Jalen Myrick spent Saturday afternoon walking around his neighborhood in his hometown in Georgia. Anything to take his mind off the NFL draft and the excruciating wait to hear his name called.
“I was just pacing,” he said. “A lot of walking.”
The former Gophers cornerback thought his scorching time in the 40-yard dash — 4.28 seconds — at the NFL combine would make him a mid-round pick. Instead, he had to wait until the seventh round, where the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the 222nd overall pick.
Myrick said he was surprised to fall that far but grateful that Jacksonville selected him. He was the only Gopher drafted.
Later Saturday, the Gophers announced safety Damarius Travis signed with New England as an undrafted free agent, as did offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig with Tennessee.
“It was a long day,” Myrick said. “Longer than I expected, but it turned out for the best.”
“Because I went to a team that’s close to home,” he said. “It’s just a good opportunity for me.”
Myrick met with Jaguars officials at the combine. He said he will be given an opportunity to play outside cornerback and nickel corner, as well as return kickoffs and punts.
Myrick’s 40 time was the second fastest at the combine this season. Washington receiver John Ross set a combine record at 4.22 seconds.
Myrick led the Gophers in pass breakups this past season with 11. He added one interception and 41 tackles. He thought his 40-yard dash time would elevate his draft status “a good bit.”
“Maybe it did,” he admitted. “If I didn’t do that, who knows what would have happened?”
Myrick joins a group of Gophers defensive backs who have been drafted in recent years: Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson and Eric Murray.
“I want people to start respecting our school,” he said. “I feel like we don’t get respected as much. Even though I ran a 4.28, it didn’t even get that much publicity. It was kind of almost shoved away. I want everyone to know we’ve got DBs here too. We’re putting out one every year [in the draft].”