For sports fans, few events capture more heartwarming moments than the annual draft for any given league.
It is always inspiring to see all these young athletes have their names called to the draft stage. All those years of hard work, determination and sacrifices by their families have paid off. They have accomplished the lifelong dream once and for all.
This year’s 2023 NFL Draft was held at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. The deep class — rich in top defensive linemen, cornerbacks and quarterbacks — featured several notable players from Maryland who should inspire young athletes to accomplish their lifelong dreams.
After a long push by state officials, legalized sports betting finally went live in “The Old Line State” back in November. There are several special offers available to new customers upon signing up, including the BetMGM Bonus code Maryland offer where you can have your first wager of up to $1,000 paid back in bonus bets.
The NFL’s annual event draws more attention and national exposure than any other professional sports draft in the United States. More than 10 million fans tune in to watch the NFL draft every year.
Damascus, Maryland, native Bryan Bresee was among the residents of the state to hear his name called to the draft. Bresee, who also attended Damascus High School, was a star defensive tackle who won ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2020.
Jordan Addison, a transfer from Pittsburgh to USC, was widely ranked as a top four receiver in this year’s class, along with Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Zay Flowers (Boston College) and Quentin Johnston (TCU).
A native of Frederick, Addison posted 59 receptions for 875 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022. Addison won the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2021 — presented annually to the country’s top collegiate wideout — in his final season at Pittsburgh.
Bresee and Addison are among the handful of Maryland-born players that have reached the ultimate football dream. Let’s take a look at some other young NFL players from the state who can inspire young athletes in Maryland to always push forward — and to never give up.
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It’s certainly hard to believe now, but the native of Gaithersburg, Maryland wasn’t taken until No. 51 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.
The Alabama product and younger brother of Buffalo Bills star wideout Stefon Diggs was a star cornerback for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. Diggs was a member of the 2018 national championship team who earned 2019 First-team All-SEC honors.
Diggs was named a Pro Bowler and a First-team All-Pro in his 2021 sophomore year after recording a league-high 11 interceptions — including two pick-sixes — and 21 pass defenses. He helped the Cowboys to 12 wins as well as their first NFC East division title since 2018.
The 24-year-old Diggs tuned in his second consecutive Pro Bowl season for the Cowboys in 2022, recording three interceptions and 14 pass defenses. Dallas achieved a 12-win milestone once more and ousted Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the Wild Card Round, only to be defeated by the San Francisco 49ers the following week.
Young was born in Upper Marlboro and attended St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel.
The standout pass rusher eventually committed to the powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes program, and he pieced together a phenomenal three-year run with the school.
In his final season of college, Young won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Ted Hendricks Award after racking up 16.5 sacks, three pass defenses and 21 tackles for loss.
Young was drafted No. 2 overall by Washington in 2020, right after the Cincinnati Bengals took LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the top pick. Young achieved the Defensive Rookie of the Year award as a result of his remarkable 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries, which aided Washington in clinching an unanticipated NFC East division championship.
The Green Bay Packers surprised many when they took Baltimore native A.J. Dillon in the second round at No. 62 overall back in 2020.
It wasn’t a knock against Dillon, but rather because Green Bay already had one of the NFL’s best running backs in Aaron Jones. But the 247-pound back has been a big-time weapon in the Green Bay offense, recording over 700 yards rushing as Jones’ understudy over each of the last two years.
With Aaron Rodgers now a member of the New York Jets, the Packers are sure to help Jordan Love by running the ball more with the prolific Dillon-Jones tandem.