And then there were four. On Monday, April 2nd in San Antonio, Loyola Chicago, Michigan, Kansas or Villanova will etch their name into history. But the NCAA Championship game isn’t the only spectacle occurring in the State of Texas next month. Roughly 400 miles from the Alamodome is AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and next month’s NFL Draft, April 26-28.
Cornerback Isaiah Oliver is just the ninth different Colorado Buffaloes player to declare for the NFL Draft following his junior season. The only Buff to participate in this year’s NFL scouting combine, Oliver is a potential first-round pick. But he’s not the only Buff hoping to be selected. Here’s a look at four Colorado Buffaloes that could hear their names called in Arlington, TX and what teams they might be playing for this fall.
ISAIAH OLIVER, CB
PROJECTION: 2nd Round, Denver Broncos (40th overall)
While Oliver has a chance to be the first Colorado Buffaloes player selected in the first round since 2011, I don’t see it happening. The New England Patriots would’ve been a good fit with the second to last pick in the first round, but that was before they traded left tackle – and former CU great – Nate Solder to the New York Giants. Expect the Patriots to take an offensive tackle in the first round. Oliver will most likely fall to the Broncos in round two who need to find a replacement for Aqib Talib who they traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
AFOLABI LAGUDA, S
PROJECTION: 7th Round, Houston Texans (222nd overall)
Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to wait until day three before another Buffaloes player gets selected. Look for the next Buff off the board to be Afolabi Laguda. Although the Houston Texans recently signed a one-year deal with the “honey badger,” Tyrann Mathieu, they could use added depth in the secondary. Even without a first or second round pick, the Texans have a total of eight picks in next month’s draft. Look for them to use their last one on Laguda.
JEROMY IRWIN, OT
PROJECTION: 7th Round, Oakland Raiders (228th overall)
The Oakland Raiders are going to be busy next month with a total of 11 draft picks. Donald Penn turns 35 on day two of the draft – April 27 – so finding a left tackle of the future should be among the priorities for new head coach Jon Gruden. While the Raiders may take a tackle with one of their earlier selections, I still like them to land Irwin – who made 36 starts at left tackle during his career at CU - with their final pick.
PHILLIP LINDSAY, RB
PROJECTION: 7th Round, Atlanta Falcons (256th overall pick)
Since 1976, Mr. Irrelevant has been the moniker given to the final pick in the NFL Draft. The Colorado Buffaloes have produced two such picks, the last being quarterback Randy Essington in the 1984 NFL Draft. Phillip Lindsay is anything but irrelevant, but I’m still projecting Lindsay will become the third Mr. Irrelevant in Colorado Buffaloes history after he’s taken by the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to the 2017 season, the Falcons locked up their starting running back Devonta Freeman to a five-year, $41.25 Million extension. Back-up Tevin Coleman however is entering his final year of a four-year deal with Atlanta. Couple that with the fact that the Falcons are reportedly working on a contract extension with quarterback Matt Ryan, and it’s unlikely they re-sign Coleman. Even theFalcoholic.com - an SBNation.com Atlanta Falcons blog – think the former Indiana Hoosiers star will be playing elsewhere in 2019. (link to https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2018/3/5/17056826/falcons-true-or-false-tevin-coleman-will-be-in-atlanta-in-2019 ) With that said, I like Lindsay, the 2017 Buffalo Heart Award winner, to slide into that number two role in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.
BRYCE BOBO, SHAY FIELDS JR., DEVIN ROSS, WR
PROJECTION: Undrafted Free Agents
This talented trio of ‘Blackout Boyz’ may not hear their names called next month, but I expect all three to sign as undrafted free agents. If given the chance, Bobo, Fields and Ross each have the potential to make an NFL roster.