May 2, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. - Thirteen former Arizona State football players took the next step in their athletic careers this past weekend, joining 10 different National Football League teams through either the draft or free agency.
The 13 players moving on to the NFL are the most former Sun Devils to do so since the 1997 Rose Bowl squad that included former Bronco Jake Plummer and 12 of his teammates.
The Denver Broncos might be setting up shop outside Sun Devil Stadium after selecting former Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler in the 2nd round (57th overall) and cornerback Omar Bolden in the 4th round (101st overall) before circling back into Tempe to sign wide receiver Gerell Robinson as an undrafted free agent.
Osweiler was the highest draft pick since Zach Miller was taken in the 2nd round (38th overall) five years ago.
The Arizona Cardinals dipped into the local talent pool for the first time since 2004, signing the Devils' leading tackler from the past season, linebacker Colin Parker, as well as safety Eddie Elder. Parker is the first ASU linebacker to play for the Cardinals since soft-spoken defensive leader Pat Tillman signed with them in 1998.
Offensive lineman and New Orleans native Aderious Simmons was picked up as a free agent by his hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, while wide receiver Mike Willie, who is from Long Beach, Calif., will head south to suit up for the San Diego Chargers.
Linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Shelly Lyons, who were teammates at both Centennial High School and Arizona State, will split ways for the first time in their playing careers. Burfict was added to the Cincinnati Bengals and Lyons went to the Miami Dolphins, both as free agents.
Center Garth Gerhart and offensive tackle Dan Knapp signed with the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders, respectively, as free agents, while wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad went to the Philadelphia Eagles and defensive end Jamaar Jarrett headed to the St. Louis Rams.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Denver Broncos (2nd round, 57th overall)
Omar Bolden, CB, Denver Broncos (4th round, 101st overall)
Free agent signees:
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Cincinnati Bengals
Eddie Elder, S, Arizona Cardinals
Garth Gerhart, C, Cleveland Browns
Jamaar Jarrett, DE, St. Louis Rams
Shelly Lyons, LB, Miami Dolphins
Dan Knapp, OL, Oakland Raiders
Colin Parker, LB, Arizona Cardinals
Aaron Pflugrad, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Gerell Robinson, WR, Denver Broncos
Aderious Simmons, OL, New Orleans Saints
Mike Willie, WR, San Diego Chargers
A complete list of Sun Devil draftees and free agent signees dating back to 1934 can be found here: