News With Commentary by TSL Staff
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Record Eight Hokies Selected in NFL Draft
In the two-day NFL draft over the weekend, a record eight Hokies were selected by NFL teams, shattering the old record of five.
Leading the way was wide receiver Andre Davis, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 15th pick of the second round, 47th overall. Davis was joined in Cleveland two rounds later by Ben Taylor, who was the 13th pick of the fourth round (111th overall).
Ironically, Cleveland is coached by former Miami Hurricanes coach Butch Davis, who is familiar with both Davis and Taylor from having coached against them in some classic Tech-Miami matchups.
As the second day of the draft wore on, Hokies were selected in droves, with many of the Tech players who were picked -- and not picked -- coming as surprises. Davis and Taylor were joined by Kevin McCadam, David Pugh, Bob Slowikowski, Chad Beasley, Derrius Monroe and Jarrett Ferguson:
The total of eight Hokies taken far exceeds the old record of five set in 1955, 1985, 1992, and 2000. The record of four players taken in the first five rounds, set in 2000) was not broken, though. In 2000, John Engelberger and Ike Charlton went in Round 2, Corey Moore in Round 3, and Anthony Midget in Round 5.
The eight Hokies taken tied for third-most taken from one team, with Ohio State, Florida, and Georgia. Tennessee had ten players drafted, and Miami had the most with eleven.
Andre Davis was quoted on ClevelandBrowns.com as saying, "I feel that I have the skills to be a starter on the NFL level. Like most rookies, you always have stuff that you have to learn. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can as soon as possible to make sure that I can help this team win some games.”
Taylor, one of six Hokies selected on day two of the draft, told Fred Greetham of ClevelandBrowns.com, “Coming from Ohio, playing for the Browns is something you dream about,” Taylor said. “It’s a pleasure to be there.”
Notable by their absence are Jake Houseright and Emmett Johnson. Houseright was a long shot to be drafted, with his injury history and a 4.85 forty time (as listed by ESPN.com). Johnson was an average receiver in his four years at Tech, often slowed by injury, but he had done some impressive physical testing at the NFL combine and was hoping to ride that to a draft selection. It didn't happen.
Slowikowski, Pugh, and especially Ferguson were also long shots to be selected in the draft, and they were fortunate to have their numbers called. Slowikowski, McCadam, and Ferguson were so lowly regarded that many web sites and draft services, including ESPN.com, didn't have draft profiles on them, and ESPN.com even misspelled McCadam's name as McCadem.
Like Johnson, McCadam made a name for himself in draft circles with good strength and speed testing numbers. Teams that took a look at him were impressed, and it paid off in a fifth-round selection by the Falcons, where he'll join former Hokie teammates Michael Vick, Dave Kadela, and Keion Carpenter.
"He played free safety (at Virginia Tech) and then this past year played a strong safety position and so he has played both," Falcons Coach Dan Reeves said in his post-draft comments on AtlantaFalcons.com. We feel like he can come in here in a position that we really need (help in). He’s got the size that you are looking for. He is a really good tackler and has played enough man-to-man that we felt like he had an honest chance to be a contender at the safety position. We felt like he was a really good pick."
Of David Pugh, Colts President Bill Polian said, "Pugh is a solid, workmanlike blue-collar player. He fits the (Colts') system perfectly. He'll come in and he'll play very well. We would have been perfectly happy taking him on the first day." Pugh was one of six consecutive defensive players selected by the Colts, including Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney.
Minnesota head coach Mike Tice sounded as if the Vikings went with Chad Beasley in the draft because some free agent efforts failed. "It was unfortunate that we didn’t get one of the other players we wanted because we weren’t able to close the deal in free agency," Tice told Vikings.com "Beasley is a player that is a big guy that goes into that self-starter category where he is a hard worker. He’s not really a nose, but he’s a guy that works hard. He’s a great effort guy. He comes from a great program at Virginia Tech so we were happy to add him to the mix."
Meanwhile, for Derris Monroe, his selection in the draft by the New Orleans Saints ends a long, difficult road. Monroe entered Tech as a partial qualifier in 1997, which meant that he sacrificed his freshman eligibility and would only have three years of playing time.
He played sparingly in 1998 and 1999 before pleading guilty August 4, 2000 to felony cocaine possession, a reduced charge from an original charge of cocaine distribution.
Monroe was put on probation, had to perform 100 hours of community service, underwent substance-abuse assessment, and had to stay alcohol and drug free. He was suspended from the team for the 2000 season, and during that year, met all conditions of his probation. He was released from his probation a year earlier than scheduled in 2001, and the charges and his guilty plea were wiped from his record.
Monroe was reinstated to the Tech football team in a controversial decision by Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Because he had graduated from Tech within four years, Monroe received an additional year of eligibility (per NCAA rules) and played during the 2001 season. He appeared in ten games, played 241 snaps from scrimmage, and logged 44 tackles, one sack, and 11 QB hurries.
The 2001 Hokies will not go down in history as one of the most talented Hokie football teams ever, but they easily produced the highest number of draft picks ever for a Hokie football team that has now had 41 draft picks since 1990.
Around the Big East on Draft Day
The Big East totaled 27 players drafted on Saturday and Sunday, including an amazing 11 by the national champion Miami Hurricanes. Tech and Miami together accounted for 19 of the 27 Big East players drafted, with no other Big East school having more than three players drafted.
Miami's 11 players included an eye-popping five in the first round: OT Bryant McKinnie, TE Jeremy Shockey, CB Philip Buchanon, S Edward Reed, and CB Mike Rumph were all selected in Round 1, with RB Clinton Portis going in Round 2.
Here's the breakdown of Big East players selected, and in what round:
Led by the Canes, the Big East had eight players selected in the first round -- that's one out of every four first-round selections, tops among the six BCS conferences. Here's how the first round broke down, by conference, with non-BCS conferences grouped as "Other."
Here's how the total number of players and players per team breaks down per BCS conference, sorted by players drafted per team:
All in all, a great draft day for the Hokies, the Hurricanes, and the Big East.