Former Boise State center Matt Paradis went to the Denver Broncos with the 31st pick of the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. It was the 207th pick overall.
Former left tackle Charles Leno Jr. went to the Chicago Bears with the 31st pick of the seventh round, No. 246 overall.
Paradis walked on to the Boise State football team as a defensive lineman out of Council High in 2009. He moved to the offensive line in 2010 and was the starting center in 2012 and 2013. He was an All-Mountain West first-teamer in 2012 and second-teamer in 2013.
He is the first Boise State player to start his career as a walk-on and be drafted since tailback Brock Forsey in 2003. He also is the first interior offensive lineman from the school drafted since 1974.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Paradis said on a media conference call. “I came from a really small town as a walk-on and it’s just kind of a situation you never think can happen and it happened. It’s pretty amazing.”
Denver was the only team Paradis visited before the draft.
“He did an outstanding job with the O-line coaches,” coach John Fox told DenverBroncos.com. “He was a guy we’re excited to have and he gives us depth at the position.”
Fox also mentioned that visit in his phone call with Paradis.
“You did such a great job when you came in,” Fox told him. “This is a great opportunity and I know you’ve been waiting a long time for it.”
At least the past eight Boise State players drafted in the sixth or seventh round, dating to 1994, have made their NFL team.
Paradis started 27 games at Boise State, including all 13 games each of the past two years.
In Denver, he’ll join former Boise State left tackle Ryan Clady, a first-round pick in 2008.
“He’s obviously one of the best to ever play at Boise State and you always wanted to be like him, trying to strive to be how good he is,” Paradis said. “So I watched him. He graduated from Boise before I was here but I always followed his career.”
Here is a DenverBroncos.com breakdown of where Paradis fits on the roster.
Leno was a three-year starter for the Broncos and he never missed a game during that time. He played right tackle in 2011 and left tackle in 2012-13. He was an All-Mountain West first-teamer last year. He is the fourth straight full-time starter at left tackle drafted, joining Daryn Colledge (2002-05), Clady (2006-07) and Nate Potter (2008-11).
Paradis and Leno are the first pair of offensive linemen from Boise State taken in the same draft since 1974. That year, it was guard Dan Dixon in the 13th round and tackle Al Davis in the 17th round.
The Bears say they drafted Leno to be their backup left tackle but will bring in undrafted free agents to compete with him.
We've picked C Matt Paradis from Boise St. A smart, versatile player who was leader of OL. Was a Bronco in college and will stay a Bronco!— John Elway (@johnelway) May 10, 2014
Combined with defensive end Demarcus Lawrence on Friday (second round, Cowboys), there were three Broncos selected in the draft.
Defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe has agreed to a free-agent deal with the San Diego Chargers, he said. The Chargers were the one team he visited before the draft.
“They didn’t have a lot of D-tackles,” Tjong-A-Tjoe said. “That’s a good situation for me to make a roster. If I come in and work hard, it’s a good opportunity for me.”
Wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, Boldewijn said.
“It’s crazy. You think about all the stuff we’ve done to get to where we’re at today,” he said. “I started off just in Amsterdam playing flag football and some other football and having fun and ended up coming here for high school and ended up getting offered by Boise State. And now all of a sudden I get a chance to play for an NFL team. It’s too cool.”
Wide receiver Aaron Burks will join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Burks tweeted.
Quarterback Joe Southwick has been invited to the Oakland Raiders’ rookie minicamp next week on a tryout basis, agent Adam Snyder said. The Raiders have four quarterbacks on the roster — veteran starter Matt Schaub, second-round draft pick Derek Carr, Matt McGloin and Trent Edwards.
“Excited for the opportunity,” Southwick said via text message. “Get to play football again, which is awesome.”
Three Mountain West stars who left school early were not selected — Colorado State tailback Kapri Bibbs, San Diego State tailback Adam Muema and Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith.
Here is the NFL.com draft tracker.
Now from the NFL,31.4 percent of all NFL players in 2013 were undrafted (638 of 2,026 active players last season).— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) May 10, 2014
Undrafted players I know it hurts right now but it's not over!! Keep grinding and keep believing in yourself!— Jeron Johnson (@Jus_Showoff) May 10, 2014
A few extra quotes:
— Tjong-A-Tjoe on the day: “It was fun. It was stressful. But I enjoyed it. I’m glad I got to experience it. Now it’s getting back to work.”
— Tjong-A-Tjoe on getting the call: “I was hoping I would get a shot. That was good news to hear, and that it was a couple of teams that were interested was even better.”
— Tjong-A-Tjoe on his journey from Amsterdam: “It’s been a crazy ride. I’m glad it worked out. I’m just really blessed. There are a lot of people that helped me get to the place where I’m at right now. It was worth it.”
— Boldewijn on choosing the Falcons from multiple offers: “Atlanta was just the right fit. It was a regular day until you get that call. Now I’m already packing my clothes.” He leaves Monday.
I will update lists of Boise State, Mountain West and Boise State opponent players drafted throughout the week:
34. DE Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys)
207. C Matt Paradis (Broncos)Seventh round
246. OT Charles Leno Jr. (Bears)
OTHER MOUNTAIN WEST
35. OT Joel Bitonio (Browns), Nevada
36. QB Derek Carr (Raiders), Fresno State
43. C Weston Richburg (Giants), Colorado State
53. WR Davante Adams (Packers), Fresno State
99. TE Crockett Gillmore (Ravens), Colorado State
110. S Mo Alexander (Rams), Utah State
122. S Marqueston Huff (Titans), Wyoming
133. CB Nevin Lawson (Lions), Utah State
148. CB Bene Benwikere (Panthers), San Jose State
152. S Nat Berhe (Giants), San Diego State
183. QB David Fales (Bears), San Jose State
185. WR Robert Herron (Buccaneers), Wyoming
208. S Eric Pinkins (Seahawks), San Diego State
OTHER BOISE STATE OPPONENTS
14. CB Kyle Fuller (Bears), Virginia Tech (2010)
20. WR Brandin Cooks (Saints), Oregon State (2013)
24. CB Darqueze Dennard (Bengals), Michigan State (2012)
25. CB Jason Verrett (Chargers), TCU (2011)
38. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Buccaneers), Washington (2012-13)
40. OLB Kyle Van Noy (Lions), BYU (2012-13)
54. RB Bishop Sankey (Titans), Washington (2012-13)
72. DE Scott Crichton (Vikings), Oregon State (2013)
82. DT Will Sutton (Bears), Arizona State (2011)
85. DT Khyri Thornton (Packers), Southern Miss (2012-13)
104. WR Jalen Saunders (Jets), Oklahoma (formerly at Fresno State)
155. TE Arthur Lynch (Dolphins), Georgia (2011)
163. QB Aaron Murray (Chiefs), Georgia (2011)
182. CB Antone Exum (Vikings), Virginia Tech (2010)
210. DE IK Enemkpali (Jets), Louisiana Tech (2010)
233. OLB Trevor Reilly (Jets), Utah (2010)
OUR DRAFT COVERAGE
May 10: Demarcus Lawrence news story
May 9: Demarcus Lawrence blog
May 9: Projections for each of the Broncos’ Saturday draft prospects
May 8: Demarcus Lawrence feature
May 7: Catching up with Boise State’s prospects
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.