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This Day In Sports: Broncos’ draft train starts rolling

2002: For the first time in a decade, Boise State has two players selected in the NFL Draft, and both of them are from Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho — THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 21, 2002, 20 years ago today:

For the first time in 10 years, Boise State has two players selected in the NFL Draft, and both of them are from Idaho. Grangeville’s Matt Hill, an All-WAC offensive tackle, was picked in the fifth round by Seattle. And Eagle’s Jeb Putzier, who led Division I-A tight ends in touchdowns in 2001, was chosen by Denver in the sixth round. It was the first time ever BSU had two players go in the first six rounds.

Hill’s career with the Seahawks lasted only two seasons, but Putzier put together a seven-year NFL career with the Broncos, Houston Texans and Seahawks, logging 96 catches for 1,251 yards and three touchdowns. Over half of his receptions came from fellow Treasure Valley star Jake Plummer in Denver. Putzier combined for 73 grabs in 2004 and 2005, 18 of them covering 20 yards or longer.

Using the 32-team NFL and the current seven-round draft setup as a benchmark, the apples-to-apples cutoff for picks since 1970 is No. 250 overall. Before 2002, Boise State had 19 players selected above No. 250 in the draft. Since then, there have been exactly double that, with 38 players chosen (it will go to 39 next week with Khalil Shakir’s anticipated selection, making it 14 consecutive seasons with a Bronco being picked).

All five of Boise State’s first-round picks, Ryan Clady. Shea McClellin, Leighton Vander Esch, Kyle Wilson and Doug Martin, have come in the past 20 years. Boise State has had nine second-rounders total and six third-rounders. If mock drafts are to believed, Shakir will make it seven picks in the third round a week from Friday. The Broncos’ record for picks in one draft is six in 2012: McClellin, Martin, Tyrone Crawford, George Iloka, Billy Winn and Nate Potter.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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