USD connections in NFL Draft

On Sunday, the final day of the NFL Draft, a trio of players who had success against the University of South Dakota in recent years were taken by various teams.

I hope I’m not reaching here, but still, the connections are interesting. Here are the picks.

Ramses Barden (Cal Poly)

The 6-foot-6, 229-pound wide receiver was taken in the 3rd round by the New York Giants. The Giants actually traded up six spots to nab the All-American, who has drawn comparions (physically) to Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens.

Cal Poly — which, like USD, is a member of the Great West Conference — defeated USD 49-22 last fall. In that game, Barden caught five passes with three touchdowns.

— — —

Zach Miller (Nebraska-Omaha)

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end (a converted quarterback) was drafted by the Jacksonsville Jaguars in the 6th round (180 overall).

Miller’s NFL draft stock sky-rocketed after his performance in the Division II All-Star Game, the Cactus Bowl. Switching over to tight end, he caught five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in that game.

As a senior at Nebraska-Omaha (which last played USD in 2007, a game I covered in Omaha), Miller passed for 1,508 yards and ran for 1,061 more. A pretty impressive feat for a quarterback.

— — —

Keith Null (West Texas A&M)

OK, this pick even had me shaking my head. Totally didn’t see this one coming. The St. Louis Rams drafted the quarterback in the 6th round (196 overall).

Null didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine, was brought in for a visit by only one NFL team (Carolina), and played in a Texas Tech-type offense — read: Pass 95 percent of the time.

With Null leading the high-powered offense, West Texas A&M defeated USD 55-45 in the 2007 season opener. But as a senior in 2008, Null passed for 5,097 yards and 48 touchdowns.


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