After three days, and 256 selections, three Ohio Valley Conference schools did something that schools like the University of Texas, the University of Illinois, and a few others couldn’t.
They had a player drafted.
After Jimmy Garoppolo was picked by the New England Patriots in the second round, former TSU standouts Kareem Edwards and Demetrius Rhaney, and Murray State running back Walter Powell were all selected on the final day of the NFL Draft.
Edwards was selected near the top of the fifth round (143th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Powell was added to the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth, (196th overall) while Rhaney was picked up by the St. Louis Rams. If you were watching television coverage of the draft, it’s highly likely Rhaney’s pick went unnoticed: he was picked right after Michael Sam, who has made headlines after announcing he gay earlier this year.
It wasn’t all good news for Tennessee State: A.C. Leonard, who had the fastest 40-time and longest broad jump of any tight end at the combine, went unselected, although he’ll almost certainly be picked up as a free-agent for a team’s training camp. Even so, TSU’s two selections are the first time a single OVC team had multiple picks in the same draft since 2000, when former Tigers Michael Thompson and Avion Black were drafted.
It’s the second straight year multiple players from the OVC were selected in the NFL Draft. Last season, UT Martin’s Montori Hughes and Jacksonville State’s Alan Bonner were selected on the third day. The conference’s four selection in a single draft is the most since 1996, and tied for the most in the modern draft era.