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NFLDraftScout's Rob Rang believes that Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch will be the combine's "breakout star."

Vander Esch was a breakout star for the Broncos in 2017 -- going from virtual unknown to winning the Mountain West Conference's defensive player of the year -- and multiple analysts have named him as a player they expect to do well in Indianapolis. Rang is not an exception. "Don’t be surprised when Vander Esch produces some of the top marks in 40-yard dash, shuttle drills and laps (among similarly sized prospects), regardless of position," he writes. The tape matters more, but if Vander Esch does stand out like Rang expects, he could start earning more first-round talk.
Feb 19 - 6:46 PM

Pro Football Focus lists Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch as the linebacker who had the highest run-stopping percentage in the 2017 season.

Vander Esch made a stop on approximately 15.9 percent of his chances, which is above TCU's linebacker Travin Howard and Auburn's Trey Williams. "Against the run, Vander Esch has the eyes to find the ball and has a knack for sliding past blockers to make a run stop," PFF's Jordan Plocher writes. " He uses his long stride to quickly cover ground on outside runs and is also a productive pass-rusher when asked, generating four sacks, two QB hits, 12 hurries and one batted pass on his 98 pass-rushing snaps." Vander Esch is considered one of the more intriguing athletes in the class, and has a strong chance of going before the end of the second round.
Feb 17 - 5:33 PM

Boise State hired former Colts defensive quality control coach Jeff Popovich to serve as cornerbacks coach.

Popovich shares no relation with the Spurs' Gregg Popovich. He spent the past two campaigns with the Colts. In terms of his work at the collegiate level, he previously worked as cornerbacks coach at UTSA from 2013-15 and DB coach/special teams coordinator at FIU from 2007-12.
Feb 15 - 6:40 PM

When NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah polled five personnel executives regarding which player will generate the most buzz at the NFL Scouting Combine, all five offered up different prospects.

Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch, Washington DT Vita Vea, LSU CB Donte Jackson, Florida State S Derwin James and NC State DE Kentavius Street each received one vote in the informal poll. We'll let Jeremiah cast the deciding vote here -- he throws his lot in with Vea, whom he believes is more athletic coming out of college than Ravens DT Haloti Ngata was at this point of his development. Ngata was selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 14 - 3:42 PM

ESPN's Kyle Bonagura believes Boise State freshman WR Khalil Shakir will contribute immediately.

Shakir (6'0/178) is a four-star prospect who chose the Broncos over offers from Arizona, Boston College, Colorado, Illinois, UCLA and Washington State, among others. "Shakir's offensive versatility -- he can play slot, outside, running back, returner -- should allow him to carve out a niche for the Broncos early on," Bonagura wrote. ESPN ranked him as the No. 60 receiver in the nation.
Source: ESPN
Jan 31 - 12:49 AM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline notes that the Cowboys are a "name to keep in mind" when it comes to Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch.

"The more tape scouts watch on Vander Esch the more they like him, and I fully expect the athletic linebacker to blow up the combine," Pauline wrote from the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder is a staunch defender against the run, one who possesses palatable length and measurables for NFL play. As Pauline alludes to, the first big step in Vander Esch's evaluating process will come at the NFL Scouting Combine next month. A first-round selection should very much be in play for the Boise State standout. If he falls to Day 2, we don't expect him to sit around for too longer in the second round.
Jan 25 - 4:05 PM

Boise State received a verbal commitment from three-star 2018 QB Riley Smith.

Smith (6'5/215) is currently Boise State's lone quarterback pledge of the 2018 cycle. They were forced to scramble a bit after previous signal-calling commit Zach Wilson decommitted in December. This won't be an immediate play for the Broncos, as starter Brett Rypien is returning for one more ride. Consider a redshirt likely for Smith in 2018.
Jan 25 - 1:03 PM

Boise State will promote Spencer Danielson from defensive graduate assistant to full-time coach.

Danielson came over to Boise State after spending four seasons working at Azusa Pacific. Football Scoop reports that he'll continue to work with the STUD position players on the Broncos.
Jan 6 - 5:36 PM

Boise State senior WR Cedrick Wilson has accepted an invitation to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl.

Wilson (6'3/183) also accepted an invitation in December to play in the East-West Shrine Game. He's coming off a monster Las Vegas Bowl where he caught 10 passes for 222 yards and a score in a victory over Oregon, and the senior wideout finished the 2017 season with 83 catches for 1,511 yards with seven scores. He's currently seen as an early Day 3 pick, but he could work his way into Day 2 consideration with a strong showing this winter.
Jan 4 - 6:12 PM

Boise State redshirt junior LB Leighton Vander Esch said that he's been told by multiple scouts and agents that he will be drafted no later than the second round.

Vander Esch (6'4/240) declared for the draft earlier on Thursday. While he has not yet heard back from the NFL draft advisory board, the early buzz he has received has been encouraging. A stout run defender, the linebacker absolutely dominated on the statistical board this season, registering 141 tackles (third most in the NCAA), four sacks and a pair of interceptions for the campaign. "Leighton’s a very good player," one scout told the Idaho Statesman, "got the height, weight, the speed, he’s productive, he’s got great length." That evaluator added that Vander Esch "has all the measurables you want."
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 04:02:00 PM

Boise State redshirt junior LB Leighton Vander Esch will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

It's amazing how much Vander Esch improved this season after seeing minimal snaps in 2015 and 2016. As an inside linebacker he produced most of his damage against the run, but he's growing in coverage as well. Kamalei Correa left Boise State a few years ago and was viewed as a hybrid edge/inside linebacker. Expect LVE to project off the ball, and a top three round pick could be in his future. His 6-foot-4 240-pound frame is unique.
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 11:23:00 AM

Boise State junior QB Brett Rypien completed 21-of-38 passes for 363 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Saturday's 38-28 win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Rypien made several head-scratching decisions -- including a bad interception in the end zone -- but on the whole, this was a fine showing for the 6-foot-2, 199-pound junior signal-caller. He wraps the year having thrown for 2,858 yards with a 16/6 TD/INT ratio across 12 games played. While Rypien could potentially declare for the draft, his smartest move would probably be to return to school for one more season. He's yet to take the true step forward that we've been waiting for since he took over as starter two seasons ago.
Sat, Dec 16, 2017 07:41:00 PM

Boise State redshirt senior RB Ryan Wolpin rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in Saturday's 38-28 win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl.

While regular starter Alexander Mattison did play in this one despite a leg injury, Wolpin out-carried him 23 to 3 in the roasting of the Ducks. The 5-foot-7, 195-pounder packs all of the strength into that small frame and is capable of bench-pressing 383 yards. He should show well in strength testing this spring, but does not hold any true intrigue for the NFL.
Sat, Dec 16, 2017 07:32:00 PM

Boise State senior WR Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 38-28 win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Just a masterful performance by Wilson, who repeatedly shredded the Ducks deep while showing an almost preternatural connection with QB Brett Rypien. The showing was all the more impressive for the fact that Wilson was hobbled at several points in the contest by an apparent leg injury. It didn't slow him one bit. The 6-foot-3, 183-pounder's 1,512 receiving yards for the season set a new single-season program record, toppling the mark set by Thomas Sperbeck during the 2015 campaign. Wilson is one of the more intriguing under-the-radar receiving prospects in the draft pool. Not only does he pique interest as a potential fifth wideout, he also should receive some looks as a return man. Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline believes a strong evaluating process -- particularly in terms of his 40-yard dash time -- could help to push him into the middle rounds come the spring.
Sat, Dec 16, 2017 07:26:00 PM

Boise State senior TE Jake Roh (ankle) was ruled out for Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl tilt against Oregon.

There had been some hope that Roh would be able to play in this one, but after warming up he was ultimately sidelined for the contest. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound senior has been a steady performer for the Broncos this season, having caught 39 passes for 410 yards while posting 11 total touchdowns (nine receiving, two rushing).
Sat, Dec 16, 2017 04:40:00 PM


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