University of Maryland football players Nick Cross, a defensive back, and Chigoziem Okonkwo, a tight end, were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft this weekend in Las Vegas.
A Terp has been selected in five straight and 26 of the last 28 NFL Drafts, and multiple Maryland players have been picked in four of the last five.
Cross, drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round with the 96th overall pick, became the highest Maryland player selected since Darnell Savage Jr. went in the first round at No. 21 overall to the Green Bay Packers in 2019.
Three-time All-Big Ten selection Cross, who started all 13 games at safety during his junior season in 2021, stood second on the team with 66 tackles (44 solo) and led Maryland with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. He also posted 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. At the NFL Combine in February, Cross ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any safety, with a 4.34.
Okonkwo was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round with the 143rd overall pick, becoming the first tight end drafted from Maryland since Dan Gronkowski in 2009. He's the highest-drafted Terp tight end since Vernon Davis went sixth overall in 2006.
Okonkwo hauled in 52 receptions for 447 yards during Maryland’s 2021 season, and he caught five touchdowns en route to being named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.
Besides the two drafted Terps, former UMD lacrosse star Jared Bernhardt signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday evening. Bernhardt—who won the 2021 Tewaaraton Award, given to the top male and female player in college lacrosse, and retired as Maryland men’s lacrosse’s all-time leader in points and goals—dramatically finished his collegiate athletic career last fall as a quarterback at Division II Ferris State, where he led the Bulldogs to an undefeated National Championship.
Bernhardt joins two other Terps who signed as undrafted free agents: Sam Okuayinonu, who agreed to a deal with the Titans, and Tayon Fleet-Davis, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
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