After a long run of Boilermaker success in the NFL Draft, a streak has come to an end. Since 1997, Purdue football has had at least one player drafted to the NFL.
That didn’t happen on Saturday night, but many of the team’s fifth-year seniors were instead picked up by teams as undrafted free agents.
Former quarterback David Blough signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns immediately after the draft ended. In the months leading up to the draft, the Browns brought Blough to Cleveland for a workout. The Browns are currently led by Baker Mayfield, the number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“When I look at (Mayfield), I see some of his traits in me. We’re a similar build, we’re competitive and we’re passers first and foremost,” Blough told Mike Carmin of the Journal & Courier. “I like to see guys who look like me, play like me in a sense have some success. That’s what excites me about my opportunity there.”
The Browns also have quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert and Drew Stanton on their roster. Blough will have great targets to catch his passes as he tries to make the roster, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry being the Browns’ best receivers.
Over his four-year career as a starter, Blough completed 61% of passes for 9,734 yards, averaging 11.2 yards per completion. He threw 69 touchdown passes, which ranks third all-time at Purdue behind Drew Brees (90) and Mark Hermann (71), and 43 interceptions, which is fourth most of all time behind Hermann (75), Curtis Painter (46) and Brees (45).
Safety Jacob Thieneman also signed an undrafted free agent contract immediately after the draft with the New York Giants.
Others to sign with NFL teams were center Kirk Barron (Miami Dolphins), tight end Cole Herdman (Baltimore Ravens), wide receiver Terry Wright (Seattle Seahawks), running back D.J. Knox (Philadelphia Eagles), cornerback Antonio Blackmon (Chicago Bears) and kicker Spencer Evans (Chicago Bears).
In just two years as a Boilermaker after transferring from Baylor, Evans has found himself at the top of the career field goal percentage list, hitting 76.5% of his field goal attempts at Purdue.
The draft streak began in 1998 when Brian Alford was drafted in the third round to the Giants. Other notable players drafted during the streak were Brees in 2001 (San Diego Chargers), Kyle Orton in 2005 (Chicago Bears), Rob Ninkovich in 2006 (New Orleans Saints), Ryan Kerrigan in 2011 (Washington Redskins), Kawann Short in 2013 (Carolina Panthers) and Ricardo Allen in 2014 (Atlanta Falcons).
The last Boilermaker drafted was former linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley in 2018 to the New England Patriots, the team with which he won the 2019 Super Bowl.