The last time a quarterback coming out of Boise State was taken in the NFL Draft, the Broncos’ field was still a decade away from being blue.
A 44-year drought continued Saturday when Brett Rypien went undrafted with any of the 254 picks in this year’s draft. Jim McMillan (14th round, 1975) is still the most recent passer to be drafted out of Boise State.
Soon after the draft’s conclusion, Rypien tweeted that he will remain a Bronco — he plans to sign a free-agent deal with the Denver Broncos, who took Missouri’s Drew Lock in the second round Friday.
“It was frustrating, that nightmare scenario you hear about,” Rypien said. “I saw names come off the board that surprised me, then I realized I probably was going to have to go the free agent route. But I think I found a good spot.”
Rypien (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) ranks as the Mountain West’s all-time leading passer and No. 13 in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 13,581 yards passing. His uncle, Mark, was drafted in the sixth round (146th overall) by the Washington Redskins in 1986.
Ryan Finley, Boise State’s starter to open the 2015 season, was picked by the Bengals in the fourth round Saturday. He was hurt in the Broncos’ third game that season and Rypien took over the starting job, never relinquishing it. Finley transferred to North Carolina State the following spring.
Rypien will hope to take the path akin to one of his predecessors, the great Kellen Moore. Undrafted in 2012, Moore signed with the Lions and spent six seasons in Detroit and with the Dallas Cowboys. Rypien is also on the negotiation list for the CFL’s BC Lions. His family has roots in Canada (Mark was born in Calgary), and his uncle, Chris Tormey, is a Lions assistant.
Despite the draft snub, Rypien said his past experiences have prepared him well for a less direct route to the pros.
“It’s really not anything I’m not used to,” he said. “I’ve been counted out plenty of times. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve played well, and I want to continue to prove people wrong.”
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin tweeted to Rypien: “The Broncos got the hardest working rookie this class no doubt. We are all very proud of you! Go Broncos, that’s great to keep saying!”
Eleven quarterbacks were selected in the draft, all of whom took part in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Rypien was one of the six invited who went undrafted. A total of 10 Mountain West players were selected.
At a shade under 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Rypien was one of the smaller prospects, and also didn’t have the speed that similarly-sized Easton Stick (North Dakota State) and Trace McSorley (Penn State) showed. Both were drafted Saturday and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, Rypien’s time was 4.91.
Still, Rypien was seen by many as a likely late-round pick.
“Overall, Rypien does everything fairly well, but nothing extraordinary that would suggest he can pick apart NFL defenses, projecting as a potential backup due to his intelligence and intangibles,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in his draft guide.
MORE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS: Former Boise State defensive end Durrant Miles is heading to the Falcons as a free-agent signee, according to a tweet from his agency. Miles had an impressive pro day April 2. ... Boise State announced receiver A.J. Richardson has signed with the Cardinals. He had 825 yards receiving last season and a team-best eight touchdowns. ... Receiver Sean Modster, who led the Broncos with 978 yards and 68 receptions, signed with the Ravens. ... Two-time first-team All-Mountain West cornerback Tyler Horton said he is signing with the Dolphins. ... Linebacker Jabril Frazier, who had 18 career sacks, plans to sign with the Jets.