Despite The University of Colorado Boulder’s recent slide on the gridiron, going 1-4 in their last five games after a promising 3-0 start to the season, many buffaloes have legitimate NFL Draft Day aspirations.
In the 1990s, The Colorado Buffaloes were a powerhouse for eventual NFL stars. Former Buffs include players such as Eric Bieniemy, Kordell Stewart, Michael Westbrook, Super Bowl Winner Alfred Williams and Heisman Winner Rashaan Salaam. From 1990-2005, the Buffs boasted 73 eventual NFL draftees while from 2005-Present, only 28 Buffaloes have been drafted. Although this significant decline in draft picks has disappointed CU students and fans alike, several current Buffs are looking to extend their playing careers into the NFL.
Here’s an in-depth look at CU’s draft-eligible stars:
#10 – Xavier Weaver
Xavier Weaver has undoubtedly benefited from Colorado’s national spotlight. The University of South Florida transfer has been a star for the Buffaloes’ high-flying offense. Leading the Buffaloes in both receptions and receiving yards, Weaver has been instrumental in the Buffaloes’ success this season and has established himself as quarterback Shedeur Sanders’ favorite target during Travis Hunter’s three-game absence.
Weaver’s consistent productivity, elite route running ability, flexibility and deceptive speed both before and after the catch have made him a headache to plan against for opposing defensive coordinators. In addition to his receiving skills, Coach Prime has utilized Weaver twice in goal-line situations as a ball carrier, showing two rushes on the year, both plays resulting in a touchdown for the Buffs. Weaver has the third-highest receiving yards per game among all transfer wide receivers at 90.1 YPG. Weaver was also recently included on the watch list for the Frank Biletnikoff Award which honors the best wide receiver in college football.
In his last year of NCAA eligibility, Weaver will surely declare for the upcoming NFL Draft. Weaver’s consistency, versatility and national recognition will elevate his draft stock significantly before the upcoming NFL Draft this coming April.
#21 – Shilo Sanders
The Buffs have been, to put it gently, lackluster on the defensive side of the ball this year. Ranked 129th in total defense in the FBS, the football subdivision of the NCAA, the Buffs have given up thirty-five touchdowns through seven games this season and allowed an average of 475 offensive yards for each opponent. One of the few players who’s been a silver lining during CU’s bleak defensive efforts has been safety Shilo Sanders.
Aside from being Deion Sanders’s son, the Jackson State transfer has been one of the most productive defensive presences for the Buffaloes up to this point in the season. Leading the team in tackles despite missing a game due to a lacerated kidney, Shilo has one forced fumble and produced one touchdown on an electrifying 80-yard pick-6 under the lights at Folsom Field against rival Colorado State Rams. Shilo has already surpassed his collegiate career high in tackles in just six games played and will continue to elevate his status and abilities with another year of college eligibility left.
At this point, it’s widely accepted that Shilo and his brother, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, will exercise their eligibility while Coach Prime is in charge of the program and return to Boulder for the 2024-2025 season. In Shilo’s tenure at Colorado, he has already jumped over 400 sports in national rankings as he continues to display promising qualities as a heat-seeking safety. Shilo is capable of delivering massive hits and preventing opposing receivers from creating space while in coverage.
With at least five more games in the 2024 season and another year of eligibility left, Shilo looks to be a promising defensive prospect in the 2025 NFL Draft.
#2 – Shedeur Sanders
Shedeur Sanders is a cultural icon, football phenom and quarterback for one of the most electrifying, high-flying, nationally covered college football teams of all time. National commercials, celebrity shoutouts, and the viral “Shedeur” move where the quarterback flexed his watch in front of his opponents have swept the nation and rivaled Tim Tebow’s infamous “Tebowing” celebration from several years ago.
Plain and simple, you can’t miss Shedeur Sanders. Regardless of his surge to fame and jaw-dropping $4.8M NIL Valuation which is second in the country only to Bronny James, son of NBA legend LeBron James, Shedeur has been incredible on the gridiron. Love him or hate him, there’s no disputing Shedeur’s performance this year. Despite leading the FBS in sacks and playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in all of college football, Shedeur has the most passing yards and third most passing touchdowns in the FBS.
Shedeur has connected with receivers 21 times in the endzone and has three rushing touchdowns on the ground. He possesses many NFL-caliber qualities that make him a desirable prospect. Shedeur’s elite pocket presence, ability to evade sacks, playmaking ability and proven clutch performances in high-pressure situations are some of the reasons why many believe Shedeur is a top-five college football quarterback and an eventual first-round draft pick in the NFL.
Although it’s expected Shedeur will stay with the team during Coach Prime’s tenure at Colorado, Shedeur has three years of eligibility left to further develop his identity as a quarterback and eventually declare for the NFL. The Buffaloes have already surpassed expectations and Prime’s elite recruiting ability will provide Shedeur with a bolstered offensive line and improved receiving weapons for the 2024-2025 season. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if Shedeur establishes himself as the premier quarterback in the country and becomes an eventual first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
As the Buffs fight to regain national prominence, they must secure the best high school recruits from around the nation. Fortunately for CU Boulder, the university has something no other program in the country can offer, Coach Prime. Coach Prime’s elite recruiting ability and expanded NIL capabilities will attract the most talented recruits to Boulder. As Colorado attracts a higher echelon of athletes than it has in the past two decades, the Buffaloes will hopefully win more games and send more talented alumni to the NFL.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Braden Mayer at Braden.Mayer@colorado.edu