As the NFL draft ended Saturday evening, former East Carolina players were still without a team. Undrafted free agents Bryce Williams, Josh Hawkins, Chris Hairston and Montese Overton had the freedom to decide where they would start their NFL careers. All four players have now signed with NFL teams.
Hawkins was first to sign after the draft, joining the Green Bay Packers. The 5-10 defensive back played four years for the Pirates. As a Pirate, Hawkins had nine interceptions, including a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tulsa this past season.
Another former ECU defensive player was picked up, as Overton signed with the Seattle Seahawks. A Greenville, North Carolina native, Overton made the most of his senior season in purple and gold. The 6-3 linebacker recorded four sacks against Southern Methodist and then two the next game week at Brigham Young. He finished the season with 7.5 sacks.
The Pirates biggest offensive weapon last season is headed to Massachusetts to join the New England Patriots. Like Overton, Williams took advantage of his final season with the Pirates. In 2013 and 2014 the 6-6 tight end combined for 38 catches and 457 yards. Then in his final season eclipsed those numbers with a 58 reception, 588-yard season.
The Kansas City Chiefs signed former ECU running back Chris Hairston to a free agent contract. In 2015, Hairston became the lead back for the Pirates. Against Towson in the season opener, Hairston found the endzone four times on 18 carries and had 154 yards on the ground. The 6-foot back totaled 754 yards and eight touchdowns in his final season.
Yet to sign with an NFL team is last season’s leading tackler, Zeek Bigger. The inside linebacker had 98 tackles in his senior season, but that did not come close to his 140 tackles in his junior year.