Local players get call in NFL draft
Even though an ankle injury that required surgery prevented former Wheaton-Warrenville South wide receiver Corey Davis from working out prior to the draft, he was the fifth player selected in the first round Thursday night.
Davis led a long list of local players chosen in the three-day selection meeting in Philadelphia.
After a record-setting run at Western Michigan (5,285 career receiving yards), Davis was a first-round lock, but no one expected him to go to the Tennessee Titans so early. He will have an excellent opportunity to contribute from Day One as a much-needed weapon for young quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The next local player off the board was Lemont's Ethan Pocic, who went to the Seattle Seahawks late in Round 2 (58th overall) after four years as a versatile starter at LSU. The 6-foot-6 Pocic saw most of his action at center, but he could project to tackle in the NFL, especially considering the Seahawks' lack of talent there.
Illinois edge rusher Dawuane Smoot was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars at the top of Round 3 (68th overall), and Indiana guard Dan Feeney, a Sandburg High School product went three picks later to the Los Angeles Chargers.
NIU's big wide receiver Kenny Golladay was taken by the Detroit Lions late in the third round with the 96th overall pick. The 6-foot-4 Golladay posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons after transferring to NIU from North Dakota.
Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, who won a state football title at Montini High School in Lombard, went to the Minnesota Vikings with the second pick in Round 4 (109th overall).
Another defensive lineman with local connections, Marmion (Aurora) Academy's Ryan Glasgow was drafted later in Round 4 (138th overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals. Glasgow began his career at Michigan as a walk-on but became a team leader.
Although Arizona State's Zane Gonzalez was rated by many as the top kicker in the draft, Lyons Township product Jake Elliott of Memphis was picked two rounds earlier.
Elliott, who was perfect on all 202 of his extra-point attempts as a four-year starter, went to the Bengals in the fifth round (153rd overall). Nearly 75 percent of Elliott's kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. He connected on 81 of 104 field-goal attempts (77.9 percent) and had at least one of 50 yards or longer in each of his four seasons.
Eight picks after Elliott's selection, the Indianapolis Colts added Northwestern inside linebacker Anthony Walker to their defensive rebuild.
Hoffman Estates tight end Eric Saubert went to the Atlanta Falcons late in the fifth round (174th overall) after a record-setting, four-year career at Drake, where he caught 55 balls in each of his last two seasons while scoring 17 touchdowns.
He and the Falcons' third-round tight end pick in 2016, Austin Hooper, could eventually give the Falcons an impressive pass-catching duo.
Northwestern edge rusher Ifeadi Odenhigbo was the second pick in Round Seven, when the Minnesota Vikings took him with the 228th overall pick. Odenhigbo never lived up to expectations at Northwestern but has the physical traits to contribute early on as a situational pass rusher.
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