Four Terps Selected on Second Day of NFL Draft
April 26, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Four former Maryland Terrapins were selected during the second day of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Cornerback Kevin Barnes, a native of Glen Burnie, Md., will stay close to home. The two-year starter was selected with the 16th choice in the third round (80th overall) by the Washington Redskins Sunday.
Fokou was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 21st choice (230 overall) and Thomas was taken six picks later by the Indianapolis Colts.
Gronkowski had to wait until the second-to-last pick in the draft before hearing his name called. He was taken 46th in the round and 255th overall by the Detroit Lions.
"I'm happy for all those guys," Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I'm hoping they will all be able to achieve their dreams. The part I'm most happy about is that all four of them have their degrees."
The five Maryland selections in the 2009 NFL Draft are the most since 2004 when the Terrapins also had five players chosen. The Terps have had 18 players drafted in the last six seasons.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Oakland Raiders Saturday.
Barnes' selection gives the Terps at least two picks in the top three rounds in six of the last nine drafts.
He was one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC his final two years, despite missing the final six games of 2008 with a shoulder injury. He played in 43 career games, including 21 starts, and tallied 100 career tackles, six interceptions and 15 pass breakups.
"Kevin is a long player with very good coverage skills," Friedgen said. "It's hard to find players with his length and athleticism."
An athletic, versatile linebacker, Fokou walked on from Frostburg State prior to the 2005 season and turned himself into one of the top defenders in the ACC.
He posted 183 tackles in his three seasons at Maryland, including 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He also had a nose for the ball, causing five fumbles.
Fokou, who was born in Cameroon, but grew up in Rockville, Md., posted five sacks last season which were the most by a Maryland linebacker since Shawne Merriman had a team-high 8 1/2 in 2004.
"Moise has tremendous speed and athleticism," Friedgen said. "He plays both the run and pass well. He was also a good special teams player for us."
Thomas was one of five senior offensive linemen on last year's team. He was an honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. The Harrisburg, Pa., native played in 45 career games, including 23 starts, all at left guard.
"Jaimie is a big interior lineman," Friedgen said. "He's athletic for his size and runs well. He's also a very intelligent player. Regardless of what happens with the NFL, I know he'll be a success in life."
Another all-league player, Gronkowski played in 41 career games, including 29 starts, all over his last three seasons.
He had 39 career receptions, including 29 in 2008, and 390 receiving yards.
"Dan is a big, strong, athletic tight end who is very, very, bright," Friedgen said. "He improved his pass-catching throughout his career and I see him with a great future."
With 30 seniors on last year's roster and 25 former Terps currently on NFL rosters (not including 2009 draftees), Maryland hopes to have quite a few players in NFL camps this summer.
Terps NFL Draft Notes:
The Terps have had 22 players drafted during Ralph Friedgen's tenure as head coach.
Heyward-Bey is the second Terp wideout to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Gary Collins was taken with the fourth overall choice in the 1962 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. Jermaine Lewis was the last Maryland wide receiver to be chosen (fifth round of 1996 NFL Draft - Baltimore Ravens).
Heyward-Bey is the highest drafted Terrapin since Vernon Davis was selected sixth overall by San Francisco in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Heyward-Bey is the 15th Terp to be drafted in the first round.
Eric Barton was the last Terp to be drafted by the Oakland Raiders. Barton was taken in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Delbert Cowsette, currently an intern on the Maryland staff, was the last Terp to be drafted by Washington (2000).
Melvin Fowler was the last Maryland offensive lineman to be chosen in the NFL Draft (third round in 2002 by Buffalo), though Jared Gaither was taken in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Supplemental Draft by Baltimore and Stephon Heyer (Washington) and Andrew Crummey (Cincinnati) are currently on rosters.
Terps in the NFL