Toledo’s Kareem Hunt runs in the Boca Raton Bowl against Temple last season. He is expected to be drafted first among Rockets seniors at the NFL draft, which starts today. ASSOCIATED PRESS
The University of Toledo football team has not had a player selected in the NFL draft since 2008.
For the first time since offensive lineman John Greco was picked in the third round and running back Jalen Parmele went in the sixth round, that is poised to change.
Since 2008, UT players such as Barry Church and Jayrone Elliott have carved out roles in the NFL after entering the league as undrafted free agents.
But as many as four players from this class of graduating seniors could hear their name called during the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia.
That group is led by the Rockets’ all-time leading rusher Kareem Hunt, who is projected to be a second or third-day pick. Hunt racked up 4,945 rushing yards in his career and was named the MVP of the North team at the Senior Bowl after a 118-yard performance. He is considered one of the top senior running backs in this year’s draft.
Tight end Michael Roberts had a breakout senior season in which he caught a school-record 16 touchdown passes. Roberts finished the season with 45 catches for 533 yards and was a first-team All-America pick by the Football Writers Association of America. In what is considered a deep tight end class, Roberts is projected in the middle rounds.
Defensive tackle Treyvon Hester had 39 tackles this season, including eight tackles for loss. He also recorded five sacks. Hester, who missed the end of last season with a shoulder injury, projects as a possible late-round selection.
Storm Norton hopes to be the fourth UT player drafted. Norton, a Whitmer product, was a two-time first-team all-Mid-American Conference performer at left tackle. He is a possible late-round pick.
What they are saying:
“Hunt is a well-rounded player who was highly productive in college. He’s one of the most elusive running backs in the draft class. Hunt’s balance stands out from the pack and is at his best when in the open field. His skill set fits best in a zone-heavy offense, but can run any concepts.” — Pro Football Focus
“Roberts may be limited athletically, but his big body and run-blocking ability have a place in the league. He knows how to use his body to create just enough of a window to move the chains and become a strong red-zone option while providing strong run-blocking at the point of attack.” — Pro Football Focus
“Few elements of Hester’s game are particularly compelling. He has the physical attributes but doesn’t always use his size and length to his advantage. … However, he’s a solid run defender with reasonable pass-rush ability and he should be a part of a defensive line rotation at the next level.” — Pro Football Focus
“Towering tackle who operates with adequate body control and balance in both run and pass blocking. Norton gets the most out of his length, but also has the same leverage and anchor issues that almost all tall tackles have. He hasn’t faced premier pass rushers or power ends in his conference.” — NFL.com
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