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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 25 2012

Former Bison Veldman could see NFL Draft selection

FARGO – It was just about a year ago when Matt Veldman finished spring football at North Dakota State as somebody who was in the mix to start in the fall. This weekend, he may find himself in the mix of the NFL draft.

It was a year that saw the 6-foot-7, 252-pound tight end develop into one of the best in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. It was a year that saw his team win a Division I Football Championship Subdivision national title – just two years removed from a 3-8 season.

“It was a crazy year,” Veldman said. “I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by the people I’m surrounded with. I’ve been blessed to be on a good team. I’ve always believed in myself, but now the dream seems a lot more like reality.”

Veldman has been told he could be taken in the sixth or seventh rounds, which will be held Saturday. The first round is held tonight and the second and third rounds are on Friday.

Even if his name is not called during the draft, it will be a busy free agent post-draft period for Veldman and his agent, Chris Murray from Imani Sports in Plymouth, Minn. They met earlier this week to have a plan in place if he doesn’t get drafted. Much of the conversation, Veldman said, centered on what team would be the best fit.

Former NDSU offensive lineman Paul Cornick should also get a shot, although a back injury slowed his draft potential. Cornick was invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but was limited in what he could do.

Veldman, meanwhile, saw his stock go up at his pro day workout in March at the Fargodome. Most notably: a 40-yard dash time that he was told was between 4.66 and 4.74 seconds. And that was with his weight up around 260 just prior to pro day.

“That made a huge difference,” Veldman said.

The last NDSU player to get drafted was safety Nick Schommer, who was taken by Tennessee in the seventh round in 2009. Denver drafted linebacker Joe Mays in the sixth round a year earlier.

Veldman plans on spending the weekend in Fargo at his apartment. The first two days will be spent enjoying the draft. The last day could get interesting. NFL.com projected him as a seventh round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in a mock draft; the 253rd pick that if true, would give him the distinction as “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last player taken.

But Veldman said he doesn’t put much stock into those rankings.

“You look at the experts and maybe they get nine or 10 right in the first round,” he said. “Nobody has any idea what’s going on except the general managers and scouts.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia