The 2011 NFL Draft will go down as a very successful one for the Colorado Buffaloes and rightfully so. The theme of the three day event should be the fortunate situations each of the drafted Buffs are now a part of. Starting with OT Nate Solder who was drafted to arguably the most successful team of the past decade in the New England Patriots with the 17th overall pick. He will have responsibility to protect one of the best quarterbacks to ever play and learn from one of the best coaches to ever coach. We all know Solder will be a guy to push himself to get better from a technique standpoint. He will be a good player in the NFL.
It all ended well for CB Jimmy Smith as well. After getting battered for a good month and a half for off the field issues early in his college career , Smith got the last laugh and validation of his talents by going in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will demand the best out of Jimmy with their success on the field and leadership off of it. And when Jimmy gives his best, he is darn good. I expect in a few years when they re-mock draft this class of picks, Smith will be one of the guys people suggest should have been drafted earlier than 27th to the Ravens.
Today, CB Jalil Brown was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round. Brown's physical and aggresive play will certainly give him more than an ample shot to be a productive NFL player. The Chiefs had a very good year last season and they certainly look to have a bright future.
And finally in the seventh round, the New York Jets selected WR Scotty McKnight. McKnight will join his best friend and current Jet QB Mark Sanchez in the Big Apple playing along side WR Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. The Jets also selected TCU WR Jeremy Kerley in the fifth round. The Jets have a lot of weapons but there is always a place in an offense for a player with great hands who is not afraid to go across the middle like Scotty McKnight. McKnight set a ton of records at CU. He finished first in receptions (215) and receiving touchdowns (22). He was third in all-time receiving yards (2,521; just 27 behind Michael Westbrook and 19 out of second). He became the 10th player in NCAA history to catch at least one pass in every game he appeared in. He is a very dependable receiver. McKnight was always a great part of the Colorado program even with the lack of success over his stay.
Mark Sanchez threw for Scotty McKnight at his pro day where the receiver showed his best stuff. He didn't drop a ball and dismissed the notion that he was too slow. McKnight ran a very speedy 4.46 and 4.48 in the 40-yard dash.
Four total draft picks, two in the first round, is great exposure for the Colorado Buffaloes and hopefully the program can use this sort of day to bring back the prestige. You have to feel extremely happy for the four players drafted that were part of the Dan Hawkins era. These guys went through a lot during their stay at Colorado with limited success on the field. They made the best of the situation and now are NFL players.
Congratulations to Nate, Jimmy, Jalil and Scotty.