Burkhead A Bengal, Stafford Goes To Titans

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Running back Rex Burkhead was the first Husker taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, selected in the sixth round Saturday afternoon by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 190th overall pick.

Burkhead finished his career among the top five all-time rushers in Nebraska history. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Burkhead was limited in his senior year because of a sprained knee he suffered early in the season opener against Southern Miss. Burkhead returned to action three weeks later, but twice re-aggravated the injury and was limited to eight games.

Burkhead made the most of his time, rushing for 675 yards and five touchdowns on just 98 carries. Burkhead averaged 6.9 yards per carry and also caught 11 passes, including two touchdown receptions.

His 2012 rushing yardage pushed Burkhead's career total to 3,329 yards, good for fifth on the NU career rushing list. He also had three 100-yard rushing games as a senior, giving him 14 games with at least 100 rushing yards in his career. Burkhead closed out his college career rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown against Georgia in the Capital One Bowl while also catching four passes, one for a touchdown.

NU safety Daimion Stafford went in the seventh round to Tennessee, the 248th player drafted. Stafford was the third defensive back selected by the Titans. He had 96 tackles and four interceptions last year to earn first-team all-Big Ten honors from the media. He was a second-team all-Big Ten pick by the league's coaches.

The last time a Nebraska player had to wait so long to hear his name called in a draft was 1970 when tight end Jim McFarland was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round. The last time the Huskers had only two players taken through seven rounds was in 1990, but the draft was 12 rounds that year and there were a total of five Huskers selected.

Carolina selected Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein in the fifth round. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Klein shared Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011 with Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander, whom the Panthers drafted in the fourth round last season.

Klein can play all three linebacker positions, although his specialty is middle linebacker. He was named first-team All-Big 12 in each of the last two seasons by the conference's coaches. He had 117 tackles in each of the past two seasons along with two sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown return.

Carolina's starters appear to be set at linebacker with Luke Kuechly in the middle and Jon Beason and Thomas Davis on the outside, but Klein adds some needed depth.

Eleven picks later, Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde was taken 159th overall by the Green Bay Packers. Hyde finished his career at Iowa with 240 tackles and eight interceptions after starting 38 consecutive games for the Hawkeyes. At 6-foot, 197 pounds, Hyde ran a 4.56 in the 40 at the combine.

Iowa State tackle Carter Bykowski was selected by San Francisco in the seventh round, the 246th overall pick. Bykowksi joins an established offensive line with the 49ers that includes starting tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis. Staley started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl the past two seasons and the 49ers recently signed Davis, entering his fourth season, to a lucrative contract extension.

Bykowksi will have an opportunity to earn a reserve role with the 49ers, who carried no offensive tackles other than Staley and Davis on their 53-man roster last season and have added no other players to the position so far this year.

Chadron State guard Garrett Gilkey was drafted by Cleveland in the seventh round with the 227th overall pick. The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Gilkey was the second straight Division II player taken by Browns, who used their first pick of the seventh round on defensive end Armonty Bryant from East Central Oklahoma.

Gilkey started 12 games at left tackle last season, but he's mobile enough to play anywhere on the line and could move inside to guard in the pros. He's the only offensive player taken by the Browns, who traded two picks on Saturday for selections in the 2014 draft.

Justice Cunningham is this year's Mr. Irrelevant. Indianapolis selected the 6-foot-4, 264-pound tight end from South Carolina with the 254th and final pick of the draft. Cunningham will be honored with a trip to Disneyland and the Irrelevant Week Parade in Newport Beach, California this summer.

Paul Salada, who founded Irrelevant Week in 1976, made the announcement and again held up a blue-and-white Colts jersey with No. 254.

The Colts chose quarterback Chandler Harnish with the final pick in last year's draft. It's the first time a team has made the last selection of draft weekend in back-to-back years since Oakland in 2003 and 2004.

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