We turn the page now on the NFL Draft, just like we did a year ago. Who out of Boise State might go in 2019? Will somebody come out of nowhere? Here’s another cut ‘n paste from the Scott Slant column of May 1, 2017: “At first glance, there’s one player on the current Bronco roster who’s a legit candidate in 2018, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. And as good as Wilson was last season, with 56 catches for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns, he’ll need a similar or better year as a senior to cement his status as an NFL Draft pick. There’s another player who could get in the conversation if he can get healthy again and return to his freshman-sophomore form. Jake Roh is a high-level tight end, but he’s undersized as an NFL guy at 6-3, 227 pounds.” Leighton Vander Esch wasn’t even a thought at that point.
On the surface, we can zero in on three seniors on defense and one on offense. The defenders’ list would start with Tyler Horton, the Broncos’ best cover corner who’s coming off a first-team All-Mountain West honor. There there’s defensive tackle David Moa, hoping to regain his sophomore form, and Jabril Frazier, hoping to stay on the roll he was on late last season and carried through spring football. You know who we’re talking about on offense: quarterback Brett Rypien, who will be a strong prospect if he continues doing the great things he does and eliminates the not-so-great things. Who else is on the roster to play the part of Vander Esch next year? Beats me. Let’s see what happens.
You don’t hear a lot of grousing about the Vander Esch pick in the Dallas media. Nor do you hear any shouts to the highest mountaintop. They see it as a business decision relating to linebacker Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys’ second-round pick two years ago. Here’s what Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News says: “Stephen Jones might hate me saying this, but the Cowboys felt like they had to take Vander Esch because Jaylon Smith’s simply not ready to be an every-down player. The Cowboys took a risk on Smith because he’d been an elite talent before his severe knee injury. He’ll be a productive guy for a few more years in the league, but he’s nothing close to a cornerstone. In Vander Esch, the Cowboys are hoping they have a healthier version of Sean Lee. He’s a bigger player who covers a lot of ground.”
Here’s another little nugget on the Dallas Cowboys’ draft history as it pertains to Boise State. The Broncos’ first pick ever in the top three rounds was in 1976, and he went to Dallas. Multi-faceted running back John Smith, however, never played for the Cowboys. Boise State’s first pick ever in the top six rounds came the year before, in 1975, and here’s one you’ll like. It was cornerback Rolly Woolsey who went to Dallas. Woolsey was from Grandview and, like Vander Esch, played eight-man football before becoming a Bronco. He was the first Boise State product ever to play in a Super Bowl and was on the field for the opening kickoff against Pittsburgh in 1976. A trend? Naw. After Smith, there wasn’t another Bronco drafted by Dallas until Orlando Scandrick in 2008.
Interestingly enough, as names have been bandied about as candidates to start at linebacker for Boise State, one of them has not been Breydon Boyd. With Boyd having left the team over the weekend—two weeks after spring football—the Broncos are full speed ahead with the guys they have. And the ‘backer group is inordinately strong. Boyd’s move may cast Benton Wickersham in an even more positive light. Wickersham seemed like a filler a year ago after Joe Martarano left for his baseball career. But the walk-on from Elko played in all 14 games last season and made 16 tackles. And now there’s a scholarship available…
The November ballot is set in San Diego—and therein lies the future home of the San Diego State football program. On one side is the SoccerCity proposal, one that’s been around for about a year, that would construct a soccer-first, football-second stadium on the site where the former Qualcomm Stadium now sits. On the other side is “SDSU West,” which would hand ownership of the land to the university and lead to a 35,000-seat facility at a price tag of about $250 million. San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker says the SDSU West stadium is designed for expansion to 55,000 to accommodate an NFL franchise. The issues, say skeptics: NFL clubs always control their own facilities, and the smallest current NFL stadium seats 60,000.
Former Boise State standout Anthony Drmic is making a comfortable living playing basketball in his homeland, and it is set to continue for two more years via a contract extension with the Adelaide 36ers. The Aussie has averaged 6.4 points per game in his first two seasons for the 36ers and was Rookie of the Year in Australia’s National Basketball League in 2016-17. Drmic was a Bronco from 2011-16 and amassed 1,942 career points, two short of Tanoka Beard’s career record.
Only one Idaho Steelhead has solved Colorado goaltender Joe Cannata in the ECHL Mountain Division Finals. That’s Max French, who scored twice in the third period in the Steelheads’ 6-2 loss in Game 2 Sunday night. To that point, Cannata had a shutout streak of 124:34 dating back to Game 6 of Colorado’s first-round series against Wichita. Unfortunately for the Steelies, multiple Eagles scored multiple goals on Philippe Desrosiers Sunday, JC Beaudin and Shawn St. Amant. Idaho’s goal has to be “déjà vu all over again” as it has another two games-to-none deficit to overcome in the playoffs with Game 3 on the horizon tomorrow night in CenturyLink Arena.
This Day In Sports…May 1, 1991:
Nolan Ryan pitches his major league record seventh career no-hitter as the Texas Rangers blank the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0. Ryan was working on four days’ rest at the age of 44. He was already the oldest pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter, having tossed one as a 43-year-old the previous June. As Sports Illustrated’s Steve Wulf wrote at the time, “Now Ryan has as many no-hitters as there are seas, heavens, wonders of the world, days of the week, sacraments, deadly sins and innings before you stretch.”
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)