Eagles in the NFL are understated but solid. Historically, BC's players in less recognized positions have consistently made the greatest impact. Trueblood, Snee, Koppen and Cherilus were all very strong linemen. Of the 17 total Boston College grads currently on rosters, there are two quarterbacks, one running back, one cornerback and one punter. The rest of our graduates are all linemen. With twelve of our Eagles at the line of scrimmage, it is easy to generalize that BC is only capable of churning out non-skill positions. However, whether this is true or not, our offensive and defensive linemen are leaving their mark in the NFL. Let’s zoom in on a few:
Mathias Kiwanuka, Defensive End
Communications major in the College of Arts & Sciences
Kiwanuka is in his 9th season with the New York Giants. Before leaving BC, he received First-Team All-America and First-Team All-ACC selection honors, the team’s MVP, and set a school-record with 37.5 sacks. He was the 32nd pick of the first round of the draft in 2006. Kiwanuka has 300 career tackles in the NFL and 38.5 career sacks in 120 total games played, with 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this season. Although the Giants have been weak in the last couple of seasons, he helped the team to wins against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI.
B.J. Raji, Defensive End
Sociology major in the College of Arts & Sciences
Although Raji is out for this season, he has been with the Green Bay Packers for six seasons since they took him with the 9th pick in the first round of the draft. Both #90 for BC and Green Bay, Raji’s at 129 career tackles and 10.5 sacks. Included in these stats are his 2010 campaign when he led all NFL nose tackles with 6.5 sacks, and his 2011 season in which he had three sacks, helping the Packers take home Super Bowl XLV.
Anthony Castonzo, Offensive Tackle
Biochemistry major in the College of Arts & Sciences
The Indianapolis Colts took Castonzo in 2011 in the first round of the draft (22nd pick overall). Castonzo was a very consistent player for both BC and the Colts. He earned his first ever career touchdown this season against the Patriots, following up with a stellar touchdown celebration. I’m proud to speculate that he learned this crab-dance at some point in his four years in Chestnut Hill.
While BC’s skill position players who’ve carved out a career in the NFL are few and far between, those who have made it to the NFL have certainly made their mark. We can recognize BC’s potential for producing standout impact players in the future as our football program continues to move forward. Let’s appreciate a couple of these outliers:
Andre Williams, Running Back
Applied Psychology and Human Development major in Lynch School of Education
Andre brought fire to the current Boston College football program, only graduating in 2013. As an Eagle, Williams became only the 16th player in NCAA history to rush for over 2,000 yards and was a finalist for the 2013 Heisman Memorial Trophy. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and saw the field in 13 games of his rookie season. With 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior season at BC, Andre Williams has the potential to survive in the NFL.
Matt Ryan, Quarterback
Carroll School of Management
The 2007 ACC Player of the Year, Ryan was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft. Ryan has been an outstanding NFL quarterback with a 91.3 career QB rating, 27,274 total passing yards, and 178 touchdowns. This season, he has 3,802 yards and a quarterback rating of 95.5, some of his highest numbers up to date. Although he has yet to win a Super Bowl with the Falcons, he has proved his excellence and done well as a franchise quarterback.
So why is it that BC hasn't had a standout top draft pick since Matt Ryan six years ago? Our line of scrimmage has always been noteworthy, and BC grads in the NFL today continue to perpetuate this trend. However, we haven’t had a Matt Ryan-esque player since the man himself was here, and I don’t know how long we’ll have to wait for another difference maker who will be able to hold his own in the NFL.
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