The NFL draft will kick off on Thursday and last through Saturday. It’s a time of excitement for fans as they see their favorite college players move on and fulfill their dreams of playing in the NFL. While no one from the Mountain West is expected to go in the first round, the conference should have anywhere from 5 to 10 players selected this year, with many more being signed as undrafted free agents. The question is: how many players will be picked from your team and who will they be?
Mike: Looking at the conference, it will likely be a down year for the conference in terms of players being drafted. Ideally, the Mountain West should strive to have at least ten players drafted every year. This year, that would be the best-case scenario.
This week I’ll highlight San Jose State. The big name for the Spartans is EDGE player Viliami Fehoko. He has the best projection among the team’s draft hopefuls and while he isn’t a top player in the draft, he is firmly on the radar. He is most likely a Day 3 pick and I’m going to guess he will be in the 5th round, but I’d believe the 4th or 6th just as easily. Two other intriguing SJSU players are CB Nehemiah Shelton, a lengthy cornerback who had a good showing at his all-star bowl, and WR Elijah Cooks, a tall wide receiver who put up good numbers when healthy. Expect both of them to be signed as undrafted free agents, but they are worth keeping an eye on.
Jeremy: I’ll go ahead and say one for Hawaii. Ilm Manning is consistently personified, and the NFL will never have a surplus of offensive line talent. Expect a team to draft Manning on day three, probably 5th round at best but no later than the 7th round. Undrafted would be a harsh result for the former 4-year starter from Hawaii.
Jeff: San Diego State will probably be waiting for a few rounds before they hear any Aztecs called in the draft. The draft has quite a bit of depth and this will likely push the Aztec graduates down. DL Jonah Tavai looks like the best bet for perhaps a 6 or 7 round but don’t be surprised to see him go undrafted. Same for EDGE rusher Keshawn Banks and LB Caden McDonald. If anything, Banks might be a project pick but all in all, slim guarantees for the trio of Aztec players.
Zach: For Boise State I am going to go with three. JL Skinner is a lock. Scott Matlock has been projected as high as the 5th round in some mock drafts. I think Tyreque Jones gets drafted as well. The wild card is John Ojukwu who received a combine invite and could be a late round pick.
Jos: UNLV started off strong this year then faded towards the end. However, two guys were solid all year, LB Austin Ajiake and DE Adam Plant Jr. I could see both of them possibly getting drafted late or even becoming Undrafted Free Agents (UDFA). They both played with a chip on their shoulder and for later round picks that is a good attitude to have. To make an NFL team is a fight and if any teams draft either of these two guys, they will put in the hard work to make their NFL dreams come true.
Aiden: I will be optimistic and say that four players from Boise State will be drafted. JL Skinner is a no-doubter as he should be selected Friday night. Scott Matlock impressed during BSU’s Pro Day with his measurables and on-field testing. For Boise native John Ojukwu, he will have to wait until the late stages of Saturday’s coverage, but I believe his experience and leadership will convince a win-now team to take a flyer on him in the sixth or seventh round. Tyreque Jones has shown an ability to be versatile during his college career and his transition to the nickel position this past season is what I think gives him the extra push to hear his name called.