For the first time since 1993, Virginia Tech did not have a single player selected in the NFL Draft. However, multiple Hokies have quickly found NFL opportunities including Ricky Walker and Yosuah Nijman.
DT Ricky Walker
The Hokies' star defensive tackle tweeted out that he will be signing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Injuries hampered Walker for much of his senior season but he still had strong numbers finishing the season with 49 tackles, 10.5 total tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 QB hurries, and 2 forced fumbles this season. Because of his play, Walker earned All-ACC Second Team honors.
Walker finished his career with 30.5 total tackles for loss and 8 sacks leaving a legacy of great production and leadership on and off the field.
Walker may have an uphill battle on paper as a slightly undersized DT on a Dallas that used a 2nd round pick on a DT, but the fact that he'll be 100% should help him a lot along with his leadership skills that will make him be someone any team wants to keep around.
Keep an eye on Walker as it wouldn't be surprising if he makes an NFL roster whether in Dallas or elsewhere.
OT Yosuah Nijman
Yosuah Nijman seemed like the Hokie with the best chance to be drafted but despite not being drafted, Nijman quickly found an opportunity with the Green Bay Packers.
Nijman was a four-year starter for the Hokies with injuries causing him to miss 7 games over the past 2 seasons. Despite that, Nijman was fairly consistent with his absence being quite well-noticed in the 2017 season.
Nijman is entering an interesting situation in Green Bay as the Packers have traditionally kept a few undrafted free agents on their 53-man roster. The Packers also have plenty of need all over the offensive line and given how the Packers spent a singular pick on an interior offensive lineman, the opportunity is there for Nijman to earn a roster spot as a rotational offensive line.
One thing that may help Nijman is the fact that he has shown versatility moving to right tackle this past season. Combine that with Bryan Bulaga getting older and having some injury issues, and there is definitely potential for Nijman to not only earn a spot, but be developed into a potential future starter for the Packers.
It may be a disappointment for Nijman to not be drafted, but the situation he has landed in is more than ideal for the Hokies' four-year starting offensive tackle.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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