Enough Waiting, the NFL Draft Begins Thursday

May 7, 2014

By Jason Clay

FRESNO, Calif. - On the eve of the 2014 NFL Draft, the excitement in the San Joaquin Valley is building to see where and when a number of Bulldog football players will be chosen.

The two players receiving the most attention, and the two who by all accounts have risen their stock since the NFL Combine and pro day are quarterback Derek Carr and Davante Adams.

The anticipation of the Red Wave prior to this year's draft is as high as it has been since 2010 when Bulldog fans were waiting to see where star running back Ryan Mathews would be drafted. Mathews went on to be the 12th overall pick of the San Diego Chargers, becoming the fifth Bulldog to be selected in the first round in school history.

Google and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) are collaborating to offer live, digital press conferences via Google+ Hangouts, which Davante Adams and Derek Carr will be participating in. The Hangouts can be viewed publicly at YouTube.com/nflplayers or on the player's Google+ page.

Now, Bulldog fans will learn on Thursday if any Bulldogs will be added to that list of players taken in the first round.

Monday Night Football's Jon Gruden, a former Super Bowl-winning head coach in the NFL, has stated he is a big fan of Carr. He particularly likes how he is more experienced being a fifth-year senior than some of the other quarterbacks projected to go in the first round of the draft.

"I think Carr is going to come in and be further along than a lot of these (quarterbacks) because of his vast background, two different systems," Gruden said last week on a media conference call. "I think he's got an excellent arm. I think he's been challenged from a protection standpoint."

Adams declared early after his redshirt sophomore season for the NFL Draft, becoming the first Bulldog to do so since Jamel Hamler declared early before the 2011 draft. After leading the nation in receptions and touchdown catches in 2013, he has reportedly increased his stock since then with strong showings at the combine, pro day and in private workouts with teams.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is high on Adams.

"He is a guy that's really moving up a lot of boards," Mayock said last week, also on a media conference call previewing the draft.

Another Bulldog receiver, Isaiah Burse, is an NFL hopeful after a very productive career at Fresno State. He set a new school record for career all-purpose yards and ranks No. 3 in school history with 209 receptions.

"You talk about a guy that is a competitor," Bulldog tight end and slot receiver coach Phil Earley said of Burse. "He's got tools, nobody is going to be looked at in the NFL level unless they have tools. He's not the biggest guy, but he plays big."

Tight end Marcel Jensen has that prototypical NFL size, standing 6-6 and weighing 270 pounds.

"When NFL scouts come to our practices they all look and say `who's that guy,' " DeRuyter said referring to Jensen. "I think he still has a really big upside. He has big soft hands and is a huge target for a quarterback, they'll love him."

Offensive lineman Austin Wentworth hopes that his versatility - being able to play any position on the line - leads to him landing with a NFL team.

"One thing he did really well throughout the year is he studied. He is extremely intelligent," offensive line coach Cameron Norcross said of Wentworth. "He understands the game, understands angles and where to put his body and how to get his body there. To me, what makes his a great player is his mind."

Other Bulldogs hoping to land on an NFL roster include defensive end Andy Jennings, cornerback L.J. Jones and linebacker Patrick Su'a, who also played some fullback in his time at Fresno State.

The 2014 NFL Draft runs May 8-10, with the first round taking place on Thursday, May 8, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, May 9. Rounds 4-7 will be held on Saturday, May 10.

"Catch the Wave" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.



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