Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Colorado has produced a lot of good cornerbacks over the years, but in the last 15 years not many have gone on to be NFL draft picks. Here’s a list of the most recent CU cornerbacks to be selected in the draft:
2011 – Jimmy Smith, first round, Baltimore
2011 – Jalil Brown, fourth round, Kansas City
2008 – Terrence Wheatley, second round, New England
2003 – Donald Strickland, third round, Indianapolis
2000 – Damen Wheeler, sixth round, San Diego
1999 – Marcus Washington, sixth round, New England
1996 – T.J. Cunningham, sixth round, Seattle
1995 – Chris Hudson, third round, Jacksonville
1994 – Dennis Collier, seventh round, Chicago
1993 – Dean Figures, first round, Pittsburgh
1993 – Ronnie Bradford, fourth round, Miami
In the past, Kenneth Crawley never spent much time watching the NFL draft.
This week, however, he will be a very interested observer.
The former Colorado cornerback is among several CU draft hopefuls this week, and he’s hoping to not only hear his own name called but the names of many of his friends.
“This year will be my first time watching the whole draft, and I’m going to watch the whole draft,” Crawley said. “I’ve trained with a lot of great friends. Hopefully, I’m going to see those guys go in the early rounds.”
Crawley isn’t likely to go in the early rounds, but he is expecting to hear his name at some point during the three-day draft, which starts Thursday. Along with receiver Nelson Spruce and offensive lineman Stephane Nembot, Crawley is among the Buffs most likely to get drafted.
Crawley said most are projecting him to go in the fourth or fifth round, with the worst-case scenario being the seventh round. On Monday, several teams called him to confirm they had the right phone number for him, just in case they need to call this weekend.
In recent weeks, he has had private workouts with the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens, and also visited the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. Crawley said the Denver Broncos also have expressed interest during the process.
“The whole process has been a long process, a stressful process,” he said. “At the same time, these are the moments that you’re supposed to cherish and I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment and this day coming up soon.
“I’m just blessed. I’m still working to try to stay in shape and hopefully I land in the right coordinator’s hands.”
Crawley had a solid but not spectacular career at Colorado. He was beaten for touchdowns more than CU fans wanted to see, but those were the plays that get highlighted the most. He was often very good in coverage and made key plays for the Buffs.
NFL scouts love Crawley’s 6-foot frame and his physical nature and believe he has potential to shine in the NFL. He has also been knocked for being too skinny and for giving up plays.
“A lot of scouts say I get nervous when the ball is in the air,” he said. “They said I don’t track it well enough.”
That’s something he believes he improved on this offseason, and he also showed scouts he can gain weight. After playing at 175-180 pounds last season, Crawley has bulked up to 187.
After months of working out, interviewing with teams and doing his best to audition for the NFL, Crawley is now ready to hear his name called.
“I’m anxious, because I can’t wait to get back out there and play football,” he said. “That’s my biggest thing is to get it over with and just fly and play. I’ve been away from football for a long time and I’m just ready to play.”
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.