In what has become an increasingly common occurrence, Utah State had two players get picked up in the 2014 NFL draft.
Defensive backs Maurice Alexander (No. 110 pick) and Nevin Lawson (133) were both picked up in the fourth round by the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions respectively.
With its two NFL draft picks this year, the Aggies have now had eight players drafted within the last four years, with four of those picks being defensive backs. Two of those recent picks, linebacker Bobby Wagner and running back Robert Turbin, played significant roles playing for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks last season.
For Alexander, it’s a chance to return home to play in the stadium where he once worked as a janitor.
"That’s what really motivated me, seeing myself working there and being around that field," Alexander told ESPN. "I’ve done that since I was a younger kid, it’s just a dream come true. Every time I went to work, I always sat on the end of the field, and I looked at it like, 'This could be my dream spot.' Look where I’m at now.”
Alexander is a 6-foot-2, 212-pound safety who has just one year experience playing at the position. The St. Louis native switched from cornerback to safety for his senior year and made a strong impact with 80 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Alexander exceeded almost every prognostication by being picked up in the fourth round. The Rams became impressed with the former Aggie's ability to play at either safety position, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.
"It’s interchangeable," Fisher said. "He has the range. He’s got the hips. He’s got the ball skills as well."
As for Lawson, he met most draft predictions by going in the fourth round. The standout corner joined with former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy in being drafted by the Detroit Lions.
Lawson is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, but plays bigger than his size, according to Lawson and the Lions organization.
“My height never bothered me, you know what I’m saying?" he said in a conference call after the selection. "It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play. (Detroit) likes the way I play and they like the way I compete.”
Lawson was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference performer his senior season and led the team with 17 passes defended and four interceptions.