C-USA could have 10 drafted
Nobody from Marshall heard their name called Thursday night during the first round of the NFL Draft.
That comes as no surprise.
After all, it has been 15 years since it happened. In the 2003 NFL Draft, Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 7 pick of the first round.
No Marshall player has ever been selected higher.
In fact, the Thundering Herd’s football program has only two other first-round picks in modern history.
In 1998, Marshall star wide receiver Randy Moss went to the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 21 pick of the first round. Then, two years later, the New York Jets selected Marshall star quarterback Chad Pennington with the No. 18 pick of the first round.
Just those three.
And, to be honest, there aren’t any others on the horizon. It simply isn’t an easy feat to accomplish in the current state of Conference USA.
UTSA’s Marcus Davenport was the exception in the 2018 NFL Draft, as the 6-foot-6, 264-pound defensive end was the No. 14 pick by New Orleans. Why, the Saints even traded up to get him.
Marshall got a taste of Davenport’s talent during a 9-7 loss to the Roadrunners late in the 2017 season in San Antonio. The uber-athletic defensive end had four tackles, including two solo stops and a tackle for loss (four yards).
There were some other C-USA players selected Friday and more are expected Saturday.
Heading the list is UTEP’s nasty offensive guard Will Hernandez, who was projected as a first-round selection in both the CBSSports.com and DraftSite mock drafts.
The CBSSports.com mock draft has Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White going in the fourth round to Detroit. Next, Southern Miss free safety Tarvarius Moore to the Bears in the fifth round.
Then, Southern Miss running back Ito Smith to Tennessee and Western Kentucky linebacker Joe Iyiebunwue to the Saints in the sixth round. And, finally, Middle Tennessee wideout Richie James to Pittsburgh in the seventh round.
Marshall quarterback Chase Litton was not projected as a draft choice.
But two other mock drafts did include the former Herd quarterback. DraftSite had Litton going to Washington in the fourth round. Then, DraftTek projected Litton as a sixth-round choice by his hometown Tampa Bay Bucs.
DraftSite also had WKU’s White going to Atlanta in the third round and Southern Miss wide receiver Korey Robertson as a seventh-round selection by Seattle.
DraftTek, which is a computer generated mock draft, was very interesting. It had Southern Miss’ Ito Smith going in the third round to Minnesota, then Western Kentucky’s White following in the fourth round to Denver.
Next, Southern Miss’ Moore was projected as a fifth-round selection by Denver; UTSA cornerback Devron Davis went to Miami in the seventh round; and Middle Tennessee’s James also went in the seventh round to Carolina.
All in all, 10 C-USA players were projected as draft choices in the 2018 NFL Draft.
And, yes, at least one came from Marshall.
But don’t be surprised if one of the most coveted free agents also hails from Marshall. Moments after Mr. Irrelevant is chosen, punter-kicker Kaare Vedvik’s cell phone is expected to ring with offers.
“I’ll be in Dallas,” Vedvik said. “That’s where I have been working out. It has been crazy all the attention I’ve been getting.”
Here’s hoping for Vedvik and Litton.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com.