BASN NFL Draft Preview: A Look Back At Last Year’s Black College Draftees

By Tony McClean
Updated: April 20, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — As we prepare for next Saturday’s 2006 NFL Draft, today we return to the 2005 NFL Draft with a capsule look back at the rookie seasons of the six HBCU players who were chosen in last year’s draft. The players are being listed in the order in which they were picked.

CB Ronald Bartell, Howard
(2nd Round, 50th overall, Rams)
In his first season in St. Louis, the former Bison got to see some significant playing time on special teams and in the secondary. In 10 games, Bartell finished with 34 tackles (31 solos) and a forced fumble in part-time duty. With safety Adam Archuleta’s defection to the Redskins, the Rams may take advantage of Bartell’s size, closing speed and coverage by moving him to safety.
FS Nick Collins, Bethune Cookman
(2nd Round, 51st overall, Packers)
Despite a bad season for Cheesehead fans, the former Wildcat was a bright spot as he started all 16 games for the Pack. Collins, who became the first rookie safety to start a regular season opener since Chuck Cecil in 1988, finished fourth on the team in tackles with 96 (66 solos) and was named to the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Squad.
WR/KR Jerome Mathis, Hampton
(4th Round, 114th overall, Texans)
Mathis more than lived up to his reputation as a game-breaker. The Virginia native finished his rookie season as the second-ranked return man in the league, earning himself a trip to the Pro Bowl as the AFC’s kick return specialist. He also made the Associated Press All-Pro Team, becoming the first Texan to earn that distinction and was the first Texan to be named to the All-NFL team (kick return specialist) by the Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America.
C/G Junius Coston, N.C. A&T
(5th Round, 143rd overall, Packers)
The former Aggie played only sparingly for Green Bay in his rookie season. Coston made his NFL debut at left tackle on October 9 playing in the Packers’ final three offensive plays against New Orleans. He also played on one snap, on special teams, at Minnesota on October 23. The new Green Bay coaching staff thinks that Coston will be able to contribute more in 2006 as a guard.
***image7***DE Kenneth Pettway, Grambling State
(7th Round, 227th overall, Texans)
The former Tiger standout, who was only active for two games last season (against Jaguars and 49ers), spent most of 2005 on Houston’s practice squad. The Texans did re-sign Pettway to a one-year deal as an exclusive-rights free agent on March. New head coach Gary Kubiak has indicated that the club will be switching over to a 4-3 set in 2006. That will mean a slight change for Pettway, who is currently listed as a linebacker on Houston’s depth chart.
***image8***WR Harry Williams, Tuskegee
(7th Round, 240th overall, Jets)
To say that Williams saw the entire NFL spectrum in less than a year would be an gross understatement. At the end of training camp. the TU product was placed on Gang Green’s practice roster. He was then activated off the practice squad on November 8. After playing one game, Williams sustained a knee injury and was placed on IR.
In February, Williams was released by the Jets and then claimed on waivers by the Packers on March 13. Over a week later, Green Bay released Williams but he wasn’t on the shelf long. This time, Big Apple’s other team — the Giants, claimed Williams off waivers. Believe it or not, Williams was then released again. As of press time, Williams is still a free agent hoping for another NFL shot.