The Redskins started the final day of the NFL Draft by selecting three players from the University of Nebraska.
With the 105th pick, the team selected Roy Helu, Jr., a running back. With the 146th pick, the team selected DeJon Gomes, a free safety. And with the 155th pick, the team selected Niles Paul, a wide receiver.
Head coach Mike Shanahan revealed that selecting a trio of college teammates wasn’t something he had done before.
“No, I can’t say I have,” he said with a laugh. “That was by coincidence. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Taking three players from the same school, in a single draft, is a rarity for the Redskins as well. It has happened only once since the NFL merger: in 1975, the Redskins selected three players, non-consecutively, also from the University of Nebraska.
Only in one other Redskins draft, in the history of the franchise, has the team selected three players from the same school in consecutive rounds.
Back in 1943, the Redskins selected three consecutive Notre Dame prospects in Rounds 2, 3 and 4.
On Saturday, Helu, Gomes and Paul said they were thrilled to not only be drafted but also be around some familiar faces as they kick off their NFL careers.
“When I saw that, it made me even more happy,” Gomes said. “I texted Roy when I saw his name go across the screen and then he texted me and gave me a call.”
The three Nebraska prospects constitute one-quarter of the Redskins 12-man draft class.
While they may be far from Lincoln, Neb., they’ll have each other for support.
“You have two good players from Nebraska, and then three including me,” Paul said. “I’m just happy for the opportunity to be there and especially to be there with my teammates.”
During conference calls with Washington, D.C. media during the draft, the Nebraska trio offered scouting reports on each other.
-- On Roy Helu Jr.:
“Washington got a tough running back,” Paul said. “He is so elusive, he makes the first down always. Just blocking for him sometimes, I have to catch myself because I’m just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe he made that cut.’”
“I love his running style,” Gomes said. “I’ve been watching him since high school. Just the way he runs the ball and carries himself as a football player and a human being, it’s amazing.”
-- On DeJon Gomes:
“He is just always around the ball,” Paul reported. “I used to give him trouble in practice. He’s just nagging around the ball and I’m like, ‘How did [Gomes] come up with that play?’”