Five other Bison head to minicamp
Getting a chance to play in the NFL is every football player’s dream. Every year more and more North Dakota State players are getting the chance to live that dream.
This year was no different, and four more NDSU players will be putting on the pro pads this fall.
The first NDSU player to find an NFL home was quarterback Easton Stick. Easton was drafted in the fifth round this past weekend as the 166th overall pick and will be playing for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Stick is the second NDSU quarterback to be drafted since 2016. Carson Wentz was drafted second overall in 2016 by the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the Eagles went 7-9 in his rookie season, Wentz showed enough to get Eagles fans excited for the future.
However, Stick won’t be jumping into the starting role like Wentz. In fact, he probably won’t even be the No. 2 quarterback for the Chargers.
As of right now, the Chargers are led by Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers, 37, has been on the team since 2004, but some are wondering how many years he has left.
Following Rivers on the quarterback depth chart is Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has been making his way around the NFL, but hasn’t found a true home yet. He is currently on a two-year deal with the Chargers.
This puts Stick third, but it doesn’t seem like the Chargers are too attached to Taylor. This means Stick could be there to replace him and maybe eventually Rivers.
Rivers has a few more solid seasons left in him, and this would give Stick a few years to shadow under the Pro Bowler. This would give the Chargers time to see if Stick is fit to be an NFL starter. If he’s not, they will still have a chance to draft or pick up a better replacement.
If all goes well, Stick could end up being the second starting NFL quarterback from NDSU. He was able to replace Wentz, who is an NFL starter, so who’s to say he can’t do the same with Rivers? Otherwise, he could definitely spend some time as a solid backup for most NFL teams.
One other consideration to take is Stick’s athleticism. Anyone who’s been to an NDSU football game knows that Stick can run. His 40-yard dash time of 4.62 seconds beat the average time for NFL quarterbacks. The Chargers could utilize Stick’s speed the same way the New Orleans Saints did last season with quarterback/special teams hybrid Taysom Hill.
The Saints consistently used Hill as a Swiss Army knife in their offense. He ran plays ranging from quarterback sneaks, passes and a plethora of unique trick plays. It was a move that turned a lot of heads in the NFL, so maybe the Chargers are going to try their hand at it.
Stick won’t be alone in LA either. Going with him as an undrafted free agent will be center Tanner Volson.
Volson, if he makes the team, will come in to back up starting center Mike Pouncey. Like Stick, Volson could have several years of shadowing before a possible shot at a starter position. However, it is good to note that the Chargers’ offensive line is generally considered one of the worst in the NFL.
Running back Bruce Anderson and cornerback Jalen Allison were both signed as undrafted free agents by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs have a stack of running backs and corners on their roster right now, so they’ll have to make some cuts. Anderson and Allison will have to impress to avoid the chopping block.
Two other players, safety Robbie Grimsley and wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, have both received invites to rookie minicamps. Grimsley will try out for the New Orleans Saints, and Shepherd will for the Green Bay Packers. Running back Lance Dunn also got an invite to the Los Angeles Rams’ minicamp.