The lives of a few former CSU Rams are likely to change by the end of this weekend.
The 2010 NFL Draft is set to begin tonight with first round picks and later rounds following on Friday and Saturday. It is expected that four former Rams â€“â€“ Shelley Smith, Cole Pemberton, Adrian Martinez and Tim Walters â€“â€“ will be signed to NFL teams by the end of the weekend. All four played offensive line for CSU during the 2009 season.
Smith and Pemberton both attended the NFL Combine in February and both currently rank in the top 30 draft eligible linemen, according to NFL.com. Smith is expected to be the first Ram taken in the draft after turning an impressive performance at the combine.
Walter and Martinez didnâ€™t attend the combine, but have an outside chance of being selected in late rounds of the draft or signing free agent contracts after the event.
Pemberton, a 6-foot-7, 318-pounder, said heâ€™s been trying not to focus on the draft, but said it hasnâ€™t been easy.
â€œItâ€™s hard not think about it because everywhere you go, everyone has to ask you about it,â€ Pemberton said. â€œThat makes it tough, but you have to do things. You have to work out or do other things to keep your mind off of it.â€
Pemberton said he has been contacted and even invited to work out for several NFL teams, but said itâ€™s just talk until he gets signed to a contract.
Adrian Martinez wasnâ€™t invited to the NFL combine, but received attention from NFL scouts after turning in an impressive work out at the CSU pro day, including 37 bench press reps of 250 pounds.
The California native said that he would love to be selected as a late round draft pick, but said itâ€™s more important to end up with a team.
â€œIf I donâ€™t get drafted, Iâ€™ll have to be picked up as a free agent, and I wonâ€™t be disappointed,â€ Martinez said. â€œFor me, I just like playing football. I want that chance to get a crack at the NFL. Iâ€™ll be happy as long as I get picked up.â€
Pemberton agreed but said it would still be nice to hear his name called during draft day.
â€œIf you get drafted, itâ€™s something you can always say because not a lot of players get drafted,â€ he said. â€œBut at the same time, itâ€™s sort of an ego check once you get drafted.
Whether you go seventh round or as a free agent, itâ€™s all about the same thing. What you want is the opportunity to play with a team. Itâ€™s not where you get drafted, itâ€™s where you end up.â€
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild has participated in several NFL Drafts as a former coach with the Buffalo Bills and said he plans to keep an eye on where his former players end up this year. He added that he thinks all four linemen deserve a chance to play somewhere.
â€œI just thought they were good, smart, tough kids.â€ Fairchild said. â€œWe were very fortunate to have an offensive line last year that was of that quality. They were a major part of that team the year before that got things turned around. They have done some nice things here.â€
Check the Collegian for further updates on the 2010 NFL Draft.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.