David Fluellen and Bernard Reedy spent last weekend celebrating on the same stage, each graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
They’ll spend this coming weekend some 1,200 miles apart but experiencing similar pangs of anxiety.
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University of Toledo’s dynamic offensive duo of recent seasons might get chosen in the NFL draft. Or maybe just one will. Or maybe neither. No one will know until Saturday when fringe prospects like Fluellen and Reedy learn if they’ll be entering the league as some team’s coveted late-round choice or as a free agent with a steeper hill to climb.
At last Saturday’s commencement, the former teammates caught up after months of separation. They arrived at the same conclusion.
“Ready to get it over with,” said Fluellen, who along with Reedy took online courses while preparing for the draft. “It’s been a long process.”
The draft kicks off today, but Saturday’s rounds four through seven will ultimately reveal the destinations of Toledo’s electrifying run-catch combo.
Fluellen, who will watch the draft on TV with friends and family near Buffalo, stands as the greatest threat to ending Toledo’s five year drought without a draft pick. (John Greco and Jalen Parmele were selected in 2008)
Fluellen’s productivity and skill set is not a concern. Using a rare blend of speed and shake, he was leading the nation in rushing yards before injuring his ankle in late October. His durability, having not finished his last two seasons healthy, could cost him.
Fluellen’s agent, whose opinion might be tinged with bias, believes his client will be taken in the draft.
“I think he’ll get drafted in the fifth-round range, but I’m cautiously optimistic with how the draft can play out,” said Blake Baratz, who is based out of Minnesota and Los Angeles. “From speaking to all the teams multiple times there’s enough consensus of where he is. I won’t be surprised if he goes a little before [the fifth], I won’t be surprised if he goes a little after that.”
Fluellen, who said he had a pre-draft visit with the New Orleans Saints, is ranked 20th at his position by NFLDraftScout.com, and 24th by ESPN.com.
Reedy had a visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the home of a player with whom he’s often compared — former Rocket Eric Page.
Reedy replaced Page as a slot receiver and returner, totaling 151 catches and 1,945 yards in two seasons.
Reedy, who will spend the weekend at home in St. Petersburg, Fla., said 18 of 19 NFL teams have contacted him in recent weeks. He is hearing he’ll be taken in the later rounds or as a priority free agent.
“If you get drafted, I feel like you have more ground to stand on because a team has chosen you to be one of their priorities,” he said. “Not saying if they bring you in as a free agent you’re not a priority, just that if they draft you they believe more in your abilities.”
Toledo prospects expected to sign as free agents, if not get drafted, include center Zac Kerin, defensive end/outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott, and quarterback Terrance Owens.