San Diegans Start NFL Journey During and After 2020 Draft

Local college and high school players get their shots to make National Football League rosters

America's Finest City has been the breeding ground for some of America's finest football players. Being a part of that club is something guys who grow up in San Diego take to heart.

"There are great guys who have come out of San Diego so putting myself in that conversation is a shocker, that I could be one of those guys drafted out of San Diego. I feel honored to be representing my city like that," says Washington State wide receiver Dezmon Patmon, who got to Pullman after a successful career at Francis Parker High School.

The 2020 NFL Draft could be the springboard to success for several more ballplayers who honed their skills in San Diego, including Patmon. He was taken in the 6th round (212th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts so he'll get to start his professional career catching passes from another guy San Diego football fans know pretty well: Philip Rivers.

Patmon is a big target at 6'4" and 225 pounds and has excellent hands, exactly the kind of target Rivers loved when he had Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson in San Diego. Patmon also plays special teams so he'll be given a good chance to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.

First off the board from our town was Terrell Burgess, a defensive back from Utah who went to the Los Angeles Rams in the 3rd round (104th overall). Burgess is a San Marcos product who played mostly safety in college but has the skill to be a slot cornerback. The Rams have needs at both spots after losing Eric Weddle to retirement and Nickell Robey-Coleman in free agency.

In the 5th round San Diego State center Keith Ismael was selected by the Washington Redskins (156th overall). Ismael was a two-time All-Mountain Mountain West Conference selection who was named the Aztecs lineman of the year as a sophomore and junior. Ismael was the second lineman taken by Washington after LSU tackle Saahdiq Charles went in the 4th round. Ismael also plays guard so if he doesn't win the starting center job he could be in the mix to replace left guard Brandon Scherff, who signed his franchise tag and could only be with the Redskins for one more season.

In the 7th round Cathedral Catholic High alum and Stanford Cardinal linebacker Casey Toohill was drafted 233rd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. At 6'4" and 250 pounds Toohill was listed as a defensive end by Philly so they think his size and production (8.0 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss in 2019) could give him success with his hand on the ground as a lineman at the next level.

After the Draft several local players signed on as undrafted rookie free agents. University of San Diego quarterback Reid Sinnett agreed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sinnett only started for one season at USD but it was a ridiculously impressive year. He had a passer rating of 169 and accounted for 38 total touchdowns, 32 of them passing. Sinnett will get to sit in the same QB room as Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians, one of the best offensive minds in the game.

San Diego State's Khahva Tezino inexplicably went undrafted. The 2-time All-Mountain West Conference 1st team selection was a tackling machine and All-American honorable mention. He's ending up in a pretty good spot, though. Tezino agreed to join the New England Patriots where head coach Bill Belichick has a history of turning rookie free agents into not just contributors, but in some cases Pro Bowlers and even one future Hall of Famer (Adam Vinatieri).

Fellow Aztec Luq Barcoo is heading east to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. The cornerback from Castle Park High School and Grossmont College was among the nation leaders with nine interceptions as a senior, with three of them coming on three straight series in a win at Colorado State. He was expected to be selected in the 6th or 7th round, especially after running a reported 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash. If Barcoo can put some weight on his 6'1", 175-pound frame he could be a starting cornerback in the NFL.

The Colts doubled up on Patrick Henry players when they added Kameron Cline, a defensive end from South Dakota. Cline had 4.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss with the Coyotes last year but is known as a run-stopping specialist. Since Indianapolis plays the Tennessee Titans and NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry twice a year it's a good idea to stock up on as many guys who can stop running backs as you can.

Oceanside High alum and former Arizona Wildcat defensive back Jace Whittaker is now a member of the Arizona Cardinals. Whittaker had seven interceptions in his four years in Tucson. He's only 5'11" so some teams were concerned with his ability to cover bigger NFL wide receivers but he's one of the quickest players in the Draft and makes up for a lack of pure size by putting himself in the right spot on the field.

Kearny High School and Boise St. defensive lineman David Moa landed with the Minnesota Vikings. He lost nearly all the 2018 season to an Achilles tendon injury but was granted a 6th medical redshirt year and had a strong senior season, making the All-Mountain West 2nd Team. He played mostly on the interior defensive line in college and made a name for himself with his toughness.

Keep checking this story for updates as they become available.

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