Nine Tech players go in weekend's NFL Draft
By Jimmy Robertson
May 1, 2006
It was a banner weekend for Virginia Tech's football program as nine seniors who concluded their eligibility this past season were drafted by NFL teams at the league's annual NFL Draft held Saturday and Sunday in New York City.
That number marks the most Tech players ever drafted in an NFL Draft. In 2002, eight players went, including standouts such as André Davis, Ben Taylor, Chad Beasley and Jarrett Ferguson.
Jimmy Williams, the defensive back from Hampton, Va., headlined the Tech contingent as the top Hokie selected, going in the second round to the Atlanta Falcons, who chose him with the 37th overall pick. Williams finished this past season with 44 tackles and one interception.
Williams will be joining several former Tech players in Atlanta, including cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Williams' selection marked the eighth straight year in which a Tech defensive back has been drafted in the NFL Draft.
Darryl Tapp, a defensive end from Chesapeake, Va., followed Williams, going in the second round to the Seattle Seahawks, who took him with the 63rd overall selection. Tapp - like Williams, a first-team All-ACC selection and an All-American - adds depth to Seattle's defensive line and will compete for a starting job one season after he finished with 10 sacks, 35 hurries, and 14.5 tackles for a loss for the Hokies. He led the team in all three categories.
"I'm excited just to have the opportunity to continue playing," Tapp said. "I had no idea Seattle would take me. I talked to them at the Senior Bowl, but I hadn't really heard from them since then. They caught me by surprise, but I'm happy. It's great to be going to a team that played in the Super Bowl last year."
Tapp's teammate and roommate at Tech, James Anderson, went on the first day as well. The Carolina Panthers selected Anderson in the third round with the 88th overall pick. Anderson finished second on the team with 82 tackles this past season, adding three sacks and two interceptions. He figures to contend for the starting spot at weakside linebacker.
"It's a great situation for me," Anderson said. "Carolina is a great organization and I have an opportunity to come in and compete for playing time right away. It's close to home. I couldn't ask for a better situation."
Jeff King, the tight end from Pulaski, Va., will be joining Anderson in Charlotte. The Panthers selected King in the fifth round with the 155th overall selection. King caught a team-leading six touchdown passes this past fall.
Jonathan Lewis, the Hokies' starting defensive tackle this past autumn, went to the Arizona Cardinals, who chose him in the sixth round, with the 177th overall pick. Then four Hokies went in the seventh round - Justin Hamilton (Cleveland, 222nd overall), Jimmy Martin (San Diego, 227th overall), Will Montgomery (Carolina, 234th overall) and Cedric Humes (Pittsburgh, 240th overall).
Two other players signed free-agent deals Monday with respective NFL teams. Jason Murphy, an offensive guard, signed as a free agent with the San Diego Chargers, while defensive lineman Tim Sandidge signed with the St. Louis Rams.
After this weekend, Tech head coach Frank Beamer now has seen 65 of his players drafted by NFL teams since he became the head coach at Tech in 1987.