The Virginia Tech football team found some success in this year’s NFL Draft when it got to the later rounds on Saturday, with four former Hokies being drafted.
Tight end James Mitchell got the fun started in round five, going 177th overall to the Detroit Lions. The Fighting Gobbler prediction had him going 185 overall, so his final landing spot wasn’t too far off. Lions HC Dan Campbell is a defensive guy and we saw Detroit prioritizing that in this year’s draft, but the Mitchell pickup as well as Alabama’s Jameson Williams showed that they wanted to give Jared Goff some help on the offensive side as well.
Next was DE Amare Barno, who found a home in Carolina at 189th overall. The Fighting Gobbler prediction was a tad more optimistic with him projecting for pick 169 and it looks like he may have slipped a little because of his size. At 6’4, 245, he’s not quite the size of most starting defensive rushers. However, he’s got amazing speed. His 4.36 40-time was the fastest for a defensive lineman in a combine since 2003, and that made some teams take notice. Carolina was the most enticed. He could be a great sleeper pick for them.
Offensive lineman Luke Tenuta went next at 209, a pick by the Buffalo Bills. Our prediction here at Fighting Gobbler had him going undrafted but then quickly finding a team as a free agent, so it’s great fun that he’ll get to work for an organization with a fanbase like Bills Mafia.
The fourth and final pick was OG Lecitus Smith, who dropped way down from our prediction of pick 86 to a spot at 215, where he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. He may have to fight a little for playing time, but he could be a huge steal for the Cards if he brings those high-projected NFL skills to the field.
A few former Hokies found some contracts with teams as undrafted free agents: WR Tre Turner (Las Vegas Raiders), OL Brock Hoffman (Cleveland Browns), DL Jordan Williams (Miami Dolphins), WR Change Hodge (Arizona Cardinals), RB Raheem Blackshear (Buffalo Bills), K John Parker Romo (New Orleans Saints), and LS Oscar Shadley (New Orleans Saints) have all signed on the dotted line. CB Jermaine Waller is expected to sign with Detroit.