Minnesota has now had 12 players drafted in the past four years
Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY Sports
Soccer | 30/04/2022 11:31:00
Three more Golden Gophers had their names called out today during the 2022 NFL Draft, as Daniel Faalele, Esezi Otomewo and Ko Kieft all had their dreams turned into reality.
Faalele was the first off the board as the Baltimore Ravens took him in the fourth round with the No. 110 pick. Faalele is Gopher’s first offensive lineman to be drafted since 2006, when Greg Eslinger and Mark Setterstrom were selected.
Faalele will reunite with former Gopher teammate wide receiver Rashod Bateman, whom the Ravens won in the first round in 2021. Faalele, who was named All-Big Ten First Team, started 31 of 34 career games at right tackle for the Gophers and Minnesota were 23-11 in games he appeared in.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Otomewo in the fifth round with the No. 165 pick. Otomewo, who was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2021, has started 20 of 46 career games and has 81 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 bags. Otomewo is the first Gopher to be selected by the Vikings since 2010, when the purple and gold took linebacker Nate Triplett in the fifth round.
The next gopher off the board was Kieft, as the tight end was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round with the No. 218 overall pick. Kieft, who was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2021, played in 49 career games and caught 12 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He was also a dominant tackler for some of the most effective offenses in Minnesota history. Kieft will join former teammates and Super Bowl champions Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tyler Johnson in Tampa Bay.
Seattle Seahawks drafted Boye Mafe with in the second round with the No. 40 pick on Friday and Minnesota now has 12 players selected in four years (2019-22). It’s the most selections in school history since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994. Minnesota’s previous best in four years was from 1988 to 1991, when it had 14 players selected in 12-round drafts.