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Two Boilermakers Taken in 2020 NFL Draft

Photo Credit to Purdue Sports

After two days of waiting, Brycen Hopkins and Markus Bailey finally heard their names called. Hopkins was the first to get selected as he was taken by the Los Angeles Rams with the 136th overall pick in the NFL draft. A few hours later, Bailey finally joined Hopkins in the NFL, being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick of the 7th round of the Draft. While both waited probably a little longer than they anticipated, they were able to fulfill their dreams of making it to the NFL. Here is a little bit of what the Rams and Bengals are getting…

Brycen Hopkins

Hopkins came to Purdue as a 3 Star recruit by most recruiting sites as a part of Purdue’s 2015 class. Having been recruited by Darrel Hazell’s staff, Hopkins redshirted in 2015 before finally seeing the field in Hazell’s final year, 2016. Despite having only 10 catches the whole year, he still showed a lot of promise with an average 18.3 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns. 

When Jeff Brohm took over as Head coach in 2017, Hopkins’ usage only went up. Hopkins, while sharing playing time with fellow tight end Cole Herdman, took advantage of Brohm’s spread offense in 2017 and 2018, by gaining over 900 yards and 5 touchdowns combined in two years.  

Coming into his senior season, Hopkins had a lot of hype, being considered a first round pick by some scouting sites and with Herdman now graduated, had the opportunity to shine with a lot of reps. Despite Purdue’s struggles and multiple injuries, Hopkins was one of the few bright spots for the 5-7 Boilermakers. He had great games late in the season against Wisconsin and Indiana with new quarterback Aiden O’Connell inserted into the lineup and went on to finish with 61 catches(more than his last two years combined), 830 yards and 7 touchdowns while finishing as a semifinalist for the Mackey Award. 

What Are The Rams Getting

Hopkins enters the League at 6’4” and 245 pounds. For a tight end, Hopkins brings nice athleticism that should translate well to the NFL. Being able to flex out to the slot as a wide receiver and having the top 40-yard dash at the combine for a tight end, all show this athleticism. He also is arguably the best jump-ball tight end in this draft, with a very good catch radius. In terms of his weaknesses, it starts with his slim frame. While he is definitely big enough to be a tight end, his frame does not do him any favors when asked to be a blocker. He also often will be out of position and will get caught missing on assignments. Drops have also been a big issue for Hopkins as he had a drop rate of 11.6% as a senior per PFF.  

Brycen Hopkins joins The Los Angeles Rams being picked in the 4th round of the NFL draft and 136th overall. Hopkins is the first boilermaker taken since 2018 and being highest picked since 2013 when Kawann Short went in the second round. It appears he will be competing with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, so playing time will have to be earned. 

Here is also an Interview with Brycen during the senior bowl from Downtown Sports Network’s own Jake Ellenbogen:

Markus Bailey 

Markus Bailey came to Purdue listed as a 3-star recruit by most recruiting sites as an Outside Linebacker. After playing in the first two games of the 2015 season Bailey injured his knee and eventually redshirted before coming back in 2016. As a redshirt freshman, Bailey didn’t lack playing time as he went on to start every game that year and then every game for the next two years. Bailey had over 80 tackles in each of his three full seasons played, while also having a combined 6 interceptions. 

Going into the season, Bailey was viewed as a day 2 pick by most draft sites, before his senior season, and was being watched by the senior bowl. Unfortunately, Bailey’s season came to a quick end, tearing his ACL in a practice after only the second game of the season. Despite his injury, Bailey showed his character as he was named a captain and was a semifinalist for the Campbell award given to the top scholar NCAAF player. Bailey will almost certainly be remembered by Purdue Fans, especially after intercepting Dwayne Haskins and returning it for a touchdown to seal a huge upset of then #2 Ohio State.   

What The Bengals Are Getting

 Bailey measured out at 6’0” and 235 pounds at the NFL Combine despite not participating because of his knee injury. Bailey has always had a nose for the football since joining Purdue with putting up big numbers while healthy and has some decent in-game speed for a linebacker, but overall really is not the most explosive player. The really productive player in the passing game with 6 interceptions in his career, which should be something that attracts scouts. Shows really good timing on Blitzes. Injuries are going to be somewhat of a concern with two knee injuries in 5 seasons, however, he was able to start in 38 straight games between the two injuries. Teams are also really going to like his character having been named academic all-big ten in his final 4 seasons, while also being a captain as a senior. 

Markus Bailey gets picked in the 6th round of the NFL Draft going 215th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals. According to the Bengals site, they only had 3 Linebackers before the draft, Although they took two linebackers before Bailey. The Bengals lack of depth will at least give Bailey a shot to compete for playing time. NFL Networks Daniel Jeremiah even claimed Bailey had a 2nd round tape without the injuries.  


Both of these guys represented Purdue with the utmost amount of class and I’m sure I am speaking for all Purdue fans when I say congratulations to both. Both the Rams and Bengals got fantastic players and even better people and Purdue fans can’t wait to watch both of them on Sundays.

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