Joe Southwick hopes to extend streak of Boise State starting QBs to sign with NFL

Posted by Chadd Cripe on May 7, 2014 

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The long wait is almost over.

The NFL Draft begins with the first round at 6 p.m. Thursday — two weeks later than usual. It continues with rounds two and three at 5 p.m. Friday and rounds four through seven at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Seven Boise State prospects are ready to move on.

“I’m just ready for the draft to be over so you can get back to football,” center Matt Paradis said. “… It didn’t really hit me until two weeks ago, when the draft should have happened. I was like, ‘Gosh, I’m ready. It’s time. This is pointless.’ I’m frustrated. I enjoy working out, but you work out to play football.”

Here’s a quick look at who’s waiting for a call:

DE Demarcus Lawrence

Lawrence could go as early as the end of the first round but is more likely to land somewhere in the second round. He and his family, most of whom live in South Carolina, will gather in Las Vegas to enjoy the draft.

Lawrence is not getting his hopes up for Thursday.

“The only thing I can expect is just do me and go in and work and do my best, do what I’ve been doing all my life,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a lot faster (on the field). Everybody’s good at this level. It’s really who’s going to outwork the next man.”

Lawrence earned All-Mountain West honors in each of his two seasons at Boise State. He collected 20 sacks.

C Matt Paradis

Paradis likely will land in the sixth or seventh round or possibly go undrafted. He’s prepared either way.

“There are some expectations, but in all reality I don’t care,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting with a team. I don’t care if it’s drafted or what. I’m expecting to be drafted but if not, that’s fine. I just want to get on a team and prove my worth.”

Paradis thought about spending draft day at home in Council but he’d have to sit in the house to receive a reliable cell-phone signal — and he doesn’t want that. He’ll stay in Boise and be active, perhaps shooting clay pigeons, he said.

Paradis was an All-MW first-teamer in 2012 and second-teamer in 2013.

OT Charles Leno Jr.

Leno was a three-year starter and 2013 All-Mountain West first-teamer. He is expected to land in the late rounds of the draft.

QB Joe Southwick

Southwick, who missed nearly all of the last seven games last season, impressed at pro day and hopes to follow the trend of Boise State quarterbacks getting invited to NFL camps as free agents.

“There were some teams that were pleasantly surprised that he had maybe a little stronger arm than they anticipated when they saw him at pro day,” said Adam Snyder, Southwick’s agent with AJX Sports Management in Seattle.

Southwick has prepared for the draft at home in the Bay Area. He attended local tryouts run by the 49ers and Raiders.

No Boise State quarterback has been drafted since Jim McMillan in 1975 (14th round), but every full-time starter since Bart Hendricks (entered NFL in 2001) has received a free-agent opportunity. Others include Ryan Dinwiddie (2004), Jared Zabransky (2007), Taylor Tharp (2008) and Kellen Moore (2012). Backup Mike Coughlin (2011) also got a chance.

Southwick likely will be in the free agent pool, too.

“Now is kind of the hard part, to sit and wait until that moment,” Southwick said. “… It’s really quiet now, but it’s going to get fun in a couple days

“… I feel really comfortable with my game right now. I feel like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have. My mindset is just getting that opportunity and then putting my best foot forward and showing whatever team it may be that I’m probably worth keeping around.”

WR Aaron Burks

Burks has the measurables — size, speed, jumping — that entice NFL scouts but doesn’t have the college production of many other prospects. He made 18 catches for 309 yards and three touchdowns as a senior.

Burks won’t analyze his situation. He could get picked late but likely will sign as a free agent.

“I just stick with what I know — that’s running fast and running routes and catching the ball,” Burks said. “I don’t really want to overthink the whole thing. The good thing about going from college to the NFL is everybody starts with a clean slate.”

Burks visited the Cowboys. He has been working out in Boise and got some routes in with current Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick and former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.

“Pretty much working out is the only thing I do,” Burks said.

Snyder, who also represents Burks, has emphasized Burks’ speed and leaping ability when talking to NFL teams.

“With those measurables, teams will conclude that his best football is still in front of him,” Snyder said. “I think Aaron will get his opportunity.”

WR Geraldo Boldewijn

Boldewijn isn’t quite as fast and athletic as Burks, but he still has great speed and he was more productive on the field. Boldewijn, a starter, finished third on the team with 39 catches for 528 yards and two touchdowns last season. He could get drafted late but likely will sign as a free agent.

“I have no idea (what will happen)," Boldewijn said. "It’s still so new to me. All I want is a shot. … Every team is looking for a big receiver. I can also play special teams.”

DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe

Tjong-A-Tjoe’s raw power and limited football experience — like Boldewijn, he came to Boise State from Amsterdam — should land him a free-agent deal. He finished seventh on the team with 52 tackles. He added four tackles for loss and four pass breakups.

“Some teams like me," Tjong-A-Tjoe said. "Some teams see me more as a project. Most of the teams just say I’m pretty raw because I haven’t played much football.”

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Highest draft picks in Boise State football history
12. OT Ryan Clady, 2008, Broncos*
19. DE Shea McClellin, 2012, Bears*
29. CB Kyle Wilson, 2010, Jets*
30. DE Markus Koch, 1986, Redskins
31. RB Doug Martin, 2012, Buccaneers*
31. FB David Hughes, 1981, Seahawks
44. WR Titus Young, 2011, Lions
47. OT Daryn Colledge, 2006, Packers
54. CB Jamar Taylor, 2013, Dolphins
61. S Gerald Alexander, 2007, Lions
* indicates first-round picks

Email me at ccripe@idahostatesman.com.

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