No Huskers picked in NFL Draft for first time since 1962
History says it takes a lot for an entire NFL Draft to go by without a Nebraska player being selected.
Mind you, that hasn’t happened since 1962. Until this week, at least one Husker heard his name called every year for the past 56 years and none had to wait longer than quarterback Tanner Lee, who went No. 203 overall last year.
That streak is over now.
Over the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 254 players were picked. No Huskers.
Every team in the Big Ten except Nebraska and Purdue had at least one. North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Elon, Morgan State and several others of the Football Championship Subdivision and Division II outfits Sioux Falls, Tarleton State, Washburn and Charleston (West Virginia) each had a representative.
Two players went from Old Dominion, which had one draft pick previously in its history. Two running backs from Florida Atlantic alone. Two from the Omaha metro area. On and on and on.
But no Huskers.
It’s not so much an indictment on the players who hoped to be drafted this year — wide receiver Stanley Morgan, running back Devine Ozigbo, outside linebacker Luke Gifford and offensive lineman Tanner Farmer among them — but rather on the decline in the overall talent level at Nebraska in recent years.
“It was super surprising,” Gifford said. “It’s only going to serve us better and put a big, fat chip on your shoulder, that’s for sure. I know I can speak for myself, but I know Devine and Stanley especially, those guys are going to be working their tails off and they’re going to be fine.”
Until last year, no draft since 1963 had made it past 190 picks without a Husker. Then Lee slipped to 203. Then NU got shut out all together.
In the end, draft position only counts so much. Several of the draft-eligible Huskers will get chances in NFL camps and some of them might even make it. Whether that’s as a seventh-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent, there’s no real difference except for perhaps initial positioning.
But it’s still a novelty that won’t sit well with Nebraska fans if for no other reason than many people, including head coach Scott Frost, thought Morgan and Ozigbo at least deserved to get drafted.
“Stanley and Devine in particular, I would hope are draft picks and I think both guys have a chance to surprise people once they get into a pro town,” Frost said recently. “I think they both have a chance to make your mark.
“Sometimes when you’re not drafted in the first couple rounds, it’s just being in the right place at the right time, so you never know. I know both those two are talented enough to be capable of being good players.”