Abdullah, Armstrong day two draftees

THE WAITING GAME can be especially brutal for NFL draft prospects, but it was well worth the nail biting for two Washington State players. The NFL came calling for safety Hamza Abdullah and tackle Calvin Armstrong on Sunday, the second and final day of the draft.

Philadelphia chose Armstrong with their sixth round pick, while Tampa Bay used one of their four seventh round choices on Abdullah.

The pair joins cornerback Karl Paymah—a day one, third round pick by Denver—as the only Cougar prospects selected in the NFL draft, matching 2004's total. Notably absent from the list of 255 players chosen was WSU tackle Sam Lightbody, who had been forecast as a sixth or seventh round pick by several draft gurus.

Armstrong, a two-time first-team All Pac-10 honoree, was rated as one of top dozen or so tackles available for the draft. He had been projected as anywhere between a late third round to sixth round pick. The Pride of Centralia was one of three offensive linemen chosen by the defending NFC champions.

Although just a starter for one season with the Cougs, Abdullah's stock rose with pro scouts due to his impressive performances at NFL combines and pro days. He was one of two safeties selected by the Buccaneers, who lost their starting safety to free agency.

Paymah and Abdullah continued a nice streak of WSU defensive backs chosen in the NFL draft, bumping the number to six Cougar cover-men picked for the bigs in the past four years.

Lightbody, a projected late round selection, will almost certainly sign as a free agent early this week.

Three other Cougars hope to entertain free agent offers from NFL teams, as well: running back Chris Bruhn, defensive back Jeremy Bohannon, and linebacker Pat Bennett. Bruhn is considered a project by NFL scouts, while Bohannon and Bennett are considered long shots to get the call into the NFL ranks.

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