Six Popeyes Bahamas Bowl alumni selected in 2017 NFL Draft
Six student-athletes who played in the first three Popeyes Bahamas Bowls will get their opportunity to make NFL rosters after being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, held April 27-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Three of the universities that participated in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – WKU (2014), Western Michigan (2015) and Eastern Michigan (2016) – had at least one player selected during the NFL’s seven-round draft. The bowl’s 2015 champion Western Michigan led the way with three selections, while inaugural 2014 champion WKU had two players taken and 2016 runner-up Eastern Michigan had one player selected.
In the first round (No. 5 overall), Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis was selected by the Tennessee Titans, the highest selection of a Popeyes Bahamas Bowl alumni in the history of the bowl. Davis set bowl records with eight receptions for 183 yards and scored a touchdown in the Broncos’ 45-31 victory over Middle Tennessee in 2015. He is the highest selection of a Broncos player in school history. Davis ended his career as the all-time leading receiver in FBS history with 5,285 yards and was a 2016 consensus All-American selection.
In the second round, two bowl alumni were selected as WKU guard Forrest Lamp went to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 38 overall and Western Michigan guard Taylor Moton was the No. 64 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. Lamp started the 2014 game on the offensive line for the Hilltoppers and was part of an offense that put up a bowl-record 647 total yards in a 49-48 victory over Central Michigan, and he is the highest draft selection in WKU history. Moton was part of a Broncos offensive line that opened the holes for a bowl-record 282 rushing yards and 613 total offense yards in the 2015 victory over Middle Tennessee. He also was a 2016 All-American selection by three organizations.
In the third round, WKU wide receiver Taywan Taylor was selected at No. 72 overall by the Titans. Taylor started the 2015 game for the Hilltoppers and had one reception for 28 yards and a 11-yard rush against Middle Tennessee. He holds WKU school records for career receiving yards with 4,234, receptions with 253 and receiving touchdowns with 41.
In the seventh round, two more bowl alumni had their names called by NFL teams as Western Michigan linebacker Keion Adams was selected at No. 248 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Eastern Michigan defensive end Pat O’Connor was taken at No. 250 by the Detroit Lions. Adams, who started the 2015 bowl for the Broncos, had seven total tackles (three solo and 1.5 for loss) and a sack against Middle Tennessee. He led the MAC with 18.5 tackles for loss on the way to All-MAC honors. O’Connor started the 2016 game for the Eagles against Old Dominion and had four total tackles (two solo and two for loss), a one-half sack and a pass breakup. He finished his career as EMU’s all-time sack leader with 20, including 8.5 in 2016 as a first-team All-MAC selection.
The six selections give the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl a total of 14 total alumni chosen in the last three NFL Drafts, including a bowl-record seven in the 2016 Draft. Five bowl alumni have played in at least one NFL regular-season game, including four who were drafted by NFL teams.
The NFL Draft is not the end of the process for players not selected as each NFL team will sign undrafted free agents to rosters in the next few weeks in anticipation of the 2017 season.
2017 NFL Draft Selections of Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Alumni
Round 1, No. 5 overall: Western Michigan WR Corey Davis (Tennessee Titans)
Round 2, No. 38 overall: WKU G Forrest Lamp (Los Angeles Chargers)
Round 2, No. 64 overall: Western Michigan G Taylor Moton (Carolina Panthers)
Round 3, No. 72 overall: WKU WR Taywan Taylor (Tennessee Titans)
Round 7, No. 248 overall: Western Michigan LB Keion Adams (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Round 7, No. 250 overall: Eastern Michigan DE Pat O’Connor (Detroit Lions)
For more information on the 2017 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, visit PopeyesBahamasBowl.com.