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2017 NFL Draft: WSU’s Shalom Luani drafted, Gabe Marks and Robert Barber sign as UDFAs

River Cracraft, however, appears to still be waiting for a phone call.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft didn’t go as well for WSU fans and their favorite players as everyone had hoped.

Yes, Shalom Luani was selected in the seventh round by the Oakland Raiders, but that’s about two rounds after where we all were hoping he’d be taken. It’s a rough spot, as seventh rounders seem to have about the same success rate of making final rosters as undrafted free agents do — except, they don’t have the luxury of somewhat choosing their landing spot.

Case in point: The Raiders selected safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round, who basically is a bigger, faster version of Luani.

“I didn’t know what to say,” Luani told Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. “I was just standing there so excited and happy and all my people around me. I just wanted to give them hugs and thank them for being there because the waiting process is something else. I’m glad they were there for me. It’s a dream come true. I came here to make my family proud and I proved that point.”

But at least Luani got drafted. All seven rounds went by and Gabe Marks — the Pac-12’s all-time leader in receptions — didn’t hear his name called.

Gabe, unsurprisingly, was not pleased.

Some time passed after the draft and no word surfaced about Marks’ landing spot as an undrafted free agent (although there was a brief Twitter rumor that he had signed with the Seattle Seahawks), suggesting he was weighing his options. He would eventually sign with the New York Jets.

Loh caught up with a couple of draft analysts to try and explain Marks’ slide out of the draft, and one theme was consistent: Measurables. Rob Rang, of CBS Sports, told her Marks “lacks elite traits.” Dion Caputi, of National Football Post, wrote something similar to Loh.

“In a WR class that was seemingly so deep on the backend, a guy like Marks who doesn’t have great size-to-speed ratio took a bit of a knock in value,” Caputi said. “A lot of the receivers taken had that element, even if they were a work in progress.”

Case in point No. 2: Marks’ possesses the “grit” that the Seahawks generally love, yet they used one of their seventh round picks on David Moore, a receiver out of some place called East Central University (it’s in Oklahoma, I found out), who is also 6 feet tall, but is 219 pounds and runs a 4.4. Maybe the guy only caught 57 passes for 878 yards at a Division II school, but hey ... he’s fast? And maybe he can play special teams?

So now, Marks has a chance to make a roster that, frankly, isn’t very good at receiver. Plus, the Jets have a new offensive coordinator who isn’t likely to be married to the incumbents, and most of the receivers already on the team are young, cheap and expendable if someone outplays them.

Put plainly, Gabe is going to make that opening-day roster, and it won’t surprise any of us.

If you’re wondering how Marks feels about all this ... well, it doesn’t appear he’s talking yet. Which, as much as we all love him on the microphone, is probably for the best.

Robert Barber will also get a shot with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent, despite still facing charges stemming from an off-campus fight last July.

There is no word yet on River Cracraft’s landing spot; I would guess that teams are waiting until he’s 100 percent healthy before extending an invitation to rookie minicamp.

NFL Draft

From FIFA to the NFL: Raiders select Shalom Luani out of Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Shalom Luani’s gamble when he gave up a promising soccer career to pursue his NFL dreams paid off on Saturday when the Oakland Raiders picked him in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, making him the 221st overall selection.

Why WSU receiver Gabe Marks, who signed with the New York Jets, went undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft | The Seattle Times
Marks “lacks elite traits,” CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang wrote in a text message to the Seattle Times after the draft, adding that Marks’ statistics were inflated by the Cougars’ Air Raid offense.

Oakland Raiders select WSU Cougars safety Shalom Luani in seventh round of NFL Draft | The Seattle Times
Shalom Luani’s long wait came to an end five hours into Day 3 of the NFL draft when the Oakland Raiders selected the Washington State safety 221st overall, with the third pick of the seventh round.

From the CF.C archives: A mother's chronicle of her son's introduction to the NFL - Washington State - Scout
WAY BACK IN 2001, when Steve Gleason had just started his NFL career, his mom Gail Gleason penned this classic about the draft. It was before Gleason's famous blocked punt heard 'round the world, and before he became world famous for his battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). But Gail's diary of her son's trials and tribulations during the 2000 draft still resonates to this day.

Shalom Luani drafted by Oakland Raiders with the third pick in Round 7 - Washington State - Scout
COUGAR SAFETY Shalom Luani will head to the NFL in silver and black. The 6-0, 205-pounder was selected with the third pick in the seventh round on Saturday by the Oakland Raiders. "I'm very excited to join the Raiders family and I feel very blessed to have been picked up by them," Luani texted CF.C.

Marks, Barber sign undrafted free agent contracts after the NFL draft with Jets and Panthers, respectively - Washington State - Scout
A PAIR OF Cougars wasted little time after the NFL draft came to a close before signing free agent contracts.

2018 NFL Draft: 'Put it in the books' for Josh Allen to be the No. 1 overall pick - Mountain West Connection
In a weird turn of events, the Cougs could again face the eventual top pick in the NFL Draft ... but it might not be a Pac-12 QB.

WSU Athletics

Cougars Hold Off Utah To Post Series Win - | Washington State University Athletics
SALT LAKE CITY – Washington State clinched a Pac-12 Conference road series win over Utah with a 5-4 victory Saturday afternoon. The Cougars (20-21, 6-12 Pac-12) scored twice in the third and sixth innings before adding another run in the seventh and saw sophomore reliever Parker McFadden strike out the final Utah hitter to seal up the one-run victory.

Cougars Dominate Invite with Meet Records, WSU All-time Bests and PRs - | Washington State University Athletics
Under sunny skies and mild temperatures, Washington State track and field competitors won 28 of the 37 events contested and claimed four meet records Saturday at the 17th Annual Cougar Invitational meet at Mooberry Track in Pullman. Additionally, Cougar men tallied 23 lifetime-best marks and WSU women had 18 PRs.

Cougars Wrap Up Home Schedule with No. 1 Washington - | Washington State University Athletics
No. 14 Washington State University rowing completed the home portion of its spring racing schedule, Saturday, on the Snake River at Wawawai Landing. The top-ranked Huskies swept all six races. Crews battled 7-10 m.p.h. quartering headwinds under clear skies.

Area roundup: Washington State baseball takes rubber match from Utah | The Spokesman-Review
Cal Waterman had a two-run double in the sixth inning and visiting Washington State (20-21, 6-12) topped Utah (19-19, 9-12) 5-4 in the finale of a three-game Pac-12 series in Salt Lake City.

Best Beer I Had This Week

OK, I’m going to cheat a little — I didn’t technically have it this week, I had it at the CougCenter spring game tailgate. If you like your juicy, northeast style ales — as I do — Lush Land from Holy Mountain might be the best one I’ve ever had. And since I hang out with Craig Powers a lot, I’ve had a bunch of really good ones. Highly recommend if you can still find it in the Seattle area.

Best Non-Sports Thing I Read This Week