The latest on the second and third rounds of the NFL draft on Friday night. (all times EDT):
Maybe known more for brains than brawn, Northwestern showed more than its academics on the first night of the NFL draft.
For the first time in school history, the Wildcats had two players selected in the first round as offensive lineman Rashawn Slater was picked by the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 13, and cornerback Greg Newsome II went to the Cleveland Browns at 26.
Northwestern also ended a long first-round drought. Before Slater’s selection, the previous Wildcat player to be taken in the first round was defensive tackle Luis Castillo in 2005.
Newsome was proud to show that Northwestern belongs with some of college football’s big boys.
“It says that we are not just an academic institution but we produce players, as well,” said the 20-year-old, who was the fourth cornerback selected.
“That is something that we have been trying to tell the world for a while now. People always when they think of Northwestern, they just think of smart athletes who do not have instincts and do not have the ability to play at the next level at a very elite level.
“Now recruits will be able to finally realize that they can get a top-10 academic path but also they can get to the NFL at a very elite level.”
The NFL draft isn’t only about picking players.
Hours before the second round started, Commissioner Roger Goodell helped the Browns break ground for the installation of a new synthetic athletic field in East Cleveland.
It’s the 10th field installed in Ohio by the Browns, who launched an initiative to upgrade facilities five years ago. In addition to football, the fields are lined for multiple sports.
“It is so important to do things for our kids and to have an opportunity for each of us to help one another and have an impact,” Goodell said at the ceremony, which was attended by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
“The Haslam family not only is extraordinary in this community but in the broader community in the NFL. They are about their communities; they give back to their communities; and I know they make a difference so I would like to thank the Haslam family for all that they do.”
While Commissioner Roger Goodell was busy announcing the names of players from Alabama (six) and the SEC (12) in the first round of the NFL draft, a bunch of schools that usually provide big-time prospects were blanked.
That figures to change mightily with the second and third rounds being conducted Friday night. But so far, the Big 12, which includes such powers as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas, has been blanked.
Don’t look for anyone from Auburn, Texas A&M or either of the Mississippi schools having gone despite the dozen SEC players selected.
Florida State? Nope. Michigan State? Nah. Stanford, UCLA or either Arizona school? Sorry.
North Carolina or North Carolina State or Wake Forest or Duke. That entire state went empty in the first round.
Yet Northwestern had two players taken, Tulsa had one, and North Dakota State of the FCS saw quarterback Trey Lance taken third overall by San Francisco.
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