Six Oregon Football Players Sign as NFL Free Agents
April 23, 2001
EUGENE - One day after quarterback A.J. Feeley became Oregon's lone player to be taken in this year's annual National Football League draft, six former Ducks were signed to free agent contracts by five different NFL teams.
Heading the list were three of Oregon's seven departing starters on defense, led by linemen Saul Patu and Jason Nikolao to the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively, as well as former Grants Pass linebacker Matt Smith to the Indianapolis Colts. Joining Smith in Indianapolis will be reserve tight end Enyi Nwamuo, while punter Kurtis Doerr was signed by the Seattle Seahawks and wide receiver Marshaun Tucker by the Tennessee Titans.
Smith completed his senior season as the Ducks' leading tackler, recording 90 stops along with four interceptions, while Patu was the team's top down lineman. The Seattle native registered 66 tackles a year ago in addition to leading the team with 20 tackles for loss, including 11 quarterback sacks to push his career sack total to 26 ï¿½ as the school's all-time runner-up.
Doerr ranked fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference in individual punting with a 40.7-yard average as Oregon led the league in team net punting (37.7 avg.). Tucker ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in receiving yards (79.2 avg.) and sixth in receptions (4.55 avg.), completing his senior season with 51 catches for 882 yards and six touchdowns.
Feeley was taken in the fifth round of the draft Sunday by the Philadelphia Eagles and was the ninth of 11 quarterbacks drafted in the seven rounds with the 155th pick despite completing only five of 13 passes for 87 yards in two appearances in 2000. However, he completed 136 of 259 passes for 1,951 yards and 14 scores his junior year before giving way to Joey Harrington, rising as high as eighth in the country in passing efficiency following five games while starting Oregon's first eight contests.