NFL Draft stock fluctuates for senior ’Dogs

Juan Villa / The Collegian

In the past eight NFL drafts, a player from Fresno State has been selected. Former Bulldogs like Logan Mankins, Bernard Berrian and David Carr have all found their way into the ranks of professional football.

Under coach Pat Hill, a total of 19 players have been drafted.

Come April 2009, several current Bulldog players will look to be drafted onto an NFL roster.

Fresno State has 12 seniors on the roster and some juniors who might be looking to try their hand a year early.

Here are the players on the roster most likely to find success in the NFL and what their current draft status is with only two games remaining this season, both on national television.

Senior tight end Bear Pascoe – 6 feet, 5 inches, 260 pounds – Pascoe has been a staple of the Fresno State offense since his breakout sophomore season in 2006.

Pascoe was second on the team in 2007 with 552 yards and four receiving touchdowns, but has been slowed down in 2008 with an ankle injury.

Through the first eight games, Pascoe has 298 yards receiving and four touchdowns. On top of the injury woes, opposing defenses have taken notice of Pascoe’s pass-catching abilities and have been paying more attention to him in pass coverage.

Pascoe has been one of quarterback Tom Brandstater’s favorite targets for the past three seasons, but he has also played significant roles in the run-blocking game.

Having Pascoe, who can block like an offensive tackle, on the line of scrimmage as a blocker will surely help any run game. Pascoe will need to get healthy and learn how to get open, even when pressed with double coverage.

Pascoe is currently ranked in the Top 100 draft prospects according to ESPN at No. 70.

Senior quarterback Tom Brandstater – 6 feet, 5 inches, 225 pounds – The senior signal caller had a rough start to his collegiate career, but rebounded with a strong season in 2007. Brandstater started every game for the Bulldogs and led the team to a 9-4 record.

The 2007 season helped to put Brandstater on the map, and 2008 has been his opportunity to shine in his senior season in the eyes of scouts.

Brandstater has again startedoff off strong start, completing 61 percent of his passes and leading the Bulldogs to a 6-4 record. He as thrown for 17 touchdowns and rushed for four more this season, but his “Achilles’ heel” has been his low release.

Even though he is 6 feet, 5 inches tall, four of eight of Brandstater’s interceptions this season have been tipped at the line of scrimmage.

If Brandstater can continue to win football games and learn to limit his mistakes, scouts will value his size, experience in a pro-style offense and arm strength come draft day.

Brandstater is currently the No. 96 overall ranked college senior in the Top 100 according to ESPN.

Senior defensive Tackle Jon Monga – 6 feet, 2 inches, 280 pounds – Monga is a long shot to be drafted following his senior season, especially with a knee injury that has cost him five games, but his motor may get him a free agent deal.

The senior has a strong drive off the ball and has a never-say-die attitude. Not many took notice of Monga before his injury, but without his presence, the Bulldogs have not had an adequate pass rush.

Since returning from that injury Monga has helped the defense out tremendously, including a three-sack game on Senior Day.

Monga will have his final two games to get noticed by scouts, but could land with a team because of his determination and work ethic.

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