NFL Draft: McDonald Picked, but Thomas & Valley Stars Wait
At least one Valley star knows where he will begin his pro football career. 26 years after Tim McDonald was drafted in the second round by the then St. Louis Cardinals, his son T.J. has been picked by the St. Louis Rams. T.J. follows his dad from Fresno's Edison High School, to USC, to the NFL. And he begins with the Rams, the rival of Tim's 49ers. As a senior team captain, T.J. led the Trojans with 112 tackles. A hard-hitting safety, like his father, T.J. was named all-America and all conference.
While T.J. is in, the draft waiting game continues for several other Valley stars, hoping to get that big call from NFL teams. The biggest shock for Valley football fans is that Fresno State safety, Phillip Thomas is still waiting. Thomas was thought to be a second or third round pick. He was an All-American, finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, and led the country in interceptions. But after three rounds and 97 picks of the NFL draft, he's still waiting to hear his name called.
Thomas was ranked as the eighth best safety coming into the NFL draft, but nine safeties have been selected, including Edison grad, T.J. McDonald, and the Fresno state ball hawk will have to wait until Saturday to realize his NFL dream.
Thomas isn't the only Valley product that continues to wait. Tyler bray, Jeff Tuel, Marquess Wilson, Stefphon Jefferson, and all hopeful Bulldogs are also still biting their nails.
No such stress for former College of the Sequoias defensive lineman, Sheldon Richardson. Richardson was drafted, Thursday, in the first round, 13th overall, and was introduced by his new team, the New York Jets, Friday.