Nov 24, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers cornerback Rashaad Reynolds (16) tackles Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner (24) at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Four former Oregon State Beavers signed NFL contracts after the completion of the 2014 NFL draft. Combined with Brandin Cooks (1st round) and Scott Crichton (3rd round), Mike Riley sent six players to the big show from the 2013 Hawai’i Bowl Champion Beavers.
The most surprising turn of events at the draft was Rashaad Reynolds falling out of the draft. Reynolds, who was projected as a third to fifth round draft pick, saw thirty-seven other defensive back prospects taken, including twenty-five after the third round. For a guy who tied for the conference lead in interceptions in 2013 and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection following his senior season, that’s pretty shocking.
Reynolds signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars a day after the draft. The hard luck Jags revamped their offense through the draft, acquiring Central Florida QB Blake Bortles, former USC standout WR Marquis Lee, and Penn State WR Allen Robinson in the first three rounds.
Jacksonville ranked 26th against the pass and 29th against the run in 2013, leaving much to be desired across the board defensively. Dwayne Gratz, second year player from UCONN and 7th year vet from Illinois, Alan Ball are currently the starters. Will Blackmon, Mike Harris, Demetrius McCray, and Jamell Fleming also saw time in the Jaguars defensive back matrix.
Gratz and Ball led the group with two interceptions each in 2103. The Jaguars only picked off 11 passes last year, while allowing 247.6 yards per game through the air and another 131.8 on the ground. Physically, Reynolds (5’10, 190) stacks up almost evenly with Gratz (5’11, 201). Reynolds had a solid career anchoring the defensive back corps at Oregon State, and given the chance, could turn out to be a steal for a team that needs serious help against the pass.
OL Josh Andrews signed with a familiar face, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly and the Eagles also drafted Beaver CB Jordan Poyer in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL draft (Poyer now plays for the Cleveland Browns).
“Juice”, as he was fondly known as in Beaver Nation, finished his career with thirty consecutive starts, and started all 13 games in 2013 at left guard. Extremely consistent and a fan favorite, Andrews injured his knee in 2011, but returned to the field as a solid, reliable starter for the rest of his career at Oregon State.
Andrews joins a veteran group of offensive lineman in Philadelphia. 10 year veteran Evan Mathis, is first string at the left guard position, with 7th year Missouri Southern State alumni Allen Barbre holding backup duties. With seventeen years of combined experience, Andrews should soak up a lot, and while Philly might not be a lasting fit for “The Juice”, the opportunity to learn from Mathis, Barbre, and the dynamic nature of Chip Kelly’s offense could prove critical to Andrews’ development as an NFL player.
Injury plagued split end Micah Hatfield was picked up by the San Diego Chargers. The Lake Oswego, Ore. product showed stretches of flashy athleticism and dependable pass catching ability. At 6’1, 181, Hatfield possess the frame but not the ideal mass that is demanded of NFL receivers these days. However, with the physical rights of the receiver under constant revision, Hatfield may stick on the roster if he can stay healthy.
The Chargers drafted Baylor receiver Tevin Reese with their last pick, the 240th pick overall in the 7th round, meaning the team is currently fielding as many options as possible at the position. Currently, San Diego’s receiving corp consists of Vincent Brown, rookie standout and former Cal Golden Bear Keenan Allan, Eddie Royal, Malcom Floyd, and Seyi Ajirotutu.
Floyd and Ajirotutu were mostly non-factors in the Charger’s passing game, combining to see only 15 targets in 2013, so there is room at the bottom of the roster for another pass catcher. With plenty of experience at the split end, a healthy Hatfield would be a solid fit based on San Diego’s personnel.
OL Michael Phillipp was the second Beaver offensive lineman to sign in the post-draft frenzy, landing in Cleveland with the now Manziel-fueled Browns. He joins former Beaver defensive back Jordan Poyer, who joined the Browns after posting 21 tackles in his rookie campaign with the Philadelphia Eagles.
At 6’4, 328, Phillipp has the physical presence to be a solid NFL starter. He started 48 games for the Beavers, all at left tackle, and ranks third all time in starts in program history. He and “Juice” Andrews combined to create a dependable left side for QB Sean Mannion.
Much like Hatfield, Phillipp was nit-picked by injuries through his time with the Beavers, and if healthy, could transform himself into a solid NFL starter. You couldn’t pick a better mentor at the position, seven time Pro Bowl selection Joe Thomas has been the mark of the class in terms of NFL lineman. The only other players to have made the Pro bowl in all of their first seven seasons are now Hall of Famers.
Head Coach Mike Riley has coached twenty four Beavers who are now actively under contract with NFL teams.