By Shan Reddy
Though five Stanford football players were selected to join pro rosters in this past weekend’s 2019 NFL Draft, seven more will have the opportunity to try out for teams as undrafted free agents.
Headlining the group is junior offensive guard Nate Herbig, who at one point was projected to be a first-round pick in the draft. After a sophomore campaign that saw him earn All-Pac-12 First-Team honors and lead the way for Bryce Love’s monstrous rushing season, Herbig was named to the AP Preseason First-Team All American roster, the Outland Trophy watch list and Sports Illustrated preseason All-America first team. However, the season did not go as planned for the massive mauler out of Kalaheo, Hawaii. He was sidelined by injury, and followed up his junior year with a remarkably poor showing at the combine in which he ran the single slowest 40-yard-dash time at the event.
Herbig was signed by the Eagles shortly after the draft as an undrafted free agent, and will have the opportunity to compete for the 53-man roster during rookie mini-camp beginning later this week.
Joining Herbig as an undrafted signee in Philadelphia is fifth-year outside linebacker Joey Alfieri, who racked up 165 tackles and 14 sacks over his career with the Cardinal. Draft prospects for the Portland native looked poor before his stellar showing at Stanford’s Pro Timing Day, in which he ran an impressive 4.49 40-yard dash that would’ve been good for the third-best time at the NFL Combine had he been invited.
Also saying goodbye to the Cardinal defense is fifth-year cornerback Alijah Holder, who signed a deal with the Denver Broncos after the draft. At 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds, the 2018 All-Pac-12 honorable mention and 2017 Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honoree offers prototypical size and length for the modern NFL corner. Holder joins a defensive backfield in Denver that may be thinning with the potential departure of veteran Pro Bowler Chris Harris Jr., whose name has been common in trade rumors for the past few weeks.
On the offensive side of the ball, 6-foot-5 fifth-year offensive tackle AT Hall has signed with the Tennessee Titans, while senior wideout Trenton Irwin joins the Miami Dolphins. Both were All-Pac-12 honorable mentions in 2018, and started the majority of the season for the Cardinal. Irwin may be best known in draft circles for being one of the few in college football to catch a touchdown this past season over All-American Washington cornerback Byron Murphy, who was selected with the first pick of the second round in last weekend’s draft.
Though fifth-year center Jesse Burkett and fifth-year offensive guard Brandon Fanaika were not offered contracts after the draft, both earned rookie mini-camp invites with the San Francisco 49ers. Burkett will also have the opportunity to attend camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu.