In all likelihood, the Boise State football program will not have three players taken in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft like it did in 2016, but there are quite a few more than last year who may get a shot as undrafted free agents.
Twelve players from last season’s squad, plus four who ended their playing careers in 2015, will work out for pro scouts and personnel at Thursday’s pro day on campus. The Broncos will start weight room testing at 11 a.m., with the on-field work to begin at approximately noon.
“For the guys that played here, it’s a big day. This is what they want to do, it’s what these guys have dreamed of doing is playing at the next level, and this is their opportunity,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “They’ve all been working really hard to make it count. ... It’s an opportunity at your dream, you get one shot.”
The NFL Draft will take place over three days from Philadelphia: April 27 (first round), April 28 (second and third rounds) and April 29 (final four rounds). Last season, linebacker Kamalei Correa (second round, Ravens), safety Darian Thompson (third round, Giants) and offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo (third round, Seahawks) were drafted.
Cornerback Donte Deayon was undrafted but spent the season on the Giants’ practice squad. Center Marcus Henry (Saints) and linebacker Tyler Gray (Dolphins) were in training camp, but were cut before the regular season.
Boise State’s top prospect in 2017 is running back Jeremy McNichols, but he will not work out Thursday after having shoulder surgery this month. He performed well at the NFL Combine earlier this month before his operation, however.
Here’s a look at the participants and their chances to make the league:
LB Tanner Vallejo — A likely late-round pick, Vallejo bolstered his case with a strong combine performance, earning top-10 marks in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump.
WR Thomas Sperbeck — The school’s all-time receiving yards leader could be this year’s Deayon, a fringe draft prospect, but one who could make an impression in a team’s camp. He did not play in an all-star game or get a combine invite.
“I like Thomas Sperbeck a lot as a late-round pick, or a priority free agent,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said in January. “I think he can make it as a slot receiver in this league with his smarts and his hands and his concentration. The production was off the charts, so I would think Sperbeck is one of the intriguing late-round wide receivers in this draft.”
DE Sam McCaskill and LB Ben Weaver — Both were mighty productive last season, with McCaskill racking up a team-high 14 tackles for loss and Weaver leading the team in tackles (108) for a second straight year. McCaskill has good size at 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, but not ideal speed, while Weaver, at 6-0, 220, must make up for his lack of measurables.
S Chanceller James — James has the size (6-2, 210) to get attention, and was productive as a senior (team-high three INTs, second with 80 tackles).
OL Travis Averill and Mario Yakoo — The three-year starters have the size, but the question is if they have the athleticism to play at the next level.
K Tyler Rausa and P Sean Wale — NFL special teams are unique, with productive kickers often going undrafted. Three punters and one kicker were drafted in 2016. Rausa was on the pro radar after making 25-of-30 field goals in 2015, but was 9-of-13 last season. Wale was excellent last season, finishing No. 7 in the nation with a 45.0 yard average. All it takes is one team to be interested.
WR Chaz Anderson, CB Raymond Ford, CB Jonathan Moxey — Three of the speedier Broncos, they could catch some eyes with strong on-field work. Moxey was a second-team All-Mountain West pick after breaking up 13 passes, but needs to show he’s more of a ballhawk who can get interceptions after having none as a senior.
2015 players — The four Broncos not on the team last season, who are working out Thursday, are TE Holden Huff, WR Terrell Johnson, DT Armand Nance and RB Kelsey Young.
Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420