East Texans have names called on final day of NFL Draft
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It took three days but NFL teams finally picked East Texans to their squads.
It all started with the 201st pick by Arizona. The Cardinals selected USC running back and Carthage native Keontay Ingram.
Ingram played 4 years of college ball, three at Texas and 1 at USC. In total he had 2,722 rushing yards on 495 carries (5.5 avg) with 16 touchdowns. On the receiving side he caught 89 passes for 671 yards for six touchdowns.
A few picks later the Chicago Bears selected Baylor running back and Henderson native Trestan Ebner with the 203rd pick.
Ebner was the 2021 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. He finished his career at Baylor as the seventh Bear to compile 4,000 career all-purpose yards. Ebner is Second all-time on Baylor’s all-purpose yards list with 4,542 yards and he has played the most games ever for Baylor at 61.
The New England Patriots took LSU lineman and Marshall native Chasen Hines with the 210th pick. Hines went to LSU as the No.1 ranked offensive guard in Texas and the sixth best nationally in 2018. A leg injury let Hines sidelined part of this past season but he played in eight games and stared in seven, including the Texas Bowl against Kansas State.
While not an East Texan, the New England Patriots selected Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappie with the 137th pick. Zappie was the 2021 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award winner.
Despite not being drafted there were still opportunities for East Texas athletes.
Nacogdoches native Josh Thompson was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted Free Agent. Thompson was a cornerback for the Texas Longhorns and played in 45 games including 22 starts over his five seasons.
Henderson native La’Kendrick Van Zandt signed an undrafted deal with the Dallas Cowboys. The TCU safety had 10 starts in 2021, placing eighth on the team with 38 stops and tied for fifth with 3.5 tackles for loss.
SFA defensive tackle Rayshad Nichols picked up a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Nichols was a force up front for an SFA team that went to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. In their playoff game, Nichols went viral for striping the football from an Incarnate Word running back and returning it for a touchdown.
Whitehouse native Jake Parker has signed an undrafted free agency deal with the New England Patriots. Parker played college ball first for TJC and then for Howard Payne. In 2021, Parker was named the American Southwest Player if the Year. He also picked up Region 3 Offensive Player of the Year and AFCA second-team All American status. He led the ASC in tots receiving yards, yards per game, receptions and touchdowns.
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