Still looking at this past weekend’s NFL draft, here’s a short piece categorizing MWC related things into winners and losers. This clearly isn’t an exhaustive list but are some of the trends and observations from the draft.
The Rainbow Warriors were the only MWC team with two players drafted this season and they had the player who was drafted the highest in 2nd rounder Jahlani Tavai. John Ursua was a bit of a surprise but was still deserving and found a good fit in Seattle.
The Minnesota Vikings selected 40% of the MWC drafted this year and 33% of their picks come from the MWC. Not sure what their trend was before, but they clearly had a Mountain West leaning.
After a rough combine performance and having perhaps the widest margin of draft projection, Alexander hit on the high end and ended up being a third round draft pick with a clear role going forward.
A long-snapper drafted??? That’s quite an accomplishment for any special teamer, ever more for a long-snapper. Cutting showed he was a cut above the rest by being selected by the Vikings.
At the time of this writing, 44 players from the Mountain West conference are either part of NFL teams or mini-camps. Honestly not sure of what that compares to for other conferences or even past MWC years, but the number of draftees and free agents shows that NFL teams like and look for Mountain West players during this process and know these athletes can play.
They were supposed to have two and maybe even three players drafted, but instead they only had one. For a storied program, it was a disappointment for them to only have one player drafted.
The core of their defense either graduated or declared for the NFL draft, yet none of them were selected. Instead, only KeeSean Johnson was drafted and the most stout defense in all of the MWC was shut out.
Colorado State/Preston Williams
Continuing the theme here, a few Rams players could have heard their name called over the weekend, but only one did. Specifically, Preston Williams was the latest in a growing line of dynamic Colorado State wide receivers who put up big numbers on the team, but he didn’t get drafted. He will likely stick around as an UDFA but still disappointing.
Sure some like Alexander Mattison and Josh Oliver made it big, but others did not. The MWC had 6 non-seniors who weren’t drafted. There were 49 early-entries not selected this year, so 12% of the pool came from the MWC. Many of those players were the stars of the conference. Jeffrey Allison, Preston Williams, Mike Bell, Dax Raymond, and others.
Of the 10 MWC players drafted, only two were from the defensive side of the ball (just Tavai and Marcus Epps). Similarly, 12 of the 29 free agents signings are defensive players, continuing the trend. This points to the perception that the Mountain West is an offensive league, despite the talent that exists on defense.
Your turn: What did we get right and wrong? What winners and losers would you add to this list? Comment below.