Stanford Draft Recap: Day Three
Stanford led the Pac-12 with six players selected in the 2014 draft, but it was arguably one of the Cardinal's undrafted players that made the biggest news of the day. A projected mid-round choice, Stanford inside linebacker Shayne Skov was not selected. Skov's slide was a hot topic on social media - he was a trending topic on Twitter in both the United States and Mexico - and the source of a fair bit of confusion.
Several teams did reach out to Skov following the draft, however, and the inside linebacker ultimately decided to reunite with Vic Fangio and Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco and sign with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent.
Don't know where the whole Oakland thing came from... But I'm headed to the 49ers, gunna make my mark in this league before it's all over- Gojira ゴジラ Skov (@ShayneSkov) May 11, 2014
Earlier in the day, offensive tackle Cam Fleming became the second Stanford player to be chosen in this year's draft when the New England Patriots tabbed him in the fourth round with the No. 140 overall pick.
"I was excited," Fleming said. "I was excited to play for such a great organization. I was very happy to be chosen by them."
New England has established starters at left and right tackle in Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, respectively. Fleming could add depth at right tackle, but there's also a chance New England tries him out at guard; Fleming said that the Patriots haven't indicated where he will play, but that he's open to either spot.
"I haven't heard anything so far," Fleming said. "I'm going to go there and play wherever they put me and learn from these guys. You said they have two great tackles. I know they do. Just to get a chance to learn from them and see what the NFL is all about."
Yankey to the Vikings: David Yankey's draft wait ended early in the fifth round when the Minnesota Vikings selected him with the No. 145 overall pick. Yankey remained on the board longer than many analysts expected, but he wasn't surprised that he wasn't an early-round pick.
"Honestly, some of that stuff in the media, talking with my agent I was expecting a little bit later than what most people were projecting," Yankey said. "I'm just excited to land with the Vikings, honestly."
Yankey had a formal interview with Minnesota at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Vikings' contingent included offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, father of current Stanford offensive lineman Nick Davidson.
In Minnesota, Yankey will be coached by Davidson and have a chance to block for arguably the NFL's best running back, Adrian Peterson.
"I'm excited, man," Yankey said of blocking for Peterson. "I'm excited. I've watched that guy just explode on Sunday's for the past couple of years. To get a chance to play with him and block for him and see him do some of that magical stuff in person is exciting."
Kelly drafts Reynolds: For the second straight year, former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles drafted a Stanford product. After selecting Zach Ertz last year, the Eagles tabbed Ed Reynolds in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.
"(He's) big, physical, 6-foot-1, 207," Chip Kelly said. "(He's) extremely intelligent, another high football lQ guy. He'll do a good job in terms of what we're looking for in a safety quarterbacking the defense backs, getting us lined up, putting us in the right positions. (He) could have gone back for another year at Stanford… I think probably would have been picked a little bit higher if he went back for another year… (We're) really happy to get him."
"I think he was really exposed to a really, really good defensive system at Stanford. That's going to help him transition to the NFL a little bit easier than some other guys."
Reynolds left Stanford with one year of eligibility remaining to join the professional ranks. In an interview with the Eagles' official website, he explained why.
"I had one more year that I could have taken," Reynolds said. "I experienced a knee injury going into my sophomore year. I came back as healthy, even healthier than (before) I got hurt. Then I came out and had the electrifying year that I had my redshirt sophomore year with six interceptions, three touchdowns, 301 return yards. And decided that this last year I was going to come back and like I've been saying, honing my craft making sure that I become a better consistent football player in the sense of tackling, communication, making sure I make sure everyone gets lined up. After this past season I felt that I did that. (I became a) better tackler. My tackling went from I think had 47 tackles my first year (as a starter) to 88 tackles this past season. And just being able to keep working on my football IQ, breaking down film, things that I felt like I needed to learn in college before making that jump, I felt like I did that. So when the opportunity came when I could make that decision to turn pro, I did that."
Gaffney to Carolina: For the second straight year, a Stanford running back was chosen in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Gaffney follows in the footsteps of Stepfan Taylor, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013.
"I'm stoked," Gaffney said. "This is a great opportunity. They're a great program. I love the area. I've had familiar run-ins with Coach Rivera because his kids went to my high school. I'm glad to be a part of the Carolina Panthers."
Gaffney, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball in 2012 and played a year of Minor League Baseball, said that his focus lies squarely with the Panthers and pursuing an NFL career.
"This is my love," Gaffney said. "This is what I want. This is why I came back, just for an opportunity to play a sport you love for your career. I'm glad the Carolina Panthers came through to give me that chance."
Gardner a Cowboy: The final Stanford draft selection was defensive end Ben Gardner, who went to the Cowboys in the 7th round.
If Dallas didn't snag Gardner, there's a good chance former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers would have.
"It was a thrill to hear from Mr. (Jerry) Jones," Gardner told a Dallas radio station. "It's been a long day. The 7th round was shaping up, we thought that San Francisco was going to take me if Dallas didn't, so I'm glad I ended up in Dallas."
Several undrafted Cardinal players signed with NFL teams after the draft on Saturday afternoon as free agents.
Josh Mauro to the Pittsburgh Steelers
When you sleep on a beast just be ready for a rude awakening #DifferentChapterSameRoad #SteelCurtain- Josh Mauro (@JustJoshin90) May 10, 2014
Devon Carrington to the Steelers
Growing up as a kid there was only one team we watched on tv, the @steelers I can only thank The Lord for this opportunity #BlacknYellow- D.C. (@DevonCarrington) May 10, 2014
Ryan Hewitt to the Cincinnati Bengals
Pursuing an opportunity with the Cincinnati Bengals!! Excited to compete, earn a spot, and win some ball games!- Ryan Hewitt (@Huey_85) May 11, 2014
Anthony Wilkerson to the Indianapolis Colts (unconfirmed)