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Alexander, Gwacham, Murphy Round Out OSU Draft Class

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Oregon St.'s D.J.Alexander picks off a pass against Colorado. His senior season play also enabled him to pick off an NFL Draft selection.
Oregon St.'s D.J.Alexander picks off a pass against Colorado. His senior season play also enabled him to pick off an NFL Draft selection.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)

3 more Oregon St. defensive players were selected in the final 3 rounds of the NFL draft today, rounding out a 5 person draft class that began with quarterback Sean Mannion, who went to St. Louis in the 3rd round, and cornerback Steven Nelson, taken in the 4th round by Kansas City.

Linebacker D.J. Alexander will be joining Nelson in Kansas City, after the Chiefs took him late in the 4th round, with the 36th pick, the 4th of 8 compensatory picks at the end of the round, and the 172 pick overall.

Defensive End Obum Gwacham was selected by Seattle, with the 33rd pick in the 6th round, the first of 9 compensatory picks, and the 209th pick overall.

Finally, safety Ryan Murphy, will join Gwacham in Seattle, as the Seahawks selected him with the 31st pick in the 7th and final round, and the 248th pick overall.

All 3 are "feel-good" stories for some Beavers who worked their way into NFL draftee status.

Alexander, at 6'2" & 233 lbs., was fast, and always had the look of a next level player, but struggled throughout his high school and collegiate career with stingers, never able to play a complete season. Doctors finally identified a bone spur, and Alexander had surgery days before the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, missing the game.

The problem was solved, and Alexander had his best year as a part of a senior linebacking corp that was the best position group on the Oregon St. defense, possibly the entire team, last season.

The 6'5", and now 246 lb., Gwachum was highly heralded and anticipated as a wide receiver when he arrived in Corvallis. But the highly athletic Gwachum never gelled as a wide receiver, and was generally considered either one of the biggest busts, or at least one of the biggest coaching failures in some time at Oregon St.

This was particularly puzzling, given that Gwacham, who was also a notable high jumper who would reach the NCAA National Meet, was generally considered one of the hardest workers on the team, highly coachable, and a great team guy.

But the "do anything to help the team" attitude Gwacham displayed first earned him several special team assignments, where he made some tackles and graded out well. This inspired then Oregon St. head coach MIke Riley to make the strangest of position changes, from wide receiver to defensive end. This despite the fact that Gwacham had never played on the defensive side of the ball, or with his hand on the ground.

Obum Gwacham Quinn Kaehler

His speed and length led to his playing his way into the rotation, some sacks, including one in last year's San Diego St. game, above, and now, a chance to make it with the Seahawks.

Ryan Murphy

Murphy, above picking off a pass at Stanford, one of his 7 career picks, will get the chance to join the "Legion of Boom" in Seattle, after a solid career, with multiple years as the starter, but never the most heralded member of the Beaver secondary, that at times also featured Jordan Poyer, Rashaad Reynolds, and Nelson, all now in the league.

A 3 year starter, Murphy also had a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown against USC last year, and his special teams abilities will be a factor in making the roster of the Seahawks, who have been to the last 2 Super Bowls.

The first recently graduating Beaver to be signed as an undrafted free agent is Dylan Wynn, who will be joining former Oregon St. receiver Markus Wheaton as a Cleveland Brown.

Wynn, who played primarily at defensive end for 4 years for the Beavers, but who also popped up at times at defensive tackle, and even nose guard, is considered undersized at 6'2", and 275 lbs., but is also well regarded for his endless motor, and durability (Wynn never missed a game despite being "undersized"), and as such, became a value/bargain signing.

The Browns assembled an impressive array of Pac-12 talent, taking Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton in the first round, Utah defensive end Nate Orchard in the second round, Washington St. defensive tackle Xavier Cooper in the third round, Cougar wide receiver Vince Mayle in the fourth round, USC tight end Randall Telfer in the 6th round, and both USC linebacker Hayes Pullard and Oregon corner back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in the seventh round.

One additional former Oregon St. player has already earned an invite to an NFL training camp, as running back Malcolm Agnew, who transferred to Southern Illinois be closer to his Chicago area home and family, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers.

UPDATE:

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed Oregon St. tight end Connor Hamlet to an undrafted free agent contract as well.

Hamlett was a multi-year starter at tight end for the Beavers, and finished his collegiate career with 104 career receptions, 3rd in Oregon St. history, and 1,109 receiving yards, 5th all time at OSU.

Also, at least for a while, there will be a Beaver running back in Atlanta again. The Falcons released both Stephen Jackson and Jaquizz Rodgers (who quickly was resigned by the Chicago Bears) this past off-season, but have signed Terron Ward to a free agent rookie contract.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com