Football: ‘Cats among draft hopefuls

Tim Richer

Three Villanovans will have their eyes on Radio City Music Hall in New York City this weekend. They will be watching the 2007 NFL Draft, anxiously waiting with hopes of getting their names called.

Quarterback Marvin Burroughs, safety Allyn Bacchus and center Christian Gaddis, the three tri-captions of the 2006 Villanova football team, stand a chance of being selected in the seven-round collegiate draft held this weekend.

No Villanova player has been selected in the draft since 2002 when the Philadelphia Eagles selected running back Brian Westbrook in the third round with the 91st overall selection.

“I think Christian [Gaddis] stands the best chance of getting drafted,” Head Coach Andy Talley said. “All of the scouts that have come in really like him. They think he is as athletic as any center in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were a late-round pick.”

Gaddis, a 300-pound lineman from North Miami Beach, Fla., was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team as a junior in 2005 and the First Team last season as a senior.

Among the other Wildcats in the draft are offensive lineman Michael Costanzo, running back DeQuese May and defensive back Terrence Reaves. None of the three are expected to be selected.

If they are not drafted, NFL teams could still sign the players as free agents to participate in their mini-camps this summer.

Two Villanova graduates from the 2005 class, wide receiver J.J. Outlaw and defensive end Darrell Adams, signed free agent contracts with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets, respectively, after going undrafted in the 2006 draft. Both players currently remain under contract with their teams.

Both Bacchus and Burroughs are represented by Ed Wasielewski at EMG Sports. Wasielewski, a ’95 Villanova graduate, is not making any promises to his clients.

“Allyn [Bacchus] is looking at either a late-round selection or free agency,” Wasielewski said. “You really never know who will get drafted … Marvin [Burroughs] is more of a developmental player, so we will see.”

Bacchus, a leader on defense, finished the season with a team-high 103 tackles. He was a unanimous selection for the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team in 2006.

“He is smart, young and not afraid to put his hat on you,” Wasielewski said. “He’s aggressive and instinctive.”

Burroughs’ strongest asset is his mobility. He was third on the team with 326 rushing yards, including six rushing touchdowns.

Although noted for his running ability during his time at Villanova, Burroughs also had a successful passing career. Over his four years, he threw for a total of 36 touchdowns while only giving up 23 interceptions. His sophomore season was his most successful; he threw for 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

“He’s a bigger quarterback,” Wasielewski said of his 6-foot-1-inch, 215-pound client. “He needs to prove that he’s consistent, because he has all of the tools. He can make the tough throws and create more time with his feet.”

Out of the 255 players that will be drafted on Saturday and Sunday, most will be taken from schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division IA football). Just 21 players in 2006 were selected from non-FBS schools. Villanova is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division IAA football).

For the three Villanova standouts that hope to be drafted, they know that there are no guarantees this weekend.

“Be happy that you have a Villanova degree and be prepared to use it,” Talley said when asked what advice he gave to his seniors in the draft. “Pro football is a long shot.”