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Wheeler, Choice, Brooks Taken In 2008 NFL Draft

April 27, 2008

Three Georgia Tech standouts – linebacker Philip Wheeler, running back Tashard Choice and punter Durant Brooks – were selected Sunday in the NFL Draft.

Wheeler was the 30th pick in the third round and the 93rd selection overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Choice was the 23rd pick of the fourth round and the 122nd selection overall by the Dallas Cowboys. Brooks was the first punter selected in this year’s draft, the second pick of the sixth round and the 168th selection overall by the Washington Redskins.

Wheeler was the second player taken in the draft by the Colts and he was the first defensive player taken by Indianapolis. The Colts, who did not have a first-round selection, took Arizona State center Mike Pollak in the second round.

Choice was the fourth player selected by Dallas and he was the second running back taken by the Cowboys, who used on of their two first-round picks on Arkansas’ Felix Jones.

As expected, no Georgia Tech players were taken in rounds 1 or 2.

Other former Yellow Jackets are expected to receive free agent tryouts with NFL clubs including defensive end Darrell Robertson, linebacker Gary Guyton, fullback Mike Cox, defensive end Adamm Oliver and offensive linemen Kevin Tuminello and Nathan McManus.

Wheeler is the first Yellow Jacket ever to be drafted by the Colts since that franchise moved to Indianapolis. Choice is the first Tech player taken by the Cowboys since linebacker Willis Crockett in 1989. Brooks is the first Tech punter to go in the draft since Rodney Williams in 1999 and he is the first Jacket taken by the Redskins since 1999.

Eight Yellow Jackets have been drafted over the last three years. Wheeler is the third Tech player over the last three years to go in round 3 or higher. At least two Tech players have gone in the draft in each of the last three years and for the sixth time in the last seven years.

With Wheeler’s selection, five Georgia Tech linebackers have gone in the draft since 2002. The most recent was Gerris Wilkinson, who was taken in the third round of the 2006 draft by the New York Giants. Choice is the third Tech running back to be drafted since 2002, joining P.J. Daniels in 2006 and Tony Hollings in 2002.

Last year two Yellow Jackets were drafted – Calvin Johnson in the first round by the Detroit Lions and Mansfield Wrotto in the fourth round by Seattle. Three players – Wilkinson, P.J. Daniels and Dawan Landry – were drafted in 2006. No Yellow Jackets were taken in 2005.

There were 19 former Georgia Tech players on NFL rosters at the close of the 2007 season including three on the roster of the World Champion New York Giants.

The 2008 draft has been a banner one for the ACC. Two ACC players – Virginia’s Chris Long and Boston College’s Matt Ryan – were taken in the top three selections. Two ACC players have gone in the top four picks in each of the last three years. The ACC led all conferences with seven first-round selections. Over the last three years combined, 25 ACC players have gone in the first round. Sixteen ACC players were taken in the first three rounds.

Wheeler and the Indianapolis Colts will be in Atlanta for a preseason game Aug. 16 to play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

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