Former CSU football players entering the National Football
League draft this weekend feel they will have to prove people wrong
at the next level.
Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt will have to prove he can play
quarterback and should not be moved to another position. Cornerback
and return specialist Dexter Wynn will have to prove that he is not
too small to play in the NFL.
And the other seven Rams in the draft, wide receivers Chris
Pittman and Eric Hill, defensive linemen Andre Sommersell and Brian
Save, linebackers Eric Pauly and Drew Wood and running back Rahsaan
Sanders will all have to prove they are good enough to make an NFL
roster or practice squad. The seven are unlikely to be drafted.
“Everyone from our team has the ability to play at the next
level,” said Van Pelt, the two-time Mountain West Conference
offensive player of the year. “The question is: Are you willing to
put in the time to get to that level?”
Before transferring to CSU from Michigan State, Van Pelt was
told by the Spartans’ staff he would play if he made the switch
from quarterback to defensive back. The Rams toyed with switching
him to running back or wide receiver, but Van Pelt refused each
He said he would consider switching positions in the NFL if it
got him on the field, but he is determined to play quarterback.
“I’m 100 percent confident that I’m going in as a QB,” Van Pelt
said. “I think the advantage I have over these other kids is that
I’ve always had to compete.”
Van Pelt has been projected somewhere in the middle rounds of
the seven-round draft. He said he tries to not listen to
projections because none of the people projecting really know what
they are talking about.
The knocks on Van Pelt have been his throwing ability and a poor
time in the 40-yard dash. He said he has worked a lot on his
throwing skills, but he does not consider the 40
“You want to watch a guy run in their underwear, you can go down
south,” he said.
Wynn has also been projected somewhere in the middle rounds of
the draft. Some scouts consider him the top return specialist in
the draft, Wynn said.
The knock on Wynn is something he cannot control: his size. Wynn
stands just under 5-foot-10.
“Being under 6 feet doesn’t mean you don’t know how to play
ball,” Wynn said. “I’m excited to prove people wrong again.”
After going through heart surgery earlier in his life, Wynn said
he is grateful just to have the opportunity to play in the NFL. He
will watch the draft with family and friends in Atlanta.
“I’m the first person (in my family) to make it this far, so
it’s a big deal for (them),” Wynn said.
Van Pelt said he will be playing golf or hiking with friends
during the draft, bringing along a cell phone to get a call from
the team that drafts him.
Pauly, the Rams’ leading tackler in 2002, said he is about 85
percent recovered from a season-ending knee injury he suffered six
months ago. He expects to sign a free agent deal with a team.
Pittman, the Rams’ leading receiver in 2002, said that he may
not be drafted, but he is determined to make an NFL roster.
“The only difference between getting drafted and signing as a
free agent in the amount of money you make,” Pittman said.