The NFL Draft this week will bring back a lot of memories for some Stateline natives. The fortunate few who themselves were once selected by NFL teams.
It was just last year that Boylan graduate and Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry was selected by the Packers. He went in the fourth round, the 137th pick overall.
“It was a great (phone) call. It was surreal,! said Lowry right after he was selected. “The Packers are a first class organization so to be a part of the Packers is an honor.”
There was an 11 year gap between Lowry and the previous Stateline man who was drafted. In 2005 Byron’s Sean Considine a safety and an Iowa Hawkeye was taken by the Eagles with the first pick in the fourth round. He was the 102nd player chosen overall.
“A lot of things (went through my mind). I had heard as a third or fourth round guy, you know it ended up working out pretty well,” said Considine at the time. “The first pick of the fourth round I’m definitely not disappointed or anything like that. I’d rather not have had to wait an extra day but it all worked out and I’m looking forward to being an Eagle.”
In 2001 Guilford tackling machine Carlos Polk a linebacker out of Nebraska went to the Chargers. He was also taken in the fourth round, 112th overall.
“You know it’s still unbelievable to me. I’m living out all….a little boys’ dreams so now I’ve just got to make the best of it,” said Polk to Eyewitness News.
In 1997 Boylan graduate and Northwestern linebacker Tim Scharf was drafted by Bill Parcells and the New York Jets.
1987 saw two local men selected. Belvidere’s Mike Junkin, a middle linebacker out of Duke went in the first round the fifth pick overall to the Browns.
That same year Jefferson’s Leonard Bell went in the draft after a standout college career as a defensive back at Indiana. Bell was taken by the Bengals in the third round, 76th overall.
The ’70s saw several East E-Rabs selected. In 1979 Stuart Walker was taken by the Falcons in the 12th round. Walker played linebacker and defensive line at Colorado.
Also in 1979 Walker’s East teammate Jerry Holloway, a tight end who played at Western Illinois went in the tenth round to the St. Louis Cardinals.
A third East E-Rab went in the ’79 draft. Running back Ira Matthews was selected by the Oakland Raiders. He went in the sixth round after playing college ball at Wisconin.
Two Other E-Rabs were drafted in 1975. Quarterback Mitch Anderson who played college ball at Northwestern, was drafted in the 17th round by the Falcons.
And running back Jerry Latin, an NIU Huskie, went in the 11th round to the Cardinals.
Here is a list of other Stateline natives who were taken in the NFL Draft:
1970 Seth Miller DB (Auburn/Arizona St.) 8th round #195 by Falcons
1967 Preston Pearson DB/RB (Freeport/Illinois) 12th round #298 by Colts
1961 Marshall Starks DB (Rockford West/Illinois) 8th round #106 by St. Louis Cardinals
1960 Jerry Stalcup LB (East/Wisconsin) 6th round #62 by Rams
1952 Stanley Campbell G (Rochelle/Iowa State) 18th round #213 by Lions
1949 Al Mastrangeli C (East/Illinois) 13th round #123 overall by Packers
The First Draft Was in 1936 so the following players weren’t drafted:
1926 Rex Enright FB (Rockford Central RABS/Notre Dame) by Packers (played FB for Packers in 1926, 1927)
1922 Lawrence Wahlquist QB (Rockford Central/Illinois) played for Bears
1920 Harry “Skin” Englund TE (Rockford Central/Played semipro instead of college) first played for the Staleys (which became the Bears)
Other Notables Undrafted (signed with teams as undrafted free agents and had tryouts or in the case of Troy Drake made teams and played)
2012: Derek Dimke K (Boylan/Illinois) was in camp with Lions, Bucs, Saints.
2007: Joe Lobdell OT (Le-Win/N. Iowa) signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent. Was on the Chiefs
practice squad in 2007-2008.
2005: Patrick Babcock OT (Stillman/Illinois) undrafted and went to Browns camp but was cut.
2002: Chris Finlen QB (Hononegah/NIU) went to camps with Saints in 2003, signed with Jets in 2004 and Saints again in 2005 but never made the teams.
1997-John Moyer DE (Le-Win/Eastern Illinois)-signed as undrafted free agent by Colts but waived before the season.
1995-Troy Drake OT (Byron/Indiana) signed as undrafted free agent by Eagles in ’95. Played 4 years with Eagles/Redskins
1994-Lenny Williams QB (Guilford/Northwestern) worked out for Falcons, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bears but didn’t make any teams. Played in CFL.