2017 NFL Draft Day 3 Conference Wrap-up: Conference USA

After having several players from within the conference selected in the first two days of the NFL Draft, day three served as a cool down for Conference USA.

If you’re a fan of Louisiana Tech, the good news is you had plenty to cheer about with two players taken on the day. On the flip side, fans of all other programs in the conference didn’t have much to get excited about, leaving the professional football dreams of their favorite players in the balance.

With everything all said and done after three days of gimmicky pick announcements and a plentiful amount of boos, let’s take a look at who was picked up on the final day from CUSA.

Trent Taylor, Wide Receiver, Louisiana Tech

Picked by the San Francisco 49ers with the #177 overall pick in the fifth round.

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Big-time production can sometimes come in unexpected packages, one of those being Trent Taylor. The former Bulldog received only one offer because of his small 5-foot-8, 187 pound frame, making it seem unlikely he would have a major impact.

Instead, he worked his way through the rotation at Louisiana Tech to become one of the most prolific pass-catchers in program history. Racking up 4,719 yards of receiving and 32 touchdowns in his four years in the program, there was no doubt that Taylor put CUSA secondaries on notice.

Scouts love his catching skill and instincts to make cuts, but have concerns regarding his aforementioned size. You can’t exactly grow taller, but a few pounds would go miles to help him adjust to the league.

Taylor will have to prove he can continue to make plays despite his size disadvantage at the next level to get into the rotation, but the fact this is a low-risk pickup for San Francisco can only help him. He could also be a kick returner for the 49ers, as he average 10.5 yards per return for the Bulldogs.

Xavier Woods, Safety, Louisiana Tech

Picked by the Dallas Cowboys with the #191 overall pick in the sixth round.

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Woods was a first team all-conference pick for the past three seasons, and that was not for a lack of talented competition around him. Starting as a defensive back before switching to safety as a junior, Woods picked up 14 interceptions during that time while helping his secondary become a black hole where opposing quarterbacks saw their passes fall in and never come back.

Teams praised his skills on the ball as one of the main reasons he had potential, but think he also is slow to react on recoveries and has problems with his tackle form that cause misses in the open field.

As a sixth round pick, Woods has a lot to prove. If he does make the team, he’ll probably be low on the depth chart for a while. On the flip side, he could get the ax if he doesn’t develop quick enough for the Cowboys taste or can’t wow them in the preseason.

Camp will be the biggest teller of Woods’ potential. If he can hang around, expect him to potentially find some use in a Cowboys team that has been know to make a decent amount of substitutions.

Congratulations to both players for being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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