Three Fiesta Bowl wins, multiple conference championships, and years of top-25 rankings has elevated the Boise State football program to national prominence.
NFL teams are starting to take notice.
21 former Boise State players are currently on NFL rosters and that’s not counting a handful that could see invites to camps before the season starts in three months.
Not only are the former Broncos making teams, they are earning starting jobs and becoming Super Bowl winners. Matt Paradis–who by now we can all recite his storied narrative–capped off a Super Bowl winning season with a recent visit to the White House.
In fact, Paradis is one of six former Broncos to have won a Super Bowl Ring in the last 15 years, joining Jeron Johnson, Daryn Colledge, Korey Hall, Ryan Clady and Kimo Von Oelhoffen.
Boise State may never have the number of players in the NFL like an Alabama or Florida State, but for a school that hasn’t been playing at the highest level of college football for even thirty years, the recognition of the talent coming from Boise State by the NFL is encouraging.
The trend did not stop for the 2016 NFL draft as three players were drafted and five more were invited to mini-camps. Even better, a couple of familiar faces are picking up right where they left off in their college days.
Both Darian Thompson, drafted in the second-round, and Donte Deayon, a free-agent signee, are in camp with the New York Giants. And both have had more than one shining moment, including this play by Deayon.
— New York Giants (@Giants) June 6, 2016
Many of the former Boise State players will be trying their luck with new teams this season and, in most cases, a change of scenery will be good for them.
Jamar Taylor was traded to the Cleveland Browns during the draft. This might be a step backwards as far as talented teams go but individually, Taylor will have a chance to earn a starting position. Injuries derailed the start of his career with the Miami Dolphins, but it seems the coaching staff gave up on him towards the end of last season. Taylor was healthy the last few games, but did not see the field.
Clady (Denver to New York Jets) and Shea McClellin (Chicago Bears to New England Patriots) also find themselves in new cities.
The Dallas Bronc–er–Cowboys house four former Boise State players alone, three of which will be counted on to inspire the defensive side of the ball. Orlando Scandrick is coming back from missing the entire season, while Demarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford hope to build off very promising seasons. (Lawrence had eight sacks last season, but will miss the first four games due to suspension.
Then there’s that skinny kid who throws with the wrong hand that will never make it in the NFL. Some guy named Kellen something. He’s entrenched himself as the backup quarterback to Tony Romo. After years of hard work, patience, and dedication, Kellen Moore is finally being given the chance to stick around.
And of course, we can’t forget about Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The running back bounced back from two injury-ravaged seasons to become the league’s second-leading rusher, earning a new contract and motivation to continue to improve.
George Iloka, an important cog on the Cincinnati Bengals defense, also signed a new contract as he continues remain in the conversation of the game’s best safeties.
The list goes on. And one that will hopefully continue to grow as the years go by. The Boise State football team continues to be on the national radar, whether it’s discussing a move to the Big 12 or being projected as a possible playoff buster. And when that translates to wins on the field and national exposure, it in turn gives way to playing on Sunday. A players dream. And a fan’s excuse to extend his football watching to Sunday. “But I can’t mow the lawn. Jay Ajayi is in the red zone…”
For a complete list of Boise State players on current rosters, jump on over here and scroll down.
For a complete list of former Boise State players that have ever been drafted or signed by NFL teams, head over to Pro Football Reference.
A SAMPLING OF MWC TEAMS w/PLAYERS IN NFL
- Fresno State (22)
- Utah State (17)
- Nevada (14)
- San Diego State (11)
- New Mexico (6)
- UNLV (3)
*Numbers subject to change