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Boise State football: Rypien’s pins & needles

Brett Rypien went from the practice squad to starter in the NFL last fall—and then stuck as Denver’s backup quarterback. He’d best not hold his breath, though.
Credit: John Minchillo/AP Photo
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien prepares to throw against the New York Jets in an NFL game Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Broncos won 37-28.

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, April 29, 2021.

Brett Rypien entered the offseason as Denver’s No. 2 quarterback behind Drew Lock. In the past 24 hours, the former Boise State star has effectively dropped to No. 3. Twenty-four hours from now, Rypien could be No. 4, a spot that really doesn’t exist on the Broncos’ depth chart. Denver traded Wednesday to get QB Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers, putting Lock on thin ice and leaving Rypien to wonder. And sources told ESPN that Denver may still be in the market to take a quarterback with the ninth overall pick tonight. Lock is 8-10 in two seasons as the Broncos’ starter—Rypien won his only start last season while filling in for Lock. He played in three games, well below the maximum nine games allowed to retain eligibility for the practice squad (although that’s a road he’d like to avoid).

IT’LL BE A LONG WAIT FOR THE MW

With John Bates and Avery Williams not in the cards tonight in Day 1 of the NFL Draft, here’s a look at the Mountain West in general. The haul is going to be skimpy, partly because so many super-seniors are slated to return to their schools this fall. Only four players from the conference are projected to be drafted by NFL.com’s Chad Reuter. And two of them are Bates, a pleasant surprise in the fourth round, and Williams, a pleasant surprise in the sixth. Otherwise, Reuter has San Diego State cornerback Darren Hall as a fifth-rounder, and Hawaii wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. as the very last selection on Saturday. How poetic is that? The Mountain West would have Mr. Irrelevant. Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson, a sure-fire draft prospect at one point, is nowhere to be seen after opting out of the 2020 season.

PROVO POISED FOR A DRAFT SPREE?

This paragraph is sure to rub some in Bronco Nation the wrong way, but it’s looking like a pretty good draft for BYU over the next three days. It starts, of course, with quarterback Zach Wilson, who could go as high as No. 2 overall tonight to the New York Jets. That’s where NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has him. “Wilson's athleticism, precision throwing from the pocket and on the run, and confident attitude will make him a ‘much-watch’ NFL player in no time,” writes Reuter. If Reuter is right, there’ll be seven Cougars who have their names called, as he also lists (in order) offensive tackle Brady Christensen, tight end Matt Bushman, defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga, cornerback Chris Wilcox, wide receiver Dax Milne and offensive guard Chandon Herring.

HIGHLAND RAMS ARE REPRESENTED

There is one actual Idahoan who’s expected to be chosen in the NFL Draft—maybe on Day 2. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter projects Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai as a fourth round pick headed for New England. Togiai is the former Highland High star who’s played at OSU the past four seasons. He wasn’t a regular until last fall, when he was second-team All-Big Ten. Togiai is a shade under 6-2 and weighs in at 296 pounds, but he ran 4.97 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day. Reuter has another Idaho tie in his mock draft: Idaho Vandals linebacker Christian Elliss, he of the 266 career tackles. Elliss is projected as a fifth-rounder.

HUTCHISON’S EMPHATIC STEP FORWARD

The past month cannot have been easy for former Boise State star Chandler Hutchison. I talked Tuesday about Hutchison sitting on the bench more often than not since his debut with the Washington Wizards. But he was back on the floor last night, playing 19 minutes and scoring eight points with six rebounds in a 116-107 win over the LeBron James-less L.A. Lakers. One moment may prove to be a turning point, a second-quarter freight train dunk that saw the Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker tried to dodge. Unsuccessfully.

MERRITT’S MONEY MILESTONE

Troy Merritt hopes to get back in the money as he tees off today at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, FL. Merritt played the pairs format last week at the RBC Heritage with partner Robert Streb and missed the cut for the second straight week. I noticed this little-known fact: Merritt is now over $10 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. He actually passed the threshold when he tied for 16th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

FORMER BOISE HAWK BLEVINS HANGS ‘EM UP

Among former Boise Hawks, not many big league careers have lasted 13 years. That’s where it ends for reliever Jerry Blevins, who retired Tuesday night. Blevins had been trying to catch on with the New York Mets at their alternate training site. He made 609 appearances in the majors, going 30-13 with a 3.54 ERA. Blevins debuted in the majors in 2007 with Oakland and spent the bulk of his career with the A’s and the Mets. He played two seasons in Boise, and the first one in 2004 was outstanding, with a 6-1 record and a 1.62 ERA. That was the last season the Hawks won a Northwest League championship.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 29, 2016, five years ago today:

For the second time in five years—and the second time ever—Boise State has three players selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Kamalei Correa, a defensive end who would become an outside linebacker, was taken in the second round, 42nd overall, by the Baltimore Ravens. Safety Darian Thompson was chosen in the third round, 71st overall, by the New York Giants. And tackle Rees Odhiambo was also picked in the third round, 97th overall, by the Seattle Seahawks. The other such Bronco trio was in 2012, with first-rounders Shea McClellin and Doug Martin and third-rounder Tyrone Crawford.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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