Sports

Fresno State QB Brandstater gets draft news in Modesto

Tom Brandstater (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Tom Brandstater (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Tom Brandstater and Bear Pascoe couldn't take it anymore.

The football players that represented Fresno State's best chances of getting drafted had slipped further than either had projected.

Sure, the first two rounds of the NFL Draft on Saturday was kind of a reach.

But when the third, fourth and fifth rounds were completed Sunday, Brandstater and Pascoe still remained undrafted.

They both had different approaches with how to deal with the anxiety.

But when the long and frustrating day was over, Brandstater and Pascoe both expressed relief. More than that, they had expressed elation with the teams that drafted them.

With the first pick of the sixth round and 174th player selected overall, Brandstater was drafted by the Denver Broncos and joins a team that could have a starting quarterback opening.

"At the end of the day, it worked out perfectly," Brandstater said.

Ten picks later in the sixth round, Pascoe was the 184th player drafted, taken by the San Francisco 49ers, which will allow the Porterville native to remain close to home.

"I'm ecstatic," Pascoe said. "I love that I get to stay in California and stay close to my family, and everyone who has followed my career and wears a cowboy hat could make it to more of my games."

Both players woke up about 7 a.m. to tune in to the start of the third round.

Brandstater, who spent the past three years as Fresno State's starting quarterback, watched the draft in Modesto at a bar that overlooked a pristine golf course.

About 70 family members and friends joined. At one point, Brandstater said he was told he could go as high as the third round. With each round that passed and each quarterback that was taken that wasn't him, Brandstater was consoled by his mom.

Then finally, Brandstater received a call from the Broncos, who said they were trying to trade with the Detroit Lions to get him. The room of family and friends all quieted down to hear Brandstater's conversation. A couple of minutes later, Brandstater's name was announced on ESPN.

High school friends mobbed the 6-foot-5 quarterback and some family members cried. Brandstater wanted to hear what ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper had to say about him, but the room was too loud for anyone to hear over the cheers.

Brandstater was the seventh quarterback taken in the draft and joins a Broncos team that traded franchise quarterback Jay Cutler this offseason and appears to have quarterback uncertainty. Kyle Orton and Chris Simms are the frontrunners for the job.

"That would absolutely be the best if I had a chance to compete for starting quarterback," said Brandstater, who worked out for the Broncos in Fresno earlier this month. "This is what I've worked so hard for all these days, to reach this level and play in the NFL."

Said Kiper about Brandstater during the TV broadcast: "When you play for [Fresno State coach] Pat Hill, you know how to play in the NFL. He slipped a little bit. ... But he has some physical skills that you like."

Down in Porterville, Pascoe stopped watching the draft early on in the third round, instead preferring to retreat to his parents' barn and practice roping a dummy bull.

The closest TV was about 100 yards away, back inside his parents' house, where about 30 family members and friends slowly filed in and out throughout the day.

Pascoe, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound starting tight end for Fresno State the past three years, said he was told at one point that he might get drafted as early as the third round.

But as the day went on and he still wasn't picked, Pascoe didn't care when he went or to whom he went. He just wanted to get drafted.

Then as the sixth round got under way, Pascoe received a call from the New England Patriots, who told him they were going to select him when it was their turn.

But within a couple of minutes, Pascoe received another call, this time from the 49ers, who said they were going to pick him right then.

The 49ers had shown little interest in Pascoe leading up to the draft, only talking to him during a quick interview and never holding a private workout for the tight end.

Though surprised by who drafted him, Pascoe, who is always courteous when speaking, politely thanked the 49ers and tried to tell his family the news before the announcement came on TV.

"I'm happy I got drafted," said Pascoe, who was the 13th tight end selected. "I expected to go a little earlier, but it is what it is. I'm going to play my butt off for the 49ers, and take this opportunity to rock and roll."

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