Friday, May 01, 2015

Brushing up on Connecticut's NFL Draft history

When Byron Jones was taken by Dallas with the 27th pick in the first round, he became the second UConn player selected in the first round as well as the first Connecticut native to go in the first round since 2002.

Out of curiosity I looked back at how the other players who were the top state natives to get taken in the draft. It is a mixed bag to say the least.

Dwight Freeney, the 11th overall draft pick in 2002, is in the top 20 on the NFL's career sacks list while Matt Shaughnessy has started 38 of the 43 games he has played in over the last four seasons.

John Moffitt walked away on his own terms after appearing in 15 games over three seasons while injuries have limited former UConn offensive lineman Donald Thomas to two games over the last two seasons. Former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky started 12 games during the 2008 and 2011 seasons but threw a total of 24 passes in the other five seasons he was in the league.

Amari Spievey made an impact in his first two seasons in Detroit, Bobby Myers returned a fumble for a touchdown for Tennessee in 2001 but managed just 12 sacks in 18 career games, Andrew Pinnock carried the ball 18 times in five seasons with the San Diego Chargers while the jury is still out on John Jenkins and Khairi Fortt.

It should be noted that I did not include former state high school football stars Vladimir Ducasse, John Sullivan and Chukky Okobi because they weren't born in Connecticut. The story is the same with former UConn star Sio Moore, who was born in Liberia.

2015; Byron Jones 1-27 Dallas
2014: Khairi Fortt 4-126 New Orleans
2013: John Jenkins 3-82 New Orleans
2012: none
2011: John Moffitt 3-75 Seattle
2010: Amari Spievey 3-66 (Stamford High's Vladimir Ducasse, who was taken with the 61st overall pick, was born in Haiti)
2009: Matt Shaughnessy 3-71 (Terrance Knighton taken by Jacksonville with next pick)
2008: Donald Thomas 6-195 Miami (John Sullivan, who was taken with 187th pick, was born in Mount Kisco, N.Y.)
2007: none
2006: none
2005: Dan Orlovsky 5-145 Detroit
2004: none
2003: Andrew Pinnock 7-229 San Diego
2002: Dwight Freeney 1-11 Indianapolis
2001: none (Hamden's Chukky Okobi, who was taken with the 146th pick, was born in Pittsburgh)
2000: Bobby Myers 4-124 Tennessee


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