Pettigrew: From Cowboy To Lion

Brandon Pettigrew became the first tight end from Oklahoma State to get selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in 35 years when the Detroit Lions made him the 20th overall selection Saturday. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Pettigrew will join overall No. 1 selection Matthew Stafford with the Lions.

"I feel like they've got big plans for me," Pettigrew told the Detroit News after his selection. "They have a good feeling about me. They know that I'm a complete tight end and they know what I bring to the table. I'm willing to do whatever it takes."

Pettigrew caught 42 passes for 472 yards as a senior in helping the Cowboys to a 9-4 record. But those numbers could have been a lot larger if he had not missed four games with an ankle injury.

The senior from Tyler, Texas was still one of three finalist for the Mackey Award, which is presented annually to the top tight end in the nation. He finished his OSU playing career ninth all-time with 1,540 receiving yards and 112 catches, both of which rank first among Cowboy tight ends.

He is following in the footsteps of OSU great Reuben Gant, who was a first-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills in 1974.

"Getting to the NFL has always been a dream of mine and I'm excited that the day is now here," Pettigrew said. "I want to thank all my Oklahoma State coaches and teammates and everyone who has helped me get to where I am. It's kind of a relief to know where I am going now after so much talk leading up to the draft and I'm excited for what's to come."

Pettigrew said that he met with Detroit Lions officials at the NFL scouting combine in February, and then had a workout at the Lions practice facility in March.

It was widely speculated leading up to the NFL Draft that Pettigrew was coveted by the Atlanta Falcons, which had the 24th overall selection. But the Falcons traded for All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez on Friday, and that left the Oklahoma State senior wondering where he would wind up.

He will now team up with Stafford, the quarterback who led Georgia to a 35-14 victory over OSU in the 2007 season opener in Athens, Ga., by throwing for 234 yards and two touchdowns.

Pettigrew becomes the seventh Cowboy selected in the NFL Draft in Mike Gundy's five years as Oklahoma State's head coach. He joins Corey Hilliard (sixth round, New England Patriots) and Ryan McBean (fourth round, Pittsburgh Steelers) from the 2007 draft, Charlie Johnson (sixth round, Indianapolis Colts) from the 2006 draft, Darrent Williams (second round, Denver Broncos), Vernand Morency (third round, Houston Texans), and Billy Bajema (seventh round, San Francisco 49ers) from the 2005 draft.

He becomes Oklahoma State's first first-round draft choice since 2004 when Rashaun Woods was selected by the San Francisco 49ers.

GoPokes Top Stories