LARAMIE — The first Wyoming player taken in the NFL Draft wasn’t Carl Granderson or Andrew Wingard.
That honor went to former safety Marcus Epps, who was taken in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. Eighteen safeties were selected before the Vikings made Epps the No. 191st overall pick.
For all of Wingard’s production on the back end of the Cowboys’ defense in recent years, Epps wasn’t far behind. The other half of the most prolific safety tandem in program history, Epps finished as one of Wyoming’s top-10 tacklers all-time with 325 career stops.
He also had 31 pass breakups and nine interceptions after beginning his career as a walk-on. Epps was a semifinalist last season for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is annually awarded to the nation’s top college football player that began his career as a walk-on.
Epps talked after Wyoming’s pro day in March about the possibility of having to take the route of an undrafted free agent for his shot at the next level, but he may have worked his way into the draft with his performance at the school’s annual pre-draft workout. Epps was clocked at 4.52 and 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 38.5-inch vertical.
He also offers versatility having played free safety, strong safety and nickel during his time at Wyoming, which has had at least one player drafted three straight years.
“I feel like I proved I can run, and I have all the athletic ability that maybe most people thought I didn’t have,” Epps told the Star-Tribune following his pro day workout. “I thought I proved I’m very fluid in my position drills and I can play any position back there.”
Rookie minicamps will begin next month. Preseason training camp for all teams will start in July.