Three former Hokies were selected in the NFL draft this past weekend, as a pair of NFC East teams scooped up David Wilson, Jayron Hosley and Danny Coale.
Strangely enough, the Washington Redskins, who have traditionally picked up many former Tech players, didn’t get in on the action. Instead, the New York Giants took Wilson and Hosley, while the Dallas Cowboys went after Coale.
Wilson was selected with the 32nd — the final pick of the first round — and his selection was certainly one of the most surprising of the entire opening night.
Many draft projections placed Wilson squarely in the second round, with some even predicting the Giants would take him with the final pick of that round instead.
But some wild trades changed the landscape of the first round.
With the new rookie wage scale in place, teams were clearly less fearful of trading up to go after the players they wanted. When Tampa Bay traded up to the 31st spot to grab coveted Boise State running back Doug Martin, New York was forced to move quickly, and proceeded to grab Wilson as the round ended.
Wilson became the ninth Hokie selected in the first round, and the first since OT Duane Brown in 2008.
The defending Super Bowl champions should certainly be able to utilize Wilson’s talents early on. The Giants recently released bruising runner Brandon Jacobs, and Wilson should find himself as a prominent part of a platoon alongside starter Ahmad Bradshaw.
Hosley will also have no trouble finding playing time early with New York. After questions arose about the cornerback’s character when it was reported that he failed a drug test at the combine, the Giants surprised some observers by taking him with the 31st pick in the third round to bolster their secondary.
Although New York will return key players like Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster, it lost veterans Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross this offseason, so Hosley should be able to compete for playing time quickly.
Coale may have been drafted the lowest of any Hokie, but his impact on his new team should be similarly significant. Dallas took Coale with the 17th pick in the fifth round to provide another weapon for quarterback Tony Romo.
While the Cowboys may have some potent starters in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, the team has struggled without a reliable slot receiver since losing Laurent Robinson, and it believes Coale could fill that void.
Several other former Hokies were also able to latch on with teams as undrafted free agents.
Safety Eddie Whitley will join Coale in Dallas, while his secondary mate Cris Hill is headed to Buffalo.
Guard Blake DeChristopher was signed by Arizona, wide receiver Jarrett Boykin was picked up by Jacksonville and guard Jaymes Brooks latched on with Green Bay.
Although they weren’t drafted, the future still seems bright for several of these players given their new situations.
Whitley joins a Cowboys secondary currently in shambles, and while it was expected to add safety help by taking Alabama’s Mark Barron, he could be in the position to bring some youth to the position.
Additionally, the Jaguars made a splash by desperately pursuing Justin Blackmon for receiver help, and Boykin could certainly use his skills as a possession receiver to make an impression at a position of need for the team.
No matter where they were drafted, or who drafted them, every Hokie is surely glad to move to the next level, and will look to continue Tech’s tradition of grooming successful professional players.