NEW YORK -- A trio of All-Big Ten performers for the University of Michigan football team were selected during the 71st annual National Football League Draft held Saturday and Sunday (April 29-30) from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Nose tackle Gabe Watson (Novi, Mich./Southfield HS) and wide receiver Jason Avant (Chicago, Ill./Carver HS) were fourth round draft picks and tight end Tim Massaquoi (Allentown, Pa./Parkland HS) was selected in the seventh round.
A two-time All-Big Ten first team performer, Watson was selected early on the second day of the draft. He became the 10th pick of the fourth round, the 107th overall selection, by the Arizona Cardinals. Watson is the highest-drafted U-M defensive lineman since the Cincinnati Bengals made 1997 All-American Glen Steele the 105th overall pick of the 1998 draft.
Avant was drafted two picks after Watson, going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 12th selection of the fourth round (109th overall). Avant becomes the fourth U-M wide receiver drafted in the last six NFL drafts and is the first Wolverine wideout ever drafted by the Eagles.
The third and final Wolverine selected in the 2006 draft, Massaquoi was a seventh round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the 244th overall selection and the 36th player picked in the final round. A two-time All-Big Ten first team selection, Massaquoi is just the fourth U-M player drafted by the Buccaneers and is the only player on the organization's roster this upcoming season.
Other senior members can begin signing free agent contracts.
Following are the Wolverines selected during the 2006 NFL Draft:
|Player, Pos.||NFL Team||Overall Pick|
|Gabe Watson, NT||Arizona Cardinals||107th (4th round, 10th pick)|
|Jason Avant, WR||Philadelphia Eagles||109th (4th round, 12th pick)|
|Tim Massaquoi, TE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||244th (7th round, 36th pick)|
Watson is the first defensive lineman selected in the draft since defensive tackle Josh Williams (fourth round) and nose tackle Rob Renes (seventh round) were selected by the Indianapolis Colts in 2000 draft.
Watson joins a pair of former teammates on the Arizona Cardinals roster, quarterback John Navarre and safety Ernest Shazor.
Watson is the fifth defensive lineman drafted during Carr's tenure, joining Williams, Renes and Cincinnati Bengals draft picks Glen Steele and Will Carr (seventh round, 1997).
Watson is the first defensive lineman drafted by the Cardinals since the then St. Louis Cardinals made defensive end Curtis Greer the highest-drafted defensive lineman in U-M school history. Greer was the sixth overall pick in the 1980 NFL draft.
Avant joins right tackle Jon Runyan and linebacker Dhani Jones on the Eagles roster.
Avant is the seventh wide receiver drafted during Carr's tenure.
Media Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423