Two of the best players in Black College Football — a star linebacker and overpowering offensive lineman — were taken on the second night of the 2018 NFL Draft.
South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard was taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts Friday night.
Leonard was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year in two f his four seasons at South Carolina State, leading the league with 113 tackles and two interceptions last season. The FCS All-American earned an invite to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
Projected as a future NFL starter at his position, the 6-foot-2, 234-pound senior was evaluated as “long and twitchy with athletic ability and straight-line speed that should light up the combine, according to an NFL.com scouting report. “Leonard has packed on the pounds since hitting campus, but it hasn’t compromised his play speed as he has posted dominant production throughout.”
An unidentified AFC scout said this about Leonard prior to the draft:
“He’s a good worker and good learner and I think he has a chance to be a war daddy once he has an NFL training table and strength program behind him.”
In the third round, the Oakland Raiders used the No. 65th overall pick to snag North Carolina A&T tackle Brandon Parker.
Called a sleeper by some draft experts, Parker was three-time first team All-MEAC, three-time MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year, second team All-American in 2016, first team All-American this past season.
Draft analysts had raved about his size (6-foot-8, 308 pounds) and athleticism that was on display during his time at North Carolina A&T.
Another OT to the #Raiders, North Carolina A&T’s Brandon Parker. Strong week at the Senior Bowl: Good athlete for his size; runs well, shows good lateral agility and recovery.
— Pro Football Weekly (@PFWeekly) April 28, 2018
“Parker’s high center of gravity creates some athletic challenges for him, but he possesses the physical traits that teams are willing to draft and coach up,” and NFL.com draft report read.