Aztecs shutout of the draft but five players taken as undrafted free agents.
As the final draft picks approached, it became painfully obvious that no Aztecs would hear their name called. In fact, it was a very light year for the entire Mountain West in the draft world. Only five ‘players' names were called: Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener to Seattle, and San Jose State Defensive end Viliami Fehoko to Dallas were taken in the fourth round. The sixth round picks belonged to Boise States safety JL Skinner to Denver and defensive tackle Scott Matlock to the Chargers. Finally, New Mexico’s safety Jericho Reed was selected by Seattle.
The selection of NFL caliber players was off this year in the conference so the opportunity exists in UFA land. The Aztecs had the following players taken:
Wide receiver Jesse Matthews to Houston. He may have a legitimate chance to play as the Texans roster of receivers is pretty bare. He will be matched up with quarterback CJ Stroud.
Defensive lineman Jonah Tavai goes to a Seattle and Pete Carrolls system.
Wide receiver Tyrell Shavers going to Buffalo behind pass happy quarterback (and Wyoming grad) Josh Allen.
Center Alama Uluave goes to Miami where he will provide depth along the offensive line.
Receiver/returner Jordan Byrd was taken by Pittsburgh. He will most likely be lined up as a return specialist.
Defensive lineman Keshawn Banks will go to Green Bay where he may have a chance to play immediately due to the Packers lack of depth.
Noticeably absent was linebacker Cade McDonald who at this time remains unsigned.
Well there it is. The culmination of another season and the springboard to the NFL. Of course, there is always the UFL and the XFL clubs which could provide additional opportunities. Looking ahead to next year, the Aztecs may have a potential pro prospect in kicking specialist Jack Browning, who has numbers worthy of national recognition. Will he be as widely acclaimed (or notorious) as Matt Araiza? It remains to be seen. Undoubtedly, Patrick McMorris would have been a strong contender. The Aztecs appear to be looking for many answers to the upcoming season. Stay tuned for our fall player and team previews. Have a great summer everyone.