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NFL Draft 2015: Rutgers Football Stars Mock Draft

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Rutgers football had more players selected in the NFL Draft in 2013 than it did in the entire 1990s. Same thing goes for the 1970s. And it’s a tie with seven picks apiece in 2013 and the 1980s.

Since 2001, however, Rutgers has had 25 players drafted, with 21 of those coming from 2007-13.

Now, imagine if only those 25 players – and not some of the stars from decades past like Harry Swayne or Bill Pickel – made up the entire contents of one NFL Draft class. No other schools allowed.

Gannett New Jersey did just that and below is our Rutgers-only mock NFL Draft based on the following guidelines:

A) Players are drafted based on their college resumes, ignoring their later production in the NFL.

B) Allowance is made for current NFL Draft trends such as valuing quarterbacks, pass-rushers, wide receivers and defensive backs, and de-valuing running backs and linebackers.

C) This draft class is deep at some positions and shallow at others.

The first pick is on the clock…

1. RB Ray Rice (2008, Rd. 2, No. 55): After rewriting the Rutgers record book in just three years, Rice proved he wasn’t too small and didn’t have too many miles on his legs as a three-time Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens. He remains a free agent looking for a second chance after legal trouble.

2. OT Anthony Davis (2010, Rd. 1, No. 11): The highest draft pick in school history allowed 6.5 quarterback sacks and eight pressures on 699 pass plays in his three-year college career. Davis made 64 straight starts at right tackle for the San Francisco 49ers to open his career.

3. WR Kenny Britt (2009, Rd. 1, No. 30): In just three seasons, Britt became the Big East’s all-time leader with 3,043 receiving yards. Sixth among active NFL receivers with a career 15.7 yards per catch, Britt looks revitalized with the St. Louis Rams after a messy split from the Tennessee Titans.

4. DB Devin McCourty (2010, Rd. 1, No. 27): Excellent cover skills and special teams value as a returner and a kick blocker helped McCourty shoot up draft boards as a redshirt senior. He is one of only three players in NFL history to be named All-Pro as a cornerback and a safety.

5. WR Mohamed Sanu (2012, Rd. 3, No. 83): Nothing got past Sanu in 2011, when he made a Big East-record 115 catches, many of which were in traffic over the middle. A unique athlete who can run and pass, Sanu took a big step toward being a No. 2 wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals last season.

6. QB Mike Teel (2009, Rd. 6, No. 178): The four-year starter shed the game-manager label and used a strong arm and even better mental makeup to sling the ball during a career-ending eight-game winning streak that quieted early-season boo birds. He never played in a NFL regular-season game.

7. LB Khaseem Greene (2013, Rd. 4, No. 117): The two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year thrived in a defense where he could use his ex-safety skill set to chase down the ball and often strip it loose. Greene has gotten off to a slow start with the Chicago Bears as he was inactive for five games last year.

8. CB Logan Ryan (2013, Rd. 3, No. 83): A student of future New England Patriots teammates McCourty and Darrelle Revis, Ryan does not shy away in the run game but is at his best making plays on the ball by being physical with receivers. He has seven interceptions and 13 starts in his first 32 career games.

9. QB Mike McMahon (2001, Rd. 5, No. 149): Rutgers went 9-35 in McMahon’s four seasons but he still earned invites to two senior all-star games and the NFL Combine. He played 29 games for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles before finishing his career in the United and Canadian football leagues.

10. OL Zeremy Zuttah (2008, Rd. 3, No. 83): The four-year starter between tackle and guard did not give up a sack in his final two seasons at Rutgers. He spent six years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before reinventing himself as a 16-game starter at center for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

11. TE L.J. Smith (2003, Rd. 2, No. 61): The only true offensive playmaker on the first two teams of the Greg Schiano coaching era used his basketball body as a blocker and a pass-catcher. He played seven NFL seasons and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIX for the Philadelphia Eagles.

12. RB Brian Leonard (2007, Rd. 2, No. 52): The NFL doesn’t value fullbacks but, before he was Rice’s lead-blocker, Leonard was one of the most productive halfbacks in school history. His pass-catching ability allowed him to hang in the NFL as a hybrid back for eight seasons with four different teams.

13. CB Jason McCourty (2009, Rd. 6, No. 203): One of the best value picks ever to come out of Rutgers, McCourty didn’t have the chance to redshirt and blossom late like his twin brother. But he has started 63 of the last 64 games for the Tennessee Titans and is a borderline Pro Bowler.

14. CB Nate Jones (2003, Rd. 7, No. 205): The 2002 Co-Big East Special Teams Player of the Year was regarded as one of the top kick returners in the country but he played eight NFL seasons based on his ability as a sub package cornerback.

15. S Courtney Greene (2009, Rd. 7, No. 245): A tackling machine who made a then-school-record 51 consecutive starts at either strong or free safety for Rutgers, Greene played just three seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

16. WR Tiquan Underwood (2009, Rd. 7, No. 253): Playing opposite Britt for most of his career, Underwood made big plays down the seam and had sure hands. He had back-to-back seasons with 24 or more catches and more than 400 yards for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and 2013.

17. S Duron Harmon (2013, Rd. 3, No. 91): A stunning third-round pick on draft day, Harmon always was one of the smartest players on the field at Rutgers. His late-game end zone interception in the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs sealed a win on the road to a Super Bowl title for the New England Patriots.

18. LB Steve Beauharnais (2013, Rd. 7, No. 235): A mean streak runs through Beauharnais, who was stuffing the run and calling shots in the middle of the Rutgers defense as a true freshman. He played in three games last season for the Washington Redskins.

19. DE Raheem Orr (2004, Rd. 7, No. 210): The NFL places a premium on pass-rushers but Orr is the only one drafted from Rutgers in the 2000s. He led all Big East defensive linemen with 82 tackles, including 19.5 for loss and 8.5 for sacks, as a senior, but only played two career NFL games, both for the Giants.

20. CB Marcus Cooper (2013, Rd. 7, No. 252): Though he didn’t even start in Rutgers secondary as a senior and was waived by the San Francisco 49ers, Cooper had a brilliant rookie year for the Kansas City Chiefs before cooling off last season.

21. TE Clark Harris (2007, Rd. 7, No. 243): A three-time All-Big East performer and one of the best pass-catching tight ends in school history, Harris has spent eight years in the NFL thus far because of his ability to long snap.

22. TE D.C. Jefferson (2013, Rd. 7, No. 219): Just like Schiano once did when Jefferson was a prized quarterback recruit, the NFL fell for Jefferson’s physical tools, but the 6-foot-6 tight end lasted just one season with the Arizona Cardinals.

23. RB Jawan Jamison (2013, Rd. 7, No. 228): Forced to forego his final two years of eligibility for family reasons, the 1,000-yard rusher spent time with the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers but never played in a game.

24. RB Ryan D’Imperio (2010, Rd. 7, No. 237): A four-year starter at middle linebacker, D’Imperio converted to fullback and made two catches in 12 games for the 2011 Minnesota Vikings. He retired from the Giants practice squad in 2013.

25. OL Cameron Stephenson (2007, Rd. 5, No. 156): Not until his senior year did Stephenson make the permanent move to offensive line. He was seen as a possible sleeper but never played in a NFL game while spending time on five different rosters.

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