K-State Wildcats enter the NFL ranks after the 2019 Draft

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Offensive lineman Dalton Risner holds the Family block, prepared to bolt out before the start of the K-State football game against Oklahoma State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 13, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Cowboys 31-12. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

The first of the final waves of Bill Snyder recruits entered the 2019 NFL draft with high expectations. Many former Wildcats signed in free agency, but many will have the potential to get some playing time on Sundays.

Dalton Risner was the biggest prospect for the K-State Wildcats in the NFL draft. Risner, an offensive lineman, represented Kansas State in the senior bowl and was drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos.

Risner, the Wiggins, Colorado native, signed as an instant starter for the Broncos. Risner also has potential to become a pro-bowl caliber offensive lineman in the AFC West division.

Cornerback Duke Shelley got drafted as the 33rd pick in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears. Shelley suffered season-ending injuries in the last two years, but impressed scouts during the K-State Pro Day in March.

Shelley is a solid defensive back who can become a reliable return man for the Bears next season. Shelley’s best performance of last season came at home against Oklahoma State where he had six tackles with two interceptions. His season was ultimately cut short a week later after a leg injury. If Shelley can stay healthy, he could make waves in the NFL.

One of the most shocking parts of the draft was watching running back Alex Barnes go undrafted. Barnes held the top spot in the bench press among running backs with 34 reps but only slightly tailed off in the rest of the combine.

Barnes was signed by the Tennessee Titans shortly after the draft ended. Barnes led the Big 12 in rushing in 2018 over Iowa State junior David Montgomery and Oklahoma State junior Justice Hill. Both Montgomery and Hill were drafted.

Barnes is an extremely physical running back and proved it in the Snyder offense. Barnes will be able to grind in small yardage situations and has the potential to be a valuable asset to the Titans who currently have Derrick Henry in the backfield.

Defensive back Eli Walker signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Walker finished the 2018 season tied for 20th in the Big 12 in tackles at 68 which also leads the Wildcat defense.

The Seahawks are in the process of rebuilding the “legion of boom” and Walker is a good option for Seattle who reached the Wild Card game in the playoffs in the 2018-2019 season. Walker will join former Wildcat Winston Dimel in Seattle as both were signed as undrafted free agents. Walker will have his hands full as he competes for a roster spot on a competitive defensive team.

Offensive lineman Abdul Beecham signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills. Beecham is a consistent offensive lineman and has the potential to become a starter for the Bills who are looking to amp up the protection for second-year quarterback Josh Allen after losing multiple starters in the offensive line.

Beecham appeared in all 12 games last season and started in 11 in his senior season. The Bills are aiming to make reach the playoffs again after a 6-10 season in 2018-19.

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