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.
When you are the first draft pick from a conference, it is a big deal. Yes it was day three and the fourth round, but he was one of only a few MWC draft picks, so it’s a big deal.
While they didn’t have their normal standard of draft picks and UDFAs, the Broncos still came out on top. With two of the three Mountain West draft picks and only a limited number of winners, this counts as a win.
Likewise, the Falcons register as a win due to drafting two of the three players from the Mountain West Conference. Obviously, we don’t know how it will work out for the team or the players, but they salvaged the draft for the conference this season.
San Diego State
The Aztecs had one player drafted and five more players signed as undrafted free agents. With six players from SDSU and seventeen total from the MWC, the Aztecs accounted for over 33% of all the affiliated players. That’s a huge win.
The conference has boasted double-digit draft picks the past two seasons and nine the season before that. Likewise, from the 2018-2020 draft classes, the Mountain West had 5, 4, and 3 players selected over the first three rounds. Both of those patterns came crashing to a screeching halt in 2021, with only three players drafted total and none in the first three rounds. It was extremely disappointing for the conference and a huge loss.
Thompson seemed like he would be a likely mid-round selection over the past few months. However, his name was never called. Now he can still make a roster and have a career, but it was a fall from grace for someone who was one of the best players in the Mountain West for the length of his career.
Jackson had arguably the biggest nosedive among conference players. He was the best wide receiver in the MWC and the pre-season offensive player of the year before opting out and declaring for the NFL when the season was initially canceled. He spent time preparing for the draft, but with no combine, he had few opportunities to showcase his skills. Jackson went undrafted and though his opportunity to continue the Colorado State WR legacy, it was damaged in the process.
Your turn: Who were the other Mountain West Conference winners and losers from the 2021 NFL Draft?