Trey Pipkins, a former Apple Valley High School lineman who played left tackle at Sioux Falls, was taken in the third round (91st overall) by the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday night.
A 6-foot-6, 310-pounder, Pipkins was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award, which goes to the top offensive lineman in NCAA Division II.
The 22-year-old was a first-team Division II All-America and an all-NSIC first-team pick.
Pipkins is only the second player from Division II Sioux Falls to be drafted. The first was punter Brian Hansen, whom New Orleans took in the ninth round in 1984. Dennis Gardeck made the Arizona Cardinals’ roster as an undrafted free-agent linebacker out of Sioux Falls last year, playing mostly on special teams.
Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco Telesco said he has the traits to be a left tackle in the NFL.
“There are some players at Division II and Division III who can dominate but not have enough athletic traits to play at this level,” Telesco said. “He has NFL size and feet. There’s a lot to work with.”
Pipkins was one of five Division II players invited to the NFL scouting combine.
Packers take tight end
With their final pick on the second day of the NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers got quarterback Aaron Rodgers a new offensive weapon: Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger.
The Packers took Sternberger with their third-round pick (No. 75 overall) Friday night after spending their two first-round picks on defense and adding Mississippi State offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins in the second round.
“[Sternberger] was the best player on our board, so that’s the way we went,” General Manager Brian Gutekunst replied when asked whether the Packers went into the draft wanting to get a tight end early.
The earlier pick (No. 44 overall) was used on Jenkins, who started Mississippi State’s last 26 games at center over the past two seasons but played all five spots on the offensive line during his career. He is expected to start at guard in Green Bay.
“I feel like I can play all positions,” Jenkins said. “Right now, they’re looking at me at guard.”
SEC dominates draft
The Southeastern Conference is well on its way to having the most players taken in the NFL draft for the 13th year in a row.
Twelve of the first 24 picks of the second round Friday night were from the SEC, and at the end of the third the conference could lay claim to more than a quarter of the players drafted, 28 of 102.
The Big Ten, which had seven players go in the third round, has 16 picks so far, followed by the ACC (12) and the Pac-12 and Big 12 (11 each).
STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES