NFL draft missing area flavor again
A week from today is the annual NFL draft.
And has been the case in recent years, the mid-Mon Valley won’t be a contributor to the pro football ranks.
There’s not one former area high school gridder who’s expected to be among the 262 college players selected in the 68th annual draft next weekend.
Would you believe its been nine years since the area had a player pickedâ¢ He was Ringgold High’s Anthony Peterson, who played linebacker at Notre Dame. Peterson was No. 153 getting selected in the fifth round by San Francisco.
The only other area player drafted in the 1990s was another Ringgold graduate, Scott Zolak.
Zolak, a quarterback at Maryland, went 84th to New England and was the first player picked in the fourth round in 1991.
In the 1980s, only four area products were drafted and two were from Belle Vernon Area.
Bill Contz, an offensive lineman at Penn State, became the first draftee in the Leps’ history when Cleveland made him No. 122 as a fifth rounder in 1983.
Two years later, Marlon Mcintyre – a running back at Pitt – was No. 218 as the Los Angeles Rams’ eight round choice.
Despite being an All-American pass receiver at Pitt and one of Dan Marino’s favorite targets, Monessen’s Julius Dawkins had to wait for Buffalo to name him in the 12th round or at No. 320.
Dawkins was the ninth and last player from Pitt picked in 1983. Marino, offensive tackle Jimbo Covert by Chicago and defensive back Tim Lewis by Green Bay were Panthers’ first rounders that season.
The other Pitt players drafted in ’83 were running back Bryan Thomas in the fifth round by Green Bay, nose tackle Dave Puzzuoli by Cleveland and guard Ron Sams by Green Bay in the sixth round, linebacker Rich Kraynak by Philadelphia in the eighth round and guard Rob Fada by Chicago in the ninth round.
Elizabeth Forward’s Greg Paterra, a running back at Slippery Rock, was Atlanta’s 11th round draft pick in 1989.
The area has had some high draft picks.
Monessen’s Bill Malinchak (Detroit in 1966) and Doug Crusan (Miami in 1968) were first rounders with Charleroi’s Myron Pottios (Pittsburgh in 1961) a second rounder and Monongahela’s Joe Montana (San Francisco in 1979) a third rounder.
Speaking of the draft, rounds one through three will be held Saturday and start at noon. There’s a 15 minute time limit for teams in the opening round with a 10 minute time limit in the second round. For the third through seventh rounds, teams have five minutes to make their pick.
ESPN will televise the entire draft, going until 10 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Among area colleges, Penn State will top the prospective draft list followed by West Virginia and Pitt.
Penn State’s best bets include running back Larry Johnson, wide receiver Bryant Johnson, guards Gus Felder and Tyler Lenda, center Joe Iorio, defensive tackles Jimmy Kennedy and Anthony Adams, defensive end Michael Haynes and strong safety Bryan Scott.
West Virginia’s hopefuls are running back Avon Cobourne, offensive tackle Lance Nimmo, defensive tackle David Upchurch, inside linebacker Grant Wiley and strong safety James Davis with Pitt possibilities being inside linebacker Gerald Hayes, cornerback Torrie Cox, wide receiver Lamar Slade and guard Bryan Anderson.
In case you’re wondering, no California University player has ever been drafted.