Deion Sanders went on a rant against the NFL teams at Super Bowl 53 Media Day, saying that they don’t give as much consideration to HBCU players in their drafts. He argues that these players are just “casualties of war” and deserve more placement than undrafted free agents.
The “where is the nfl draft 2021” is a question that has been asked by many. Deion Sanders, who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons, has some strong words about how NFL teams are overlooking HBCU players in the draft.
Highlights of the article:
- After his school’s recent pro day, Jackson State head coach Sanders, Deion slammed NFL clubs.
- The Pro Football Hall of Famer chastised the ten teams who failed to scout HBCU athletes.
- Sanders gets credit for trying to highlight HBCU athletes, but he has to understand more about how the NFL draft works.
It’s hard not to think of Sanders, Deion’ first two years at Jackson State as a huge success. During that time, the Tigers went 15-5 and, thanks in part to their quirky head coach’s recruitment, have began the process of reintroducing historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to the national limelight.
Was the Tigers’ recent on-field success enough to make Sanders pleased at the school’s pro day, despite his history of nagging and complaining? Certainly not.
NFL clubs were chastised by Sanders, Deion for bypassing Jackson State’s pro day.
There was a period when NFL clubs often selected Jackson State’s finest players in the draft. There were just two years (1971 and 1995) during the 26-year period from 1963 to 1998 when no Tigers players were picked.
However, Jackie Slater and Walter Payton’s days of leaving Jackson State for the NFL are long gone. Since the Minnesota Vikings used a sixth-round selection on receiver Jaymar Johnson in 2008, JSU hasn’t had a player picked. Johnson is the only Tigers player picked since 2001, with one catch in three seasons with the Vikings.
Since taking over at JSU in 2020, Sanders has actively campaigned for more teams to pick HBCU athletes. Despite the fact that 22 teams attended the Tigers’ pro day on Monday, March 21, the eight-time Pro Bowler opened his interview with NFL Media’s Cameron Wolfe by concentrating on the ten teams who did not attend.
“Ten of them have vanished. Don’t think I won’t call you out on it. That’s all I’m going to say about the missing ten: if I find you at Mississippi State or Ole Miss, it’s going to be an issue. That’s all I’m saying; there will be an issue. You should have turned up, too, since our kids are so excellent.”
It was unclear whether of the ten teams would not be present at the time of publishing.
NFL scouts had a chance to watch Tigers linebacker James Houston up up and personal. During the 2021 season, the Florida transfer has 16.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, and seven forced fumbles.
Sanders made it plain that athletes from all HBCUs, not just Jackson State, should be considered by NFL clubs. In the 2021 draft, no HBCU athletes were taken, a feat Sanders claims would “never happen again.”
“I realize we had an excuse for the pandemic year, but that’s not going to happen again,” Sanders added. “My goal this year is to pick 7-10 guys, then we’ll strive to quadruple that, and eventually the sky’s the limit.”
Sanders still doesn’t seem to grasp how the NFL Draft really works.
Jacksonville State head coach Sanders, Deion isn’t happy with NFL teams | Charles A. Smith/Jackson State University via Getty Images
To be clear, Sanders has every right to insist that NFL clubs give HBCU prospects greater attention. Despite his outstanding 2021 season, Houston is expected to go undrafted, according to the NFL Mock Draft Database.
Sanders, on the other hand, should be aware of how the draft presently operates. The majority of clubs will always prioritize Power 5 talents, particularly those that excelled in the Big 10 and SEC. Alabama has had at least nine players picked in each of the previous five NFL selections for a reason.
Mid-major institutions, especially ones that consistently place in the Top 25, such as Cincinnati and UCF, will always be at a disadvantage when compared to Power Five schools. FCS colleges like Jackson State and North Dakota State are at a disadvantage even more. NDSU has only had three non-quarterbacks picked since 2015, despite being an FCS powerhouse.
Consider the following scenario: UCF, which is now in the American Conference, went 41-8 from 2017 to 20 and had 11 players chosen during that time. That’s not awful! Florida State and Miami (FL) are both members of the Atlantic Coast League (ACC), a Power Five conference. In that period, FSU went 21-26 (remember, not every college team in 2020 played a 12-game season due to the epidemic), while Miami went 31-19.
Because of the Knights’ dominance throughout that time, one would expect UCF to have considerably more players picked than either institution.
DeeJay Dallas, a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, runs against Florida State in 2019 | Getty Images/Don Juan Moore
Nope. In the 2018-21 drafts, Miami had 19 players taken, while FSU had 13. Why? If a team must choose between a player who thrived at the Group of Five level and an above-average — but not outstanding — starter from an ACC school, the ACC prospect has a better shot.
Let’s apply that mentality to Jackson State University. If a club has to choose between an excellent FCS talent player and an above-average starter from the American or Sun Belt, the G5 prospect is likely to be mentioned.
As unjust as it may seem, NFL clubs are unconcerned about fairness. While Sanders is dedicated to seeing more HBCU prospects drafted, the fact is that the odds are stacked against them from the moment they enroll at JSU.
Sanders gets credit for attempting to increase the number of HBCU players picked, and he doesn’t seem ready to give up just yet. Unfortunately for the famous cornerback, he’s fighting a losing war, and blasting NFL clubs that didn’t show up for JSU’s pro day won’t assist his teammates.
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