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Former Vandal football players signing as UDFAs

Another draft gone, another draft without a Vandal hearing his name called. It was believed that DT Quayshawne Buckley may have had a good opportunity to be selected, but he will sign as an undrafted free agent. 

I'm keeping track of the Vandals to be announced below. 

Jesse Davis has signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Davis moved to offensive tackle in 2013, Paul Petrino's first year on campus, from defensive tackle. Davis started at offensive tackle his final two years at Idaho but battled some injuries that kept him off the field. The Seahawks must like his athletic ability on the offensive line and that's what Davis presents to them. Davis started five games at strong tackle (the tackle rotating along the line next to the tight end in Idaho's system) in 2013 before being sidelined by injury. Davis missed the first two games in 2014, returning to start the final nine games at quick tackle. 

Justin Podrabsky has been invited to the Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp. The ex-Idaho tight end is a Lewiston native and started all of 2014 as Idaho's primary tight end. He caught 37 passes for 380 yards and was effective blocking in the running game. 

Quayshawne Buckley landed with Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buckley finished the 2014 season with 15.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Buckley was considered a talented enough prospect to be selected in the draft, but his off the field issues may have affected his stock. Buckley was dismissed from the program in February of 2013 for being arrested on suspicion of DUI. He earned his way back onto the team in time for fall practice and had the case dismissed in 2014 after completing a drug and alcohol class. Like Benson Mayowa with the Seahawks in 2013, Buckley has a good opportunity to earn his way onto the 53-man roster. 


I was able to chat with Buckley about signing with the Buccaneers, here's a little of what he said.

The Bucs have actually been looking at Buckley since last spring when it believed his eligibility had expired after the 2013 season and he was initially working out for NFL scouts. Then it was discovered he had an extra year of eligibility and ended up having a stellar 2014 season. 

Tampa Bay reached out to Buckley near the end of the sixth round to let him know he would be one of their top priorities in free agency. Buckley expected to get drafted but chose to look at himself as part of Tampa Bay's draft class considering the Bucs didn't take any defensive linemen. 

Defensive line coach Joe Cullen reached out to him today and offered him the contract. Buckley has signed the deal and will be headed off to Florida "any day now."

"We were looking at it like that. I was made a first priority," Buckley said. "With Tampa Bay, they didn’t draft any D-Linemen. They wanted to draft me, but it just didn’t happen. So it’s a win-win situation. I have an opportunity to grind harder and prove to other teams why they should have drafted me. God has a plan for me, so I’m not going to think bad about it. It’s going to make me stronger."

Tampa Bay worked Buckley out in Moscow earlier in the spring. The Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, whose current defensive line coach is former Idaho coach Robb Akey, were also interested in Buckley's services. 
Buckley says he talks to Mayowa every day and has already received some advice from the current Oakland Raider and undrafted free agent himself on the challenge that lies ahead. 
"He told me I just had to prove to people, now I’m on the gas pedal, don’t stop for no one," Buckley said. "Go full speed, 100 percent no matter what. Show everybody why I’m that person. He’s motivating me a little bit. He told me don’t have my head down even though I was supposed to be drafted. It’s okay. Certain people don’t get drafted. People in the hall of fame were free agents, so you have to look at things like that."


Sean Kramer
Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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