The 2017 NFL draft marked the realization of a dream for 253 players who now have the chance to compete at the highest level. Of those 253 drafted over the three-day event, two were from Boston College, as John Johnson and Matt Milano each heard their name called.
Johnson came off the board first of the two Eagles. The versatile safety was drafted in the third round with the 91st overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams. Johnson will join one of the youngest teams in the entire league, with only three players 30 years old or older. The Rams also boast the youngest head coach in the NFL; Sean McVay is just 31 years old as he enters his first season as a head coach.
Extreme youth and a team focused on rebuilding will likely provide Johnson an opportunity to contribute sooner rather than later. Talent evaluators were impressed with Johnson’s ability to defend the pass.
“John Johnson isn't an enforcer over the middle but ball skills and athleticism to roam deep middle makes him really attractive in today's NFL,” tweeted former NFL head coach Brian Billick.
Coaches within the Rams organization also viewed Johnson as one of the top special teams prospect available in the draft.
A day later, Boston College linebacker Matt Milano was selected in the fifth round with the 163rd pick by the Buffalo Bills. Milano was ranked as the 14th outside linebacker available in the draft by ESPN talent evaluators. To go along with his 140 career tackles and 32.5 career tackles for loss, Milano impressed teams with his combine performance.
Amongst linebackers at the combine, Milano’s 24 bench press reps ranked third, and his 10’6” broad jump placed him in fourth.
At an even six feet, 225 lbs, Milano’s relative lack of size will limit the time he gets on the defensive side of the ball, but he figures to be an instant contributor on special teams. Like his former teammate, Milano enters a situation in the midst of a coaching change. Milano will be trying to impress new Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who replaces Rex Ryan after two disappointing seasons in Buffalo.
Also chasing his NFL dream will be former BC quarterback Patrick Towles. Towles was ranked by NFL.com as the 15th best player not selected in the draft. After the 253rd pick went by and Towles was not selected, he received an invite to tryout in Houston at the Texans rookie camp. Towles, who has said he is open to playing tight end at the next level, could provide value to the Texans at either TE or QB as they are young and thin at both positions.
We wish the best to these three former Eagles chasing their dreams at the highest level.