From SLU Athletics
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University cornerback Robert Alford became the first Lion player to be selected in the NFL Draft in a generation when he was picked in the second round Friday by the Atlanta Falcons.
The 60th pick overall and first player picked from the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Alford became Southeastern's first draft selection since the school resumed football in 2003 after an 18-year hiatus. The selection of the Hammond native marked the first time a Southeastern player was picked in the NFL Draft since punter Bret Wright was selected in the eighth round by the New York Jets in 1984.
"Once I got the call from the Atlanta Falcons I was very excited," Alford said. "I know the Atlanta Falcons are a team that I've been following since I was a little boy. I always looked up to Deion (Sanders) and that was the first team that Deion ever played for so it felt real good for Deion to announce my name. It was like two things came together at once and I'm very excited about it."
Alford, whose selection was announced by former Falcon standout and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, became the second-highest player drafted in school history after linebacker Calvin Favron was drafted No. 46 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979.
"He will be one of, if not, the fastest guy on our team," said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.
The Falcons addressed their secondary with their first two picks after selection Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant with the 22nd pick overall on Thursday.
Alford rose up the NFL Draft charts after a stellar 2012 season in which he was selected as the College Sports Journal FCS National Defensive Player of the Year, a Buck Buchanan Award finalist and Associated Press and Sports Network All-America.
He totaled 39 tackles on the season for Southeastern and recorded four interceptions (which was tied for the Southland Conference lead), five tackles for loss and eight pass breakups. Alford averaged 14.1 yards in punt returns on the season with a touchdown and showed his versatility as a kick returner and part-time offensive threat.
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA PLAYERS DRAFTED BY NFL (since 1966)
2013 – Robert Alford, Cornerback, Atlanta Falcons, 2nd round (60th)
1984 – Bret Wright, Punter, New York Jets, 8th round (217th)
1982 – Mack Boatner, Running back, Miami Dolphins, 9th round (248th)
1981 – Anthony Vereen, Defensive Back, Kansas City Chiefs, 9th round (237th)
1979 – Calvin Favron, Linebacker, St. Louis Cardinals, 2nd round, (46th
1979 – Donald Dykes, Defensive Back, New York Jets, 3rd round (68th)
1971 – Ronnie Hornsby, Linebacker, New York Giants, 3rd round (70th)
1966 – Billy Andrews, Linebacker, Cleveland Browns, 13th round (333rd)