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Boston College football had its best season in three years in 2013, finishing with a winning record and seeing postseason action for the first time since 2011, and winning more games (seven) than in 2011 and ’12 combined (six). However, no Eagle had his name called in either of the first two days of the NFL Draft. On the third day, four BC players were taken, making this edition of the Draft the most successful for BC since 1995, when there were also four Eagles draftees (Mike Mamula, Pete Mitchell, Stephen Boyd and that year’s Mr. Irrelevant Michael Reed).
The unquestionable star of last year’s team, running back Andre Williams, was the first to come off the board, with the 13th pick of the fourth round (113th overall), to the New York Giants. Williams had a phenomenal senior season, rushing for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns, and finishing fourth in the Heisman voting and winning the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top RB. He was also a consensus All-American along with Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, who outplayed Williams in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl and was drafted by the Bears four picks after Williams.
Now back in his home state with the Giants, Williams will join a backfield that may prove less competitive than the big names suggest. Peyton Hillis is coming off a disappointing 2013 season after taking the league by storm early in his career and David Wilson underwent career-threatening neck surgery in January, which leaves the newly signed Rashad Jennings as the prospective starter. Williams could end up having plenty of touches in New York.
With the 32nd selection of the fourth round, 132nd overall, the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks took linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, a four-year starter for the Eagles. As a senior, Pierre-Louis earned First Team All-ACC honors thanks to his 108 tackles, six sacks and his first career interception, which he returned 33 yards for a score in a November 2 win over Virginia Tech.
Pierre-Louis has the best chance of the four draftees to reach the postseason as a rookie, although whether he will see significant snaps remains to be seen. While the Seahawks defense produced three Pro Bowlers last year, all three were defensive backs. At the LB position, Pierre-Louis will be behind Bruce Irvin, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner on the depth chart in Seattle’s 4-3 defense.
Two more Eagles went in the seventh round: kicker Nate Freese with the 14th pick (229 overall) to the Lions and defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey with the 28th (243 overall) to the 49ers. Freese was one of only two kickers taken in the Draft – the other, Arkansas’s Zach Hocker, was selected by the Redskins just one pick ahead of him. Freese was a perfect 20-for-20 on field goal attempts as a senior, including two makes of more than 50 yards, and finished with an even 100 points scored for Boston College. More good news for Freese: since Detroit didn’t re-sign veteran David Akers, that leaves undrafted Giorgio Tavecchio of California as his only competitor in camp.
Ramsey, for his part, is something of a long shot to make it big in the NFL. He had 28 tackles and two sacks in 2013, his sixth season of college football due to several injuries. He had shown plenty of promise with 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2010, and apparently the Niners saw enough to use the first of their two seventh-round picks on him. Still, the competition will be stiff on what has been one of the league’s top defenses in recent years.
Also in the seventh round, and taken one pick behind Freese, was UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Leominster native was a rare bright spot in the two seasons since the Minutemen moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, totaling 777 yards and five TDs on 70 receptions in 2012 and ’13. In Pittsburgh, he will join a tight end group that’s led by two-time Pro Bowler Heath Miller.