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Maine’s McMillian taken by Packers

He’s lone selection among N.E. crop

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / April 29, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH - If Saturday is moving day in the PGA, where contenders shift up and down the leaderboard, Saturday is “hurry up and wait’’ day for the non-marquee players who make up the bulk of the NFL draft.

When Round 4 began at noon Saturday, most of the draft remained. For some local players, it was a day that became longer as the afternoon wore on, with pick after pick being announced without a New England connection.

And when the day was over, only one player from a New England college - Jerron McMillian, a 5-foot-11-inch, 203-pound safety from Maine taken by the Packers with a compensatory pick (133d overall) in the fourth round - had been chosen.

It’s the highest a Black Bear football player has ever been drafted, according to coach Jack Cosgrove.

McMillian was second on the team with 92 tackles last season, including 11 1/2 tackles for loss. He added 3 1/2 sacks, 1 interception, and 5 deflected passes.

But other than the selection of McMillian, the day was a washout for New England players.

In the first two days of the draft, only Boston College’s Luke Kuechly (ninth overall by Carolina) and Connecticut’s Kendall Reyes (49th overall by San Diego) were chosen among New England players.

Included in the waiting group was BC cornerback Donnie Fletcher, a four-year starter who had hoped to be picked in Round 4 or 5. Those picks came and went without Fletcher getting a call.

“It’s very frustrating,’’ said Fletcher. “It’s been a long day. I will just have to see what my options are.’’

Fletcher said he had talked with the Seahawks, Raiders, Lions, and Jets over the last few weeks. But when the Jets chose a running back and a guard from Baylor with back-to-back compensatory picks at the end of the sixth round, Fletcher’s hopes faded some more.

Along with Fletcher, Merrimack linebacker Shawn Loiseau waited in vain for some good news.

“A lot of emotions were going through my head,’’ said Loiseau, who spent the day at his home in Shrewsbury, monitoring the phone and checking with his agent. “San Francisco and Houston called me, and my agent got a call from some other places. We’ll just have to see what our options are.’’

Other players with New England connections who went undrafted included Yale quarterback Patrick Witt, wide receiver Kashif Moore and center Moe Petrus of UConn, UMass tight end Emil Igwenagu, and Harvard offensive tackle Kevin Murphy and defensive tackle Josue Ortiz. BC punter Ryan Quigley and defensive lineman Max Holloway also have NFL aspirations, but will have to take a different route.

The parachute is signing as an undrafted free agent. A year ago, BC linebacker Mark Herzlich went through the frustration of not being drafted, signed with the Giants as a free agent, and now has a Super Bowl ring.

Shortly after the draft, free agent deals were announced for Loiseau (Texans), Murphy (49ers), Southern Connecticut defensive lineman Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (Steelers), and Maine defensive back Trevor Coston (Bears).

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.

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