Tyeler Davison was the first Fresno State player selected in the 2015 NFL draft, with the star nose guard selected in the fifth round by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 154 overall pick Saturday.
One round later, former Bulldogs safety Derron Smith was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 197th pick and offensive lineman Cody Wichmann was selected by the St. Louis Rams at No. 215 overall.
It is the 15th straight season that Fresno State has had a player drafted — the longest active streak in the Mountain West. Fresno State has also had a player selected in 28 out of the last 29 NFL drafts going back to 1987.
Davison is the second former Bulldog drafted by the Saints, along with fullback Lorenzo Neal (Lemoore High), who was a fourth-round pick in 1993.
“I’m excited to get drafted,” Davison said. “It feels good that the hard work so far has paid off.”
Davison was a three-time All-Mountain West selection, garnering first-team honors as a sophomore and senior and second-team as a junior. He started all 40 Bulldogs games over that three-year span. As a senior last fall, he had single-season career-highs in tackles (61), tackles for a loss (13.0) and sacks (8.5).
For his career, he had 161 tackles, 28.5 tackles for a loss, 14.5 sacks, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, one of which was for a touchdown as a sophomore at Nevada. He also blocked two PATs.
Smith is the second safety under coach Tim DeRuyter and staff to be drafted, following Phillip Thomas, a fourth-round pick of the Redskins in 2013. Smith is the fourth Bulldog selected by the Bengals and first since defensive tackle Jason Shirley in the fifth round in 2008.
“(I’m a) hard working-player and intelligent player who’s going to go out there and make plays,” Smith said. “That’s what I’ve been doing my whole career, whether getting interceptions, and this year I had a few fumble recoveries.”
Smith, a two-year team captain, is one of 11 Bulldogs to be named first-team all-conference three times in a career, garnering first-team All-Mountain West as a sophomore, junior and senior.
He played in 56 career games with 44 starts, including 40 consecutive to close out his career despite playing through a sports hernia as a senior when he was second on the team with 93 tackles. He intercepted 15 passes as a Bulldog to tie for the fifth in school history and ranks sixth with 304 career tackles.
Wichmann is the 16th offensive linemen drafted out of Fresno State and first since Andrew Jackson went to Atlanta in the (seventh round in 2011. Wichmann is the eighth Bulldog drafted by the Rams and first since since safety Michael Stewart in the eighth round in 1987 when the team was in Los Angeles.
“It’s just an amazing time,” Wichmann said Saturday. “I was patient and I’m glad the wait is over. I look forward to playing for the Rams.”
Wichmann started in 50 career games at Fresno State, the second-most by any Bulldog in the past eight years. He was a two-time All-Mountain West selection, garnering second-team accolades as a senior in 2014 and honorable mention honors in 2013.
Undrafted free agent wide receiver Josh Harper from Fresno State agreed to a deal with the Oakland Raiders, reuniting with quarterback Derek Carr. In 2013, Harper had 1,011 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns from Carr.
Other local players signing free-agent deals after going undrafted: cornerback Curtis Riley (Fresno State) with the Tennessee Titans and wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (Washington High) with the Dallas Coboys.