been if they hadn't shown so much interest.
"But I know (New Orleans Coach) Bum Phillips from the Senior Bowl," Tice said. "He coached me there. I don't know what my chances are of starting; I don't even know what they have at tight end. But I'm sure I'll be able to contribute."
Duda was the 12th pick in the fourth round and 96th overall. Duda, 6 feet 3 and 263 pounds, from Plymouth, Pa., lettered four years at Maryland.