This is the longest spring quarter of Brandon Kaufman’s life. And it’s only April.
Kaufman is still enrolled in classes at Eastern Washington and trying to pay attention to the lecture board while his mind wanders to the big board that will go up tonight in New York.
The tall wide receiver from the small school in Cheney doesn’t expect to see his name tonight, when the first round of the NFL draft will be presented in prime time. And he has few illusions about Friday, when the second- and third-round selections will be announced.
But come Saturday morning, Kaufman will settle in with family back in Colorado to watch rounds four through seven. Most analysts have him going in the sixth or seventh round, but perhaps not at all.
“It makes it tougher, if I start seeing certain people’s names coming off the board,” said Kaufman, adding that he has “several options” as a free agent if his name isn’t called.
The experts have been wrong before. Last year, Eastern safety Matt Johnson figured to go in the sixth or seventh round, if at all; Johnson was picked in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys.
“I feel more confident as more calls come in (from teams), and being reassured by my agent and by coaches,” said Kaufman, who last year set an FCS single-season record with 1,850 yards. Along the way, Kaufman caught 93 balls, including 16 for touchdowns.
Kaufman isn’t the only Eagle chasing the NFL dream. Others include fellow receivers Greg Herd and Nicholas Edwards as well as quarterback Kyle Padron, offensive lineman Will Post and linebacker Zach Johnson, who is Matt’s twin brother.
Kaufman said he’s worked out with Herd, while he’s been texting and encouraging Edwards and Padron, among others.
Kaufman, a two-time All-American, is considered the most likely to be drafted. Scouts are impressed by his 6-foot-5 frame, his ability to separate on deep routes and a willingness to fight for tough catches in coverage.
In other words, Kaufman has a knack for catching the uncatchable.
For that and more he’s thankful to the Eastern staff, especially receivers coach Junior Adams: “I could not have asked for a better coach than Coach Adams.
“He’s coached all three of us like we should be in the NFL.”