You don't set a program wins record and finish in the Top-25 without having plenty of extremely good football players. That was the case for San Diego State, and a good number of those guys know where they'll be playing professional football in 2022.
The one with the most fanfare was certainly the Punt God. Matt Araiza was taken in the 6th round, 180th overall, by the Buffalo Bills. If you're going to kick through the howling winds in Upstate New York you need a big leg and the Ray Guy Award winner certainly has that. Araiza set multiple NCAA records with his booming punts, a pair of them traveling more than 80 yards.
Plus, the Bills Mafia is going to love his sense of humor.
Matt Haack, Buffalo's incumbent punter, had the worst net punting average in the NFL in 2021 so Araiza will shore up one of the very few weak spots on a Bills roster that's on everyone's short list of Super Bowl favorites.
Almost shockingly the most talked about punter in college football history was the 3rd player at that position to be drafted. Penn State's Jordan Stout and Georgia's Jake Camarda were taken in the 4th round by the Ravens and Bucs, who will regret their decisions for decades to come.
The 4th round was where the first Aztec of the day got picked. Tight end Daniel Bellinger went 112th overall to the New York Giants.
Bellinger was mostly a blocker on Montezuma Mesa but during the pre-draft process showed off some unseen athleticism and better than expected hands. He'll be used multiple ways in the offense of new head coach Brian Daboll, who turned the Buffalo Bills offense into one of the league's best as their offensive coordinator.
In the 6th round the Chicago Bears chose SDSU offensive tackle Zachary Thomas, whose brother Cameron was taken in the 3rd round by the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night. Zach fills a huge position of need for the Bears, who need to find ways to keep young quarterback Justin Fields upright.
Thomas is known more for his run blocking acumen but graded out well in pass protection and should only improve in that area with more repetitions. He could be moved inside to guard in the NFL, as well. The Bears knew they had severe needs up front so they drafted four o-linemen. Thomas was the 2nd one in that group and have a chance to start very early on.
A few more former Aztecs, including offensive lineman William Dunkle and running back Greg Bell, are expected to sign on as undrafted free agents and get a chance to make an NFL roster in training camp.