After all was said and done, cornerback Jalen Myrick was the only Golden Gopher player drafted in 2017. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Myrick in the seventh round, 222nd overall. In addition to being a skilled corner, Myrick can return punts and kicks, and ran a 4.28 forty-yard dash at the combine. He had 41 total tackles as a senior to go with one interception. Over his four year career he had 93 total tackles and five interceptions. 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year that a defensive back has been drafted out of Minnesota.
Myrick is the only defensive back Jacksonville took in the 2017 draft. He figures to come in and have a shot at left cornerback behind newly acquired free agent A.J. Bouye.
Among the eligible Gophers who weren’t drafted, two have signed so far as undrafted free agents: safety Damarius Travis with the defending champion New England Patriots, and offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig with the Tennessee Titans.
In addition, three undrafted Gophers received invitations to rookie mini-camps. Quarterback Mitch Leidner will attend the Baltimore Ravens rookie mini-camp. Should he sign there, he’ll be reunited with former Gopher tight end Maxx Williams. Wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky and linebacker Jack Lynn have both been invited to the Minnesota Vikings rookie mini-camp. Lynn has an invite to the Falcons’ as well, should the Vikings opt not to sign him.
While this may seem like a disappointing amount of NFL talent to turn out, keep in mind that Minnesota was a young team this year. In fact, the Gophers had just seven senior starters last season, and five have either been drafted, signed, or invited to mini-camps. Guys like running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, defensive tackle Steven Richardson, and linebacker Cody Poock are all coming back for the 2017 season. If new head coach P.J. Fleck turns out to be the home run hire he looks like now, there will definitely be more Gophers’ names called in the next couple of drafts.