Wow. If there were ever a moment of affirmation for Rocky Long’s back-to back Mountain West champion San Diego State University football team it is RIGHT NOW. Things are getting real for the Aztecs, and this year’s NFL Draft Day success will undoubtedly boost recruiting for SDSU for the future. Can’t you just feel the love?
To start things off, during the fourth round of the NFL draft, Nico Siragusa (OL) was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens. While he is not actually related to beloved Raven Tony Siragusa, he’s already been given the moniker “Goose Jr.” They have plans for Nico.
Next, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to acquire newly-crowned NCAA all-time rushing leader Donnel Pumphrey (RB) who sports fans see as a successor to Eagles running back Darren Sproles. If Pumphrey wins over hardscrabble Philadelphia fans, for whom Lincoln Financial Field hosts a built-in prison, the NFL will be his oyster.
During Round 5, Damontae Kazee (DB) was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons. Mountain West accolades helped the slightly undersized Aztec senior obtain recognition as a highly-versatile asset, that the Falcons might need to get their next Superbowl win.
After the draft excitement ended, a number highly underrated Aztecs, who were on the fence on the draft, were very quickly snatched up. Alex Barrett (DE) was quickly picked up by the Detroit Lions; Malik Smith (SS) was signed by the Houston Texans; two-sport athlete Calvin Munson (LB) was signed by the New York Giants, and then Kwayde Miller (OT) was also signed by the Baltimore Ravens.
As Aztecs fans waited to see what Daniel Brunskill’s (OT) fate would be, word finally broke that he too was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Brunskill made it to the NFL the hard way. He was a walk-on at San Diego State, who had to earn his scholarship on field. In his last two seasons, he turned heads with agility and explosiveness off the line, as well as positional versatility- that has now gotten him to the NFL.
2017 will go down as one of the most successful NFL drafts for the Aztecs. For the near future, while Rocky Long is in full command, San Diego State will be increasingly recognized to be a launching pad for highly talented- and sometimes underrated football players who hope to play NFL football, many of whom might not fit the boiler plate formulas of Power 5 programs.
As a writer and an Aztecs football fan, the results of this year’s draft well exceeded my expectations. It will be exciting to see so many Aztecs- as well as many other talented Mountain West players making a debut next year and in the years to come.
A hearty congratulations to my fellow Aztecs entering the NFL.