Heading into this year’s NFL draft, only two OSU players appeared to be shoo-ins to be selected: Sean Mannion and Steven Nelson. So it was a pleasant surprise that five Beavers had their names called — making it one of OSU’s best showings ever.
In addition to Mannion and Nelson, who were both taken in the 3rd round, DJ Alexander (5th), Obum Gwatchum (6th), and Ryan Murphy (7th) were drafted. Alexander being taken as high as he was by the Chiefs was the biggest surprise of the OSU draftees — as I thought he was a long shot to get picked.
But I am not complaining, because full disclosure: I’m a Chiefs fan. So it’s awesome that Alexander, Nelson, and Tyrequek Zimmerman (undrafted free agent) all are headed for KC. Might have to buy my first ever jersey now…
The consensus among Chiefs fans is that Nelson’s physical style of play will earn him quite a bit a playing time this season, especially in certain packages, and that he could be a starter someday. They also like Alexander’s potential and see him thriving on special teams early on, and adding depth at inside linebacker.
Speaking of undrafted OSU players, Dylan Wynn signed with Cleveland, Terron Ward with Atlanta, and Connor Hamlett with Jacksonville — the latter of which might be the biggest shock, considering not even a month ago, it was reported that Hamlett was giving up his pursuit of football due to injuries. So kudos to him for giving it a go, he has a lot of potential if he’s healthy.
There’s really not a better team that Mannion could’ve ended up than the Rams. Because they have Nick Foles, Mannion won’t be thrown into the fire right away. He has time to sit back and learn the system. But you know what? Maybe Mannion pushes Foles, who won’t be playing in Chip Kelly’s system anymore. Plus, the Rams drafted several linemen, signaling their commitment to protecting their QBs.
If anyone knows how well Mike Riley identified and developed talent, it’s Pete Carroll, so I think Gwachum and Murphy could end up being steals for Seattle. Both are excellent athletes, and should flourish in the Seahawks’ aggressive schemes. Much has been said about Boom Boom’s upside, but I think Murphy is a real sleeper. A change of scenery could be just what he needs.
What did you think about the draft? What was the biggest surprise to you? Go Beavs! (RW)