One day after Bernard Pierce was the Baltimore Ravens’ third-round pick, two of his Temple teammates were selected in Saturday’s portion of the NFL Draft.
The Chicago Bears selected tight end Evan Rodriguez with the 111th overall pick in the fourth round, while the Detroit Lions took outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead with the 138th pick in the fifth round. Saturday was the final day of the three-day draft.
The trio ties the school record for the most players drafted in a single year. The other times were 1946, 1975, 1980 and 1987.
"I'm going to bring that 'Temple Toughness' to Chicago," Rodriguez said, "because you know you have to be tough out there playing in the snow."
The 6-foot-1, 242-pounder, was the fifth tight end taken in the draft. He’s also the first Owls' tight end to be drafted since 1988. Back then, Mike Hinnant was selected in the eighth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While a little undersized, Rodriguez is athletic and versatile. There’s a thought that he can also excel as a pass-catching fullback in the NFL.
The North Bergen, N.J. native said the Bears informed him that he would be their "movement guy" on offense.
"They told me I'm going to play tight end, fullback and slot," Rodriguez said. "So hey, wherever they put me, I'm going to give it my all."
This past season, he led the Owls in receptions (35) and receiving yards (479). Rodriguez also caught two touchdowns.
The all-Mid-American Conference selection compiled 69 receptions for 871 yards and seven touchdowns during his career at Temple.
In addition to being a second-team all-MAC selection, Whitehead was the defensive most valuable player of December’s New Mexico Bowl. The 6-1, 233-pounder finished the season with a team-best 13.5 tackles for a loss.
All over the field, the 21-year-old has also recorded 70 total tackles, including five sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. The two-year starter from Newark, N.J. had 163 career tackles.