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Ezukanma, Deaton picked on final day of NFL Draft

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 7:26 PM CDT
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Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech wide receiver Erik Ezukanma and offensive lineman Dawson Deaton were both selected during the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday as Ezukanma was picked in the fourth round by the Miami Dolphins followed by Deaton in the seventh round with the Cleveland Browns.

With the two picks, Texas Tech now boasts multiple NFL Draft selections over three-consecutive years, its longest such run since 2003-05) since popular names such as Kliff Kingsbury (2003), Aaron Hunt (2003), B.J. Symons (2004), Carlos Francis (2004), Mike Smith (2005), Dylan Gandy (2005) and Daniel Loper (2005) all had their names called.

Ezukanma, continues Texas Tech’s long tradition of sending wide receivers to the league as he joins recent draftees such as Keke Coutee (2018), Dylan Cantrell (2018), Jakeem Grant (2016) and Michael Crabtree (2009). That list doesn’t even include successful free agent signees still in the NFL like Danny Amendola or Cameron Batson.

The wideout, however, who started Texas Tech’s run of successful NFL wide receivers will now be his position coach in Miami as Wes Welker joined the Dolphins organization this offseason. The organization has traditionally been great to Texas Tech, having selected Ring of Honor member Zach Thomas in the fifth round of the 1996 draft.

Ezukanma recorded 138 catches for 2,165 yards and 15 touchdowns over his 35 career games as a Red Raider as he was an All-Big 12 first team honoree by the conference coaches in 2020 and then a second-team recipient in 2021. The Fort Worth native is only the 15th player in program history to record at least 2,000 receiving yards in a career.

Deaton, meanwhile, was a mainstay on the offensive line the past three seasons for the Red Raiders as he made 35 starts, including 33 at center. Deaton, a native of Frisco, Texas, was a three-time All-Big 12 honoree, earning second team honors each of the past two seasons as well as honorable mention accolades in 2019.

His work this past season placed him in an elite category among Texas Tech offensive linemen as he became only the seventh Red Raider to garner All-Big 12 first or second team honors twice in a career. Deaton was the highest-graded offensive lineman for the Red Raiders this past season after starting in 11 games, including a memorable win in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

Texas Tech will have the opportunity to add additional Red Raiders into the NFL ranks throughout the weekend through undrafted free agent agreements. Those agreements will be announced via @TexasTechFB on Twitter as they are confirmed.

NFL DRAFT RESULTS

125 (4th Round) – Erik Ezukanma, WR (Miami Dolphins)

246 (7th Round) – Dawson Deaton, OL (Cleveland Browns)

NFL FREE AGENT AGREEMENTS

DaMarcus Fields, DB – New Orleans Saints

Jonathan Garibay, PK – Dallas Cowboys

Kaylon Geiger Sr., WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TEXAS TECH NFL DRAFT NOTES

Erik Ezukanma becomes the sixth Red Raider to be selected by the Miami Dolphins and the first since wide receiver Jakeem Grant was taken in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. The Dolphins have also used draft picks previously to select fellow Red Raiders such as Texas Tech Ring of Honor member Zach Thomas (1996), defensive tackle Artis Jackson (10th round, 1988), safety Tate Randle (8th round, 1982) and tight end Andre Tillman (2nd round, 1974).

Texas Tech currently boasts eight NFL wide receivers as Ezukanma joins the likes of Danny Amendola (Texans), Cameron Batson (Titans), Dylan Cantrell (Commanders), Keke Coutee (Colts), Jakeem Grant (Browns), T.J. Vasher (Cowboys) and Antoine Wesley (Cardinals), all of which were on NFL rosters at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

Texas Tech has now had a Red Raider selected within the first four rounds of each of the last three drafts after linebacker Jordyn Brooks was chosen late in the first round in 2020 and then defensive back Zech McPhearson was also picked in the fourth round last year.

Erik Ezukanma is the seventh Red Raider to be picked in the first four rounds since 2014 alone, joining a list that includes tight end Jace Amaro (2nd round, 2014), Le’Raven Clark (3rd round, 2016), Patrick Mahomes II (1st round, 2017), Keke Coutee (4th round, 2018), Jordyn Brooks (1st round, 2019) and Zech McPhearson (4th round, 2021).

Dawson Deaton becomes the first Red Raider to be selected by a franchise based in Cleveland since 2000 when the Browns selected defensive back Anthony Malbrough in the fifth round.

The Cleveland Browns have now selected seven Red Raiders in the franchise’s history as Deaton joins the likes of Malbrough, cornerback King Simmons (12th round, 1986), linebacker Jeff Copeland (8th round, 1980), kicker Jerry Sanders (12th round, 1970), fullback Rick Spinks (21st round, 1955) and Ring of Honor member Elmer Tarbox (3rd round, 1939).

With Dawson Deaton’s selection, Texas Tech has now had offensive linemen selected in consecutive drafts for the first time since 2005-06 when Dylan Gandy (4th round, 2005) and Daniel Loper (5th round, 2005) were picked followed a year later by E.J. Whitley (7th round, 2006). Jack Anderson was previously selected in the seventh round of the 2021 draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Texas Tech now boasts four offensive linemen currently in the NFL as Dawson Deaton joins Anderson (Eagles), 2020 undrafted free agent Terence Steele (Cowboys) and 2016 third round selection Le’Raven Clark (Eagles). Steele has made 27 starts the past two seasons for the Cowboys.