Harvard football may not compete at the highest level collegiately, but every year, players from Crimson coach Tim Murphy’s program garner interest from the highest level professionally, the National Football League. This year, senior tight end Kyle Juszczyk has been receiving a lot of pro attention and could become the first Harvard football player to be selected by a team in the NFL draft since quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05.
According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, Juszczyk projects as a late-fifth or sixth round pick. Fitzpatrick was selected by the Rams in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.
Juszczyk, who was a two-time FCS All-American at tight end, has decided to make the transition to fullback, where his toughness and blocking ability will be more suited to the pro game. ESPN Insider and draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. considers Juszczyk to be the No. 1 fullback in this year’s draft class.
During his career, Juszczyk was named to three All-Ivy teams and was a member of the 2011 Ivy League-champion Crimson. He leaves Harvard in the top-ten all-time in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Juszczyk demonstrated his strength and speed at Harvard’s Mar. 14 Pro Day, where Juszczyk, Ivy League MVP quarterback Colton Chapple, All-Ivy running back Treavor Scales, All-Ivy guard John Collins, All-Ivy defensive end John Lyon, and All-Ivy punter Jacob Dombrowski, as well as nine other non-Harvard players, worked out for 15 NFL teams.
The 6’1”, 248-pound fullback/tight end tallied 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and clocked a 4.77 40-yard dash. Scales ran the fastest 40 in 4.45 seconds and had the highest vertical of the day at 41 inches.
None of the other Crimson prospects project as draft picks, but in the recent past, a number of Harvard graduates have been given a chance in the NFL as undrafted free agents. Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant ’09 signed as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders and recently signed with the Cleveland Browns for $34 million. Offensive lineman Kevin Murphy ’12 signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Ivy League defensive player of the year Josue Ortiz ’11 received attention from a number of NFL teams before ultimately not finding a place in the league. Similarly, former captain Collin Zych ’11 attended the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp before being cut in 2011.
The NFL Draft begins on April 25 and concludes April 27.