Apr 222004
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

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

time.

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

football-related.

“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.

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