DALLAS — Three former area high school football players were selected during the NFL Draft, which was held April 26 to 28, while three others went undrafted, but quickly signed on with NFL teams.
Former Rocky River star Jaire Alexander was the first area player selected. Alexander was taken 18th overall when the Green Bay Packers traded up to get the Louisville defensive back.
Alexander was a three-star prospect coming out of high school and ranked the 69th cornerback in the country by ESPN. However, at Louisville he worked his way into becoming regarded as one of the nation’s top defensive backs. In his career, Alexander recorded 77 tackles and had seven interceptions. He was the second defensive back taken in the draft behind Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was chosen 11th by the Miami Dolphins.
Former Butler star Peter Kalambayi was selected with the 214th overall pick in the sixth round of the draft by the Houston Texans. The former high school all-American and three-time state champion tallied 18.5 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in his four years at Stanford. He joins the Texans with Kendall Lamb, a former Butler offensive lineman.
Austin Proehl was taken with the 255th selection of the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills. The former Providence High star is the son of 17-year NFL veteran Ricky Proehl. At North Carolina, Austin Proehl accrued 1,265 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 91 career receptions with the Tar Heels. He was slated to be North Carolina’s No. 1 receiver as a senior last year, but a broken collarbone limited him to just three full games last season.
Three other locals went undrafted, but were signed as free agents following the draft.
Former Butler star Riley Ferguson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ferguson won three state championships at Butler and later had stops at the University of Tennessee and Coffeyville Community College before landing at Memphis. Last season, Ferguson became the first Tiger quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. In two seasons at Memphis, Ferguson threw for 7,668 yards and 68 touchdowns against 19 interceptions and completed 63 percent of his passes.
Former Independence offensive lineman Tony Adams went undrafted out of N.C. State, but was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Adams wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, but ProFootballFocus gave him a grade of 87.1, which was the fifth-highest grade by an offensive guard in college football for the 2017 season.
Former Providence Day star Bryon Fields was the final area player to sign with an NFL team. Fields went undrafted out of Duke, but quickly signed with the New York Giants. Fields was a four-time Academic All-American at Duke. In 52 career games, including 39 starts, he registered 181 total tackles, six interceptions and five tackles for a loss.