Cody Whitehair and Glenn Gronkowski are both near-locks to hear their name called from the big podium this weekend at the NFL Draft. But there are a couple other Wildcats who have a slim chance to hear their name called, or at least sign an un-drafted free agent agreement once the draft completes.
Morgan Burns, Returner/DB
Morgan Burns had the unenviable task of replacing All-American Tyler Lockett at returner for K-State. He merely earned First Team All-American honors in his own right, finishing his Wildcat career with the school record in kickoff return yards in a season, and ranking second in school history in return average.
Burns wasn't asked to participate in the NFL Combine, but has impressed scouts with his blazing speed and vision enough to earn a late-round draft grade. He also began his career the same way that his younger brother Tyler has begun his at K-State, as a running back, and some NFL scouts think he could help his roster value by working out at running back. At the very least, Burns should earn a spot on someone's pre-season squad where he will get a chance to prove himself against NFL talent.
Danzel McDaniel, DB
Danzel McDaniel was a fairly hot name coming in to his senior season in Manhattan, and a senior season like his junior campaign would have likely earned McDaniel a mid-round draft grade. But a season-ending injury derailed his 2016 season, and effectively took him off draft boards. But McDaniel still has the size, speed, and cover skills that translate to playing safety in the NFL, and a team would be foolish not to give him a shot on a pre-season squad.
Boston Stiverson, LG
Boston Stiverson was the forgotten man playing next to the much more impressive Whitehair. Stiverson struggled with injuries during his Wildcat career, but his size, strength (he out-benched Whitehair at the K-State pro day), and versatility (he has played both guard spots and has practiced at tackle) could earn him a pre-season roster spot and a chance to earn his way on to a team.
Travis Britz, DT
Travis Britz was a four-year fixture at DT, starting in the rotation during the Wildcats 2012 Big 12 title run, before becoming the main starter in 2013. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore and junior, before earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors as a senior. A pre-season late-round projection, Britz was probably the best overall interior lineman that Bill Snyder had at his disposal since Mario Fatafehi donned the purple in 99-2000. The 2015 team captain learned a lot about perseverance during the Wildcats forgetful 2015 football season, and that could help him out as he fights to earn a roster spot in the NFL.
These young men can hold out hope that their name might be called on Saturday in one of the late rounds, but are probably ready to wait for that post-draft phone call from a team offering a free-agent deal to join them for pre-season practices.