Why HBCU Players Were Overlooked in the 2021 NFL Draft

Posted by Montana Branch on

 

As you may or may not know, the 2021 NFL Draft took place in late April where the NFL selected newly eligible players to compete in the 2021 season. Unfortunately, not one HBCU player was drafted this year out of 259 picks. One main reason for this is due to COVID-19 resulting in the cancellation and delay of many colleges 2020-2021 season. Consequently, HBCU prospects were not able to showcase their talents to the best of their ability.

Some bigger institutions were able to play their full season last fall, including powerhouse programs, which ultimately made 96.5% of this year’s draft. However, the absence of HBCU players in the draft is not anything new. In 2020, Tennessee State tackle, Lachavious Simmons, was selected as 227th overall pick in the seventh round making him the only HBCU player to be drafted in 2020. In 2019, Alabama State’s, Tytus Howard, was selected 23rd overall by the Houston Texans and All-Pro linebacker, Darius Leonard was drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. Yet, this year not one HBCU player made a roster which left many feeling frustrated.

Head coach of the Jackson State Tigers, Deion Sanders, commented, ‘I witnessed a multitude of kids we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted. My prayers are that this won’t EVER happen again.’ Sanders calls on HBCU programs to work together to showcase these talented football players so that they are no longer ‘neglected and rejected.’ Although the unprecedented pandemic played a huge role this year, we hope to see more HBCU players on the NFL roster this summer and in the 2022 draft.

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