NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former offensive linemen, Kadeem Edwards and Demetrius Rhaney, were selected on day three of the 2014 NFL Draft. Edwards, a native of Sanford, will return to the Sunshine State as the Bucs’ fourth selection in the draft, the 143rd pick overall. Rhaney waited until the seventh round and the 250th pick before the St. Louis Rams called his name.
The 2014 draft marks the first time since 2000 for two Tigers to go in the same draft. Tackle Michael Thompson was selected in the 4th round, #100, by the Atlanta Falcons, while WR Avion Black was taken 21 picks later by the Buffalo Bills.
The Tiger tandem helped the Ohio Valley Conference to the most selections for an FCS conference, with four. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo, Eastern Illinois, and wide receiver Walter Powell, Murray State, were picked by the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, respectively. The four selections were the most for the OVC since 1996 when five players were taken.
This past season, Edwards was named First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference after starting 13 games for the Tigers. He was the top offensive lineman for the Tigers who finished the season 10-4 overall, 6-2 and second place in the OVC.
Following his senior season, Edwards was invited to the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl and named an All-American by Beyond Sports Network, BOXTOROW, Sports Network, Heritage Sports Radio Network and to the Associated Press’s Second Team.
Rhaney played in all 12 games his senior campaign, starting 11 at center. At close to 300 pounds, Rhaney excelled at the TSU Pro Day as he clocked a 4.89 in the 40-yard dash and a shuttle time of 4.72. Rhaney impressed in the bench press, recording 24 reps and also hopped 29 inches in the vertical jump.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. product started 22 games for the Big Blue after transferring from Elsworth Community College. Rhaney was taken one pick after the Rams selected Missouri linebacker Michael Sam.
The frontline duo helped earn an at-large berth to the FCS Playoffs and blocked for Tim Broughton who rushed for 1,146 yards (25th-most nationally) and six touchdowns. They also protected a quarterback duo that combined for 26 passes touchdowns and only four interceptions.
After the draft, tight end, A.C. Leonard and safety David Van Dyke signed free agent contracts. Leonard inked with the Minnesota Vikings, while Van Dyke accepted a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Edwards and Rhaney are the first Tigers to be drafted since Javarris Williams in 2009.