While it wasn't the record number of six from 2009, or even the five that was selected in 1997, the four Bearcats chosen in the NFL draft should've caused broad smiles among UC football fans.
UC hasn't had a No. 1 pick since Bob Bell in 1971 and Greg Cook in 1969 before that, but two second-round picks is very impressive.
If you spent the recent days under a rock or in quarantine, Derek Wolfe was chosen in the second round by the Broncos and Isaiah Pead in round two by the Rams. Both were standout Bearcats. Pead was more noticeable by his explosive runs, but Wolfe was a constant thorn in the side of opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks.
(Derek Wolfe on the prowl)
To put getting drafted in round two in perspective, your most recent round two picks from UC were Alex Gordon, Artrell Hawkins and Connor Barwin. All three had (or in Barwin's case) or are having extensive NFL careers.
In round three, defensive lineman John Hughes went to the Browns. Hughes was a consistent performer, but may have been the most quiet third-round pick ever around here.
That's quiet, as in workmanlike. While Hughes might not have had the publicity of other UC players, rest assured the opposition knew where he was.
Even being drafted in round three is pretty significant. Your recent UC round three picks were Antwan Peek and Brad Jackson. Again, if you look up their NFL resumes, they had respectable NFL careers. In Jackson's case, he sports a Super Bowl ring.
Finally, in round four, the Super Bowl champion Giants picked tight end Adrien Robinson. Robinson had some incredible plays at UC, but will be getting his bonus money based on his unique build and the great word, "potential".
Robinson's combination of speed, power and wingspan is what pro and college coaches covet. While he actually caught significantly more passes, he reminds me of one-time UC basketball player, turned NFL tight end Rod Monroe. Their physiques are similar.
In Monroe's case, he bounced around a few teams and made it to a Super Bowl with the Falcons.
Of course, Wolfe, Pead, Hughes and Robinson will all have to make it on their own merit, but the odds and probability of success appear to be pretty good.
Beyond the four Bearcats picked, I think JK Schaffer is a sleeper for somebody that bothers to look at UC video and notices No. 37 seemingly around every play. Schaffer has signed with the Jaguars.
And, call me crazy (there's a long line who have), but I think in the right situation Zach Collaros can have pro success. He'll get knocked for some of the same reasons every other so-called "small" quarterback does, but with healthy with a solid line and good receivers, Collaros can heave it.
At UC's Pro Day, he zinged bullets to current Bengals Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton. He also has great play-making ability. In the NFL, the trend is the cookie-cutter 6-5 dude who stands back and throws, but there's been a long history of success with guys named Brees, Tarkenton, etc. that weren't necessarily giants, but made giant plays.
Naturally, there's no guaranteed accuracy in any of my prognostications, other than my own two eyes and ears that have witnessed Bearcat football and NFL drafts up closer than most for better than 20 years.
Agree or disagree, you have to admit, it's kind of fun to watch ESPN and hear the likes of Chris Berman and Jon Gruden speak of your school in such glowing terms.
Plus, it's a chance to buy more NFL jerseys with your UC favorites' names on them.