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Weekend NFL Draft Guide: Buffs Await Call

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David Bakhtiari is the only CU player almost guaranteed to be drafted this weekend. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.
David Bakhtiari is the only CU player almost guaranteed to be drafted this weekend. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books, meaning that in the last 24 hours, 32 college students eschewed a Ramen lifestyle for the robust comfort that comes with an NFL contract.

Of those players, however, none are Colorado Buffaloes. But that doesn’t mean the NFL won’t beckon for at least one of the eight eligible former Buffs players on draft boards throughout the league.

Here’s a look at the eight Colorado players who will sit around their phones this weekend, praying for it to ring:

DAVID BAKHTIARI, OL

6-4, 295 - Jr.

40 Time: 5.09

Of the eight Buffaloes eligible to be drafted, Bakhtiari is likely to be the first (and perhaps only) one to have his name called this weekend.

At a shade under 300 pounds, Bakhtiari was among the lightest of all offensive linemen at the NFL Combine in late February. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for with other intangibles.

Bakhtiari is a two-time All-Pac-12 honoree and younger brother of NFL journeyman Eric Bakhtiari.

He’s the only Buffs player to declare the draft prior to his senior season.

Working in Bakhtiari’s favor is a run of offensive linemen being selected in the first round. That bodes well for a player who scored above 80 in every game during his junior season.

POTENTIAL FITS: Falcons, Bears, Bengals, Bill, Ravens, Lions, Packers

NICK KASA, TE

6-6, 260 – Sr.

40 Time: 4.71

Nick Kasa made news at February’s Combine, but not for reasons the tight end would likely have preferred. Kasa became embroiled in a scandal when it was revealed that scouts asked him (and subsequently other potential draftees) questions about his sexuality.

Here’s hoping the burly Kasa’s draft stock doesn’t take a hit for making such info public.

Kasa has great size, quick feet and the ability to adapt.

Hurting his draft stock worse than any controversy, however, might be his inexperience at tight end. He’s only played 23 games on offense, since converting from a defensive lineman eight games into his junior season.

During that short span, the Senior Bowl invitee racked up 399 yards and three scores — just the 21st tight end in CU history to haul in at least three scoring grabs.

POTENTIAL FITS: Falcons, Jets, Raiders, Steelers, 49ers and Titans

WILL PERICAK, DT

6-4, 285 - Sr.

40 Time: 5.07

Any teams looking for a leader might want to consider drafting Will Pericak.

The defensive lineman and team captain never missed a game in his career en route to setting a Buffs’ record with 49 career starts.

He leaves Boulder with more than 200 career tackles, three blocked kicks, the most by a CU player in two decades, and four forced fumbles, a feat unmatched since 1960.

According to the Denver Post, the honorable mention Pac-12 honoree impressed at the East-West game and saw his draft stock rise considerably this spring.

He’s strong, quick and versatile, as well, and boasts experience at defensive tackle, end and nose tackle.

POTENTIAL FITS: Broncos, Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Raiders, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Titans and Panthers

DOUG RIPPY, LB

6-3, 245 – Sr.

40 Time: 4.71

When Doug Rippy is healthy, the linebacker is a tackling machine.

The problem for the former Butkus Award watch list honoree, however, is those darn cranky knees.

The linebacker rang up 104 tackles in his Buffs career, 94 of them as an upperclassman. The December-graduate (history and ethnic studies degrees), and winner of the team’s student-athlete achievement award, is as smart a player as he is a person.

He leaves Boulder with four sacks and a plethora of experience on special teams, as well.

But the surgically-repaired knees will be a concern for scouts. Rippy has been dealing with the knee issues, including t8orn ACL and MCL ligaments, since his freshman year at Colorado.

POTENTIAL FITS: Lions, Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Vikings, Saints, Giants, Raiders, Chargers, 49ers, Rams, Redskins

RAY POLK, DB

6-1, 205 - Sr.

40 Time: 4.40

When Ray Polk talks, people listen — especially his teammates.

The free safety’s leadership has been described as a player-coach. Polk is a three-year starter in the secondary after arriving in Boulder as a tailback.

Polk, who was ranked by Phil Steel’s College Football as the No. 14 free safety in the nation brings speed and a powerful frame to the gridiron. The former team captain exits Colorado 40th on the Buffs’ all-time career tackle list with 237 (153 solo).

The knock on Polk on draft day, however, will be his health. The recent grad has nursed high ankle sprains, an injured wrist, a concussion and a broken toe during his tenure at CU.

POTENTIAL FITS: Cardinals, Ravens, Bills, Panthers, Raiders, Bengals, Cowboys, Jaguars, Chiefs, Saints, Steelers, 49ers, Rams, Redskins

JON MAJOR, OLB

6-2, 235 - Sr.

40 Time: 4.08

Tackling machine. There’s no better way to describe Jon Major.

Major was second on the Buffs last season with 70 tackles. He excelled in getting into opposing team’s back fields. His late-game interception against Washington State was vital in securing the Buff’s lone win last season.

The Parker, Colo., native has experience at the Sam and Mike positions. Despite his tenaciousness, one has to wonder if the severe MCL sprain suffered during his sophomore season caused him to go from being a great player to an above-average one. He was leading the team in tackles and tackles for loss when he was injured — an unfortunate scenario after he’d missed his freshman year to knee surgery.

POTENTIAL FITS: Lions, Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Vikings, Saints, Giants, Raiders, Chargers, 49ers, Rams, Redskins

ERIC RICHTER, OL

6-3, 310 - Sr.

40 Time: 5.30

Eric Richter is a moose of a man.

Easily the strongest of the eight eligible Buffs, the graduated senior has experience at guard as well as right guard. Where he lacks playing time, is in big games.

After transferring to CU from Saddleback College, Richter saw action with the Buffs in just eight games (seven of them during his senior campaign).

His strength, however, is his strength and that can’t be ignored by scouts. Richter bench-pressed 225 pounds a whopping 51 times, a mark that earned him a spot on Bruce Feldman’s CBS Sports’ Top-10 freaks list. That’s a good thing, for the record.  

POTENTIAL FITS: Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Saints, Giants, Raiders, Jets, Steelers and Rams

RYAN DEEHAN, TE

6-5, 245 – Sr.

40 Time: 4.87*

If Ryan Deehan is anything, it’s consistent. In four years, the tight end never missed a game for the Buffs.

He leaves Boulder ranked 30th all-time in receptions and seventh in career yards (723) for a tight end.

At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Deehan durable and big. This is his second go-around, however, with the NFL Draft, having last played in 2011.

POTENTIAL FITS: Falcons, Jets, Raiders, Steelers, 49ers and Titans

*2012 Pro Day Time