One way you measure the success of a football program is by how often they put players into the NFL. Getting someone to that level involves recruiting the talent, developing the player, and hopefully winning a few games along the way.
By that Measure Buffalo football is coming along, but it still has some work to do. Make no mistake 2010 was a 'banner' year for UB Football with three players from the class of 2009 ending the season on NFL Rosters.
James Starks, who was the only Bull to be drafted, landed on the Super Bowl Champion Packers. Naaman Roosevelt fought through a camp, the scout team, and the depth chart to get some time with the Bills. Finally there was Mike Newton who was a role player for most of the season with the Colts.
At the Combine Starks was in the top five or so backs in multiple drills somewhat dulling the worry teams might have about the shoulder injury that ended his college career.
This Season Josh Thomas will be UB's lone representative to the combine. For the fifth year in a row UB places a player at the NFL showcase event. The Bulls have yet to place more than one player at the combine but the players who have made it to the combine have ended up on NFL Rosters.
Buffalo Bulls at the NFL Combine
|2010||James Starks||6th Round:Packers||Green Bay|
|2008||Jamie Richard||7th Round:Colts||Colts|
|2007||Chad Upshaw||UDFA:Panthers||Badalona Dracs|
Thomas came to Buffalo at a time when the Bulls found talent by seeking out the players flying under the radar. His senior season he was selected first-team All-District selection at Cedar Hill HS. He racked up 109 tackles, five pass breakups, four interceptions and a fumble recovery during his final year. Thomas set school records for 40-yard dash, vertical jump and the 300-meter hurdles record.
By the end of his freshman year Thomas had earned the starting job. He played in eleven games, starting four of them. He held onto that position for the next three seasons and was a key player durin UB's 2008 title run. It was Thomas who forced the fumble returned by Mike Newton for a touchdown against Ball State in the MAC Championship game.
In the UB Record Book Thomas ranks seventh all time in passes defended and sixth in forced fumbles. He did this while sharing the defensive backfield with Davonte Shannon and Dominic Cook who both have their own places in the record books.
Currently most NFL drafting scout site are projecting cook as a late seventh rounder. He is "on the bubble" in the NFL draft and a good showing at the combine would go a long way towards keeping him in the seventh or pushing him into the sixth round. A poor showing could push him inot the role of undrafted free agent.