2023 NFL Draft: Mountain West Football's Winners And Losers

2023 NFL Draft: Mountain West Football's Winners And Losers

Boise State

2023 NFL Draft: Mountain West Football's Winners And Losers


2023 NFL Draft: Mountain West Football’s Winners And Losers

Who came out ahead and who had a letdown among the Mountain West football players in this year’s NFL Draft?

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Encouragements and letdowns from the three-day event that was.

The 2023 NFL Draft is finally over and, boy, was it a doozy. Without a clear-cut number one pick, a veritable run on edge rushers, offensive tackles, wide receivers and cornerbacks dominated the first round, reminding everyone that the National Football League is all about the pass. And though it took the Mountain West a little while to get involved, where the conference’s top prospects ended up (or didn’t, in some cases) wasn’t without its fair share of surprises.

Which athletes hit the jackpot and which ones crapped out in Las Vegas over the past few days?


1. Fresno State

It’s always an achievement of minor note, at least, when a team is the first in a conference to have a selection in the draft so, while the Bulldogs had to wait until its third day for that to happen, the program earned some bragging rights when Jake Haener was picked by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round to join fellow Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.

The immediate refrain from the Red Wave was “from the ‘No to NO”, which surely means that the Bulldogs will have a shoot for a Sugar Bowl bid to really cement that city connection, right?

2. Boise State

While the Broncos weren’t first among Mountain West teams to be represented in the draft, Boise State was the only team in the conference with two selections, the seventh time in the last decade they’ve had multiple draftees. Scott Matlock already looks like he could be a fan favorite with the Los Angeles Chargers while even the fine folks at DNVR, whose primary college beat is Colorado State, seemed psyched that JL Skinner would join the Denver Broncos.

3. New Mexico

Among the five players selected from the Mountain West, the most unexpected member of that group came from the Lobos when Jerrick Reed II landed with the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round. Not only did he represent the program’s first draft pick since 2018, Reed was also the highest selection from UNM since Glover Quin and DeAndre were picked 112th and 200th overall, respectively, way back in 2009. That’s a feather in the cap for both departed defensive coordinator Rocky Long and head coach Danny Gonzales.

4. San Jose State

We’re adding an extra winner to the usual cohort of three since the Spartans were the last of four teams in the Mountain West with an NFL Draft pick thanks to Viliami Fehoko, a fourth-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones must be a fan since it marks the second straight year he chose a player from the MWC, but Fehoko himself might be the biggest winner of all getting to join a front seven that also includes first-round pick Mazi Smith, Demarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and Micah Parsons.



1. Offensive skill position players not named Jake Haener

All in all, though, it was a pretty rough showing for running backs, tight ends and wide receivers from the Mountain West last week. For instance, 33 wide receivers got picked in the draft but, somehow, Fresno State’s Jalen Moreno-Cropper wasn’t among them. None among Utah State’s Calvin Tyler Jr., Wyoming’s Titus Swen, Fresno State’s Jordan Mims, or Air Force’s Brad Roberts were among the 18 running backs selected, and Air Force’s Kyle Patterson got passed over in the tight end class.

To date, Patterson is the only one not yet signed as an undrafted free agent, but it is mildly disappointing that the conference couldn’t sneak one more late selection into the mix.

2. San Diego State

The Aztecs’ presence here has less to do with any of their prospects and more to do with the numbers game inherent to the draft: Guys like Jonah Tavai and Caden McDonald got squeezed out and probably deserved better.

The silver lining? No team in the Mountain West has had more players sign as UDFAs so far, which in itself sends a strong message to recruits of their development prowess.

3. Every single NFL team for not giving Dom Peterson a shot.

Seriously, someone needs to give the highly productive Nevada defensive tackle an opportunity to compete.




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