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Monday April 23, 2001

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2 Wildcats taken in NFL Draft

Tafoya, Manumaleuna taken by NFC rivals while 5 others snubbed

Two UA football players were selected on the final day of the 2001 NFL Draft yesterday, while five others will likely join the professional ranks later this spring.

Brandon Manumaleuna - who caught 13 passes and a touchdown during his senior season - was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the 34th pick in the fourth round.

Joe Tafoya was taken three rounds later by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who selected the 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end with their final pick.

According to pre-draft scouting reports, Manumaleuna may have more potential, but the undersized Tafoya could be more successful in the professional ranks due to his work ethic.

"(Tafoya's) an overachiever with a non-stop motor,"'s DraftTracker said in its scouting report. "(He) could make a team because of his heart, toughness and work ethic."

Manumaleuna's scouting report wasn't as impressive.

"(He) looks soft and plays a little soft," the report said. "(He) rarely works to finish his blocks. Being overweight hurts his downfield pass-catching ability and ability to get off the line of scrimmage early."

Five other UA players projected to be drafted were not taken. Defensive tackle Idris Haroon, offensive linemen Marques McFadden and Bruce Wiggins, quarterback Ortege Jenkins and linebacker Antonio Pierce will likely pursue the professional ranks as free agents.

Scouts said Jenkins - UA's starting quarterback last season - would likely perform better as a running back or wide receiver.

"(Jenkins is) worth bringing to camp and trying out as a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, " the scouting report said. "(But Jenkins is) a better athlete than quarterback."

Wiggins, a mainstay at center for UA during the past two seasons, likely went undrafted because of an injury-plagued senior season and a lack of NFL size.

Though the center is 6-foot-3 and weighs 280 pounds, scouts were turned off by his lack of flexibility.

"(Wiggins) looks like a 240-pounder who pumped up to 280 on the weights," the scouting report said. "(He) cannot handle a big man in a one-on-one situation. He has weight room strength but not functional football strength."