Impact of A Historic NFL Draft for Rutgers

After Scarlet Knight fans had such an exciting day one of the NFL Draft seeing wide receiver Kenny Britt become the first ever first round draft pick from Rutgers University, the second day did not disappoint.

Although the day started very slowly for the Scarlet Knights, the sixth and seventh round got the Rutgers fans roaring in Radio City Music Hall as four more former Rutgers players got drafted and set a program record for the Scarlet Knights.

But the benefits of the record setting day are truly mutual between the program and the players it lost because head coach Greg Schiano now has another tool to work with in the recruiting game. The sales pitch of Rutgers being a pro factory is getting stronger and stronger as the years progress.

Three players got drafted in 2007 (Brian Leonard, Cam Stephenson and Clark Harris). Three made teams in 2008 (Ray Rice, Jeremy Zuttah and Eric Foster) and now eight have a shot at making teams in 2009.

And don't forget that both Sean O'Hara and Gary Brackett were captains of Super Bowl winning teams and Darnell Stapleton now has a ring of his own. It's a lot easier to pitch a program as a pro factory when looking at Rutgers' updated resume after this weekend.

And of course, how can anyone forget Kenny Britt.

"We knew as our program grew, this day would come," Schiano said in a statement. "Having Kenny drafted in the first round is an exciting honor for both him and our entire program." Britt, taken 30th overall by the Tennessee Titans, could have gone as high as 22 to the Minnesota Vikings according to some draft analysts and was neck-and-neck with UNC receiver Hakim Nicks to go to the New York Giants at 29th overall.

But Britt may be better off with the Titans than with either the Vikings or Giants. The Titans were the best of all three teams last season, but faultered because of a lack of a passing game meaning that Britt will get the chance to start immediately and possibly become the primary passing weapon for Kerry Collins and/or Vince Young.

With the Vikings, Britt may have been stuck behind Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice and the Giants could have caused the same problems with Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Steve Smith and a healthy David Tyree.

"The Tennessee Titans are getting a tremendous person and player in Kenny Britt," Schiano said. "Kenny proved to be one of the nation's best college receivers and I'm sure he will have continued success as he makes the transition to the NFL. We are all very excited for Kenny and his family."

Quarterback Mike Teel went first of the remaining four at No. 178 to the Seattle Seahawks. Teel, a three-time bowl winner, has a great chance of making the roster as he will compete with Jeff Rowe for the third quarterback spot.

Seneca Wallace currently holds the No. 2 QB spot behind starter Matt Hasselbeck, but who knows where Teel will end up on the depth chart? (Teel did get picked 21 picks before Tom Brady went to the Patriots).

Jason McCourty was the next Knight to go as he will join Britt with the Titans. McCourty has a good chance to make the team after his 4.32 40-yard dash time at the Rutgers Pro Day, but will likely be utilized as a special teams player and not a cornerback.

Safety Courtney Greene will join Teel in Seattle as well. The seventh round safety will compete with current safeties C.J. Wallace, Brian Russell and Jordan Babineaux for a spot alongside Deon Grant.

Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood was the last of the five Knights to get picked, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but may struggle to stick with a team that had already taken two receivers in the draft and have wideouts like Tory Holt already on the roster.

"I am happy for Mike, Jason, Courtney and Tiquan as they continue their careers in the NFL," Schiano said in a statement "These young men are outstanding individuals on and off the field and we are excited to watch them play on Sundays. Along with Kenny's selection Saturday and the anticipated free agent signings, this has been a great weekend for Rutgers."

It seems that Schiano anticipated correctly as three more Knights quickly found teams as undrafted free agents following the draft.

Defensive end Jamal Westerman gets to stay local, signing with the New York Jets as tight end Kevin Brock will get a chance with the Carolina Panthers and linebacker Kevin Malast will get a shot to learn from Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears.

The Scarlet Knights also have a strong senior corps going into next season with many potential NFL Draft day selections.

Linebacker Ryan D'Imperio, cornerback Devin McCourty and defensive end George Johnson are all likely mid to late round picks on defense and both center Ryan Blaszczyk and wide receiver Tim Brown have good chances at sticking somewhere on the offensive end.


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