Boise State quarterback Eric Guthrie was selected in the 15th round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and went on to a successful career in the Canadian Football League. The Broncos’ Jim McMillan was drafted in the 14th round by the Detroit Lions in 1975 and went on to a prolific run as a high school coach. But since the NFL Draft was reduced to seven rounds 25 years ago, no Boise State QB has been picked. There have been undrafted free agents: Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jared Zabransky and Kellen Moore. And, of course, only Moore has taken an NFL snap. Now Brett Rypien anxiously awaits validation. It’ll probably be Saturday, but Rypien could and should be the Broncos’ first legit draft pick at quarterback.
In what amounts to final grades on quarterbacks in the draft, Chris Trapasso of CBSSports,com has Rypien ranked in the top seven in each of his skill set rankings, including No. 1 in Processing. “Rypien’s years of starting experience help him fly through his reads,” writes Trapasso. Meanwhile, Rypien and Alexander Mattison should continue Boise State’s strong new century showing in the NFL. The Broncos have had 34 players drafted since 2000, 15 of them in the first three rounds. There have been five first-round selections, including Leighton Vander Esch to Dallas a year ago. If either Rypien or Mattison is chosen, it’ll mark the 10th straight year the program has produced a draft pick.
ELLISS IN RARIFIED VANDAL AIR
Saturday could be a special day for Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss as he stands an excellent chance of being the first Vandal drafted in seven years. His profile at Draft Analyst.com tells you why: “Hard-working college pass rusher who can come out of a three-point stance and stand over tackle. Breaks down well, effectively uses his hands and nicely redirects to the action. Incredibly effective with his hands, shows the ability to bend off the edge and plays with balance and body control. Intense, gives effort and plays through the whistle. Gets his hands up and knocks away the pass if he cannot get to the passer. Elliss was a hard-working small-school defender who created a lot of disruption. He projects as a situational pass rusher at the next level and comes with a special-teams mentality.”
TWO PLAYMAKERS IN THE PLAYOFFS
A tip of the hat to the Idaho Steelheads’ gamers as they open the ECHL Mountain Division finals tonight at Tulsa. Man did they come through in the opening round against Utah. The Steelheads held the lead for just three minutes and 20 second in the entire series against the Grizzlies, but Henrik Samuelsson scored three straight game-tying goals in the third period during the stretch of four consecutive overtime victories, and Kyle Schempp netted two of the team’s four OT goals, including the first game and last game in West Valley City. This is the second straight season the Steelies have advanced past the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs after going three years without.
TEAM GOLF IN NEW ORLEANS
The Zurich Classic has been good to Troy Merritt the past two years. In 2017, the tournament switched to a team format, and Merritt and Robert Streb tied for 24th. Last year, the former Boise State standout and playing partner Brendon de Jonge tied for 10th. Merritt is paired with Streb again in this year’s event, but the duo didn’t even get on the course yesterday as persistent lightning kept more than half of the field from even teeing off.
NO MORE RED JACKETS FOR CRAIG NEAL
Not only will Steve Alford’s homecoming in Albuquerque wearing Nevada navy blue be awkward, so will Craig Neal’s. Alford and Neal are reunited, as the new Wolf Pack coach has reportedly hired his longtime New Mexico and Iowa assistant. Neal was on Alford’s Hawkeyes staff from 2004-07 before joining him with the Lobos. He succeeded Alford as UNM head coach when Alford left for UCLA. Neal, once affectionately called “Noodles” by New Mexico fans, was 27-7 in his first season, but things eroded from there. Neal became a polarizing figure and was fired in 2017 after posting a 76-52 overall record. He hasn’t been on a college staff since.
BRONCO SOFTBALL CHASING THE RAMS
It’s a pivotal weekend for the Boise State women’s softball team as the Broncos host Nevada in a three-game series at Dona Larsen Park. The Broncos are tied for third in the Mountain West with an 8-7 conference record. They trail league-leading Colorado State by 5½ games with nine to play. Boise State’s player to watch is Bradie Fillmore. The junior from Eagle hit just one home run in the Broncos’ first 19 games. Fillmore has hit eight homers in the last eight outings.
A WISH FOR ALLIE O
Boise State hosts its only home outdoor track and field meet of the season today and Saturday, the Border Clash at Dona Larsen Park. Also appearing will be College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon, Northwest Nazarene, Northwest Christian and Treasure Valley Community College. Because there’s no Division I competition, Bronco star Allie Ostrander won’t be running. I understand that. But it would be awesome if Boise State could arrange just one meet against Division I foes in the next year. Ostrander’s career will be gone before you know it. Local fans really appreciate the two-time national steeplechase champion and her stunning accomplishments, but they never get to watch her race. A meet featuring Ostrander would do immeasurable good for track and field at Boise State and in the Treasure Valley.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
April 26, 2013: Jamar Taylor becomes the seventh Boise State player to be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft in the Chris Petersen era when he’s taken with the 54th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins. Taylor, a three-year starter for the Broncos, led the team as a senior with four interceptions while being named first-team All-Mountain West. He also holds the Boise State record for longest interception return, a 100-yarder against Arizona State in the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl.
(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.)