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NFL Calls on Yale Senior

By Robert S Samuels, Crimson Staff Writer

Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘05 was nearly Mr. Irrelevant in the 2005 NFL Draft, as the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round with the 250th pick overall.

Now, the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills has something in common with another starter from the Ancient Eight.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Yale senior Shane Bannon in the seventh and final round of the 2011 NFL Draft on Saturday, albeit 27 picks higher than Fitzpatrick. Bannon’s selection marks the first time since 2004 that a Bulldog has been taken in the NFL Draft.

Currently, no Yalies play in the NFL.

Unlike Fitzpatrick, who broke numerous records during his time in a Crimson uniform, Bannon didn’t light up the score sheet. In 2010, the H-back started every game but scored just one touchdown while catching 13 passes for 122 yards.

Bannon contributed to the team more with his blocking skills than with his catching or running abilities. In fact, this year he earned the Jim Keppel Award, given to Yale’s best offensive back.

As the Chiefs and others have noticed, Bannon has two of the necessary attributes of a great blocker: size and speed. An “absolute bulldozer of a blocker,” according to USA Today, Bannon stands at 6'2" and 265 pounds and can run the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds.

Additionally, Bannon has a lot of versatility and could play a number of positions for the Chiefs, including fullback, halfback, or tight end.

Ivy Leaguer players have a history of gracing the seventh round. Last year, the Tennessee Titans selected Brown defensive tackle David Howard in the draft’s final round. And in 2001, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Yale safety Eric Johnson, also in the seventh round.

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