Wide receiver joins Greg Herd, Nicholas Edwards, Kyle Padron and Will Post as former Eagles to join NFL teams
Former Eastern Washington University football player Brandon Kaufman has company.
One of the biggest groups of NFL free agent signees in school history – plus one who will receive a tryout this Thursday – are among the five players who will have the opportunity this spring and summer to make the rosters of National Football League teams.
Kaufman, a wide receiver who left the Eagle program early, agreed to terms with the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo’s official announcement on Monday (April 29) said that the players will sign contracts on the eve of the team’s rookie mini-camp, which takes place May 10-12.
The Dallas Cowboys also officially announced the signing of receiver Greg Herd, and the Oakland Raiders officially announced that the signing of 2012 Eastern quarterback Kyle Padron. Both teams will have their rookie mini-camps on May 10-12.
Although no official team announcement has been made, wide receiver Nicholas Edwards will sign with the Minnesota Vikings and will attend their rookie mini-camp on May 3-5. Offensive tackle Will Post will attend a tryout with the Atlanta Falcons this Thursday prior to the team’s rookie mini-camp on May 3-5.
Herd will be reunited in Dallas with former Eagle safety Matt Johnson, who was a fourth-round draft choice by the Cowboys in 2012. Padron will be in Oakland with former EWU running back Taiwan Jones, a fourth-round choice in 2011.
Kaufman will be in good company in Buffalo, which was home for nine of the 11 seasons in the illustrious NFL career of former Eagle safety Kurt Schulz. Schulz, a member of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame who played for the Eagles from 1988-91, still resides in the Buffalo area.
“He’s big, strong and has deceptive speed where he gets on top of people and gets downfield,” said Bills scout Brad Forsyth of Kaufman. “He uses his height, length and strong hands to make a lot of plays downfield. He dominated that level of competition. He’s a junior coming out early, so he’s still young. But he has a legit chance.”
A total of 68 Eagles (69 if Post ends up signing) have been drafted or signed free agent contracts with NFL or Canadian Football League teams since 1989, as well as several others at levels of pro football. In 1987, five players were either drafted or signed free agent contracts (Ed Simmons, Craig Richardson, Mike Kingston, Eric Riley, Bill Altena) and 20 years later in 2007, four signed (Brandon Keeler, Keith Grennan, Harrison Nikolao, Brett Bergstrom).
“It’s awesome for the program, and it’s awesome for the individuals involved,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “I am just excited that we have a lot of guys off last year’s team who are going to get an opportunity to prolong their football careers, which is the dream. It’s cool, and it will be neat (to see).”
Two other former Eagles who participated in EWU’s Pro Day on March 6 – linebacker Zach Johnson and defensive end Jerry Ceja – are also hoping to find a home in the professional ranks.
“No matter how good a football team you have, it’s pretty neat to have that many players get an opportunity with NFL teams,” Baldwin added. “And we could end up with a sixth – Zach definitely has the ability to be in a NFL camp, without question.”
EWU’S 2013 CLASS OF PROFESSIONALS
Brandon Kaufman – Wide Receiver –
Will sign a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in 2013.
The two-time FCS All-American finished his 42-game career with 221 catches (third in school history, seventh in Big Sky history) for 3,731 yards (second all-time at EWU, fourth in the Big Sky and 19th in FCS) and 33 touchdowns (second in school history). He earned the 2012 FCS Wide Receiver Award from College Football Performance Awards (CFPA). Kaufman had a FCS-record 1,850 yards receiving in 2012, to go along with 93 receptions, 16 TDs and an average of 19.9 yards per catch. He helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2012. Kaufman is from Denver, Colo., and graduated in 2009 from Heritage High School.
Nicholas Edwards – Wide Receiver – Lettered
at EWU 2009-10-11-12
Will sign a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL in 2013.
An FCS All-American for EWU in 2011, Edwards finished fifth all-time in Eastern history in receiving yards with 2,634, and was sixth in points scored with 202. His 215 career catches ranks fourth in school history and his 33 TD receptions were second (the record is 46). His 95 receptions in 2011 were a school record, and he finished the year with 1,250 yards and a school-record 19 TDs. He helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2012. Edwards was a 2008 graduate of Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash.
Greg Herd – Wide Receiver –
Lettered at EWU 2009-10-11-12
Will sign a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in 2013.
While at Eastern, the 2011 FCS All-America selection finished his Eastern career with 165 receptions to rank ninth all-time at EWU. His catches were good for 2,348 yards to rank 11th in school history, and he also had 17 touchdowns (13th). His 66 catches in 2012 rank as the 12th-most in school history. Herd is from Tacoma, Wash., and graduated from Steilacoom High School in 2009.
Kyle Padron – Quarterback –
Lettered at EWU 2012
Will sign a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL in 2013.
Padron played one season at Eastern Washington after starting 21 games at Southern Methodist. He started five games and played six others as a sub, as he helped the Eagles finish with a school-record 4,469 passing yards. Padron completed 59.1 percent of his passes for a team-leading 2,491 yards, 17 TDs and seven interceptions, and ranked 29th in FCS in passing yards per game (226.5). He had a school-record six touchdown passes versus Illinois State (12/8/12) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, as the Eagles advanced as far as the semifinals. Padron graduated in 2009 from Southlake (Texas) High School.
Will Post – Offensive Tackle –
Lettered at EWU 2009-10-11-12
Will receive a tryout with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL in 2013.
Post earned four All-America honors in 2012 for EWU, including recognition from the American Football Coaches Association (first team) and Associated Press (first team). Post started every game at right offensive tackle in 2012, with a total of 37 career starts in 45 games played. The first team All-Big Sky selection and team co-captain allowed just one sack in the regular season. The Eagles had a season-best 542 total yards versus Cal Poly (11/3/12) and finished third in the Big Sky and 14th in FCS in total offense (442.0) and seventh in FCS in passing offense (318.9 per game). He helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2012. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Post is from Portland, Ore., and graduated from Southridge High School in 2008.