2018 NFL Draft: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Selected 19th Overall By Dallas Cowboys
The Mountain West’s defensive player of the year is headed to Dallas.
The Broncos linebacker hopes to become the next success story from the blue.
With the 19th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the culmination of a significant climb up numerous draft boards during and after the combine. After putting up eye-popping numbers in Indianapolis, including a 4.65-second 40-yard time, 39.5-inch vertical jump and 20 reps on the bench press, ESPN had deemed Vander Esch the 32nd-best overall prospect and second-best linebacker available in the draft. NFL.com, meanwhile, projected Vander Esch as a first round pick and immediate starter.
The incredible and improbable story of the 6-foot-4, 256-pound Vander Esch, a Riggins, Idaho native, has been a sensational story line heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. A local kid who walked on to Boise State after playing eight-on-eight football in high school, LVE exploded in his junior year and blew away all expectations. For the season, Vander Esch had 141 tackles with four sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions.
Vander Esch becomes the fifth Boise State player to be drafted in the first round, joining Ryan Clady, Kyle Wilson, Doug Martin and Shea McClellin.