- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 2, 2015

Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs and nose tackle Darius Kilgo were each selected by teams in the NFL draft on Saturday, with Diggs chosen in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings and Kilgo in the sixth round by the Denver Broncos.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Diggs was chosen by the Vikings with the 10th pick of the fifth round, No. 146 overall. He led the Terrapins with 52 catches, 654 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns as a junior before leaving school early.

“They have a great young team, and I look forward to becoming a part of that family and growing and building in this whole process,” Diggs said on a conference call with Vikings beat reporters. “I’m just thankful for this opportunity to be coached by some great coaches and play with some great guys.”

Diggs, who figures to receive an opportunity to contribute as a return specialist as well, was the only wide receiver drafted by the Vikings. He was a projected mid-round pick, but said on that conference call he didn’t spend time leading up to the draft trying to figure out when he would be taken.

“I was just praying and hoping I would fall into the best fit for me, and it happened,” Diggs said. “It happened for me, and it happened to really work out really well for me, so God blessed me.”

The Broncos drafted the 6-foot-3, 319-pound Kilgo with the 27th pick of the sixth round, No. 23 overall, and he’ll compete with Sylvester Williams and Marvin Austin for an opportunity at nose tackle. Kilgo, who had 43 tackles last season, including two sacks, was not invited to the NFL combine in February and used that snub as motivation.

Two Virginia players — Eli Harold and Max Valles — were also selected, and both will try to establish roots in the Bay Area. Harold was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 15th pick of the third round, No. 79 overall, while Valles was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round, exactly 100 picks later.

Harold, a 6-foot-3, 247-pound defensive end, will fit in as an outside linebacker with the 49ers. He had 54 tackles, including 14.5 for a loss and seven sacks, in 2014.

Valles, a 6-foot-5, 251-pound outside linebacker, left Virginia after his redshirt sophomore season, when he had 55 tackles and nine sacks. He’ll make the opposite transition as Harold, moving to defensive end in the Raiders’ system.

“I really do feel like it’s a great situation for me,” Harold said on a conference call with 49ers beat reporters late Friday night. “Coming into a role where I’m not high on the depth chart, I feel like learning from the veterans and guys that will really help me out a lot.”

Virginia Tech strong safety Kyshoen Jarrett was drafted No. 181 overall, the sixth pick of the fifth round, by the Washington Redskins, while teammate Laurence Gibson, an offensive tackle, was taken by the Dallas Cowboys with the 26th pick of the seventh round, No. 243 overall.

Navy long snapper Joe Cardona was selected by the New England Patriots with the 30th pick of the fifth round, No. 166 overall. The first player drafted out of Navy since 1995 and only the fourth long snapper ever drafted, it’s uncertain when Cardona will be able to join his new team because of his military commitment.

“Right now I’m prepared to be the best football player I can be for the New England Patriots and the best Naval officer I can be — whatever duty I’m doing at the time I’m doing it,” Cardona told Patriots beat reporters on a conference call Sunday afternoon. “I’m just prepared to do my best.”

Other players who attended college in either Maryland or Virginia who were drafted include Towson cornerback Tye Smith, who was taken in the fifth round, No. 170 overall, by the Seattle Seahawks, and William & Mary wide receiver Tre McBride, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round with the 245th pick.

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