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Patriots pick Wyoming’s Maluia in sixth round

Patriots pick Wyoming’s Maluia in sixth round
(University of Wyoming Sports Information)

Laramie, Wyo. (April 25, 2020) — The New England Patriots selected Wyoming Cowboy linebacker Cassh Maluia on Saturday as the 25th pick in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Maluia joins his linebacker running mate Logan Wilson as a 2020 NFL Draft pick. It is the first time since 2017 that Wyoming has had two players selected in the same NFL Draft. In 2017, Wyoming running back Brian Hill was selected by the Atlanta Falcons and offensive lineman Chase Roullier was selected by the Washington Redskins. The last time Wyoming had two players taken in the same NFL Draft at the same position was the 1989 NFL Draft when Wyoming defensive linemen Dave Edeen and Pat Rabold were selected by the Phoenix Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, respectively.

Maluia was a 2019 Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference selection. He had an outstanding senior season for the Wyoming Cowboys. He ranked second on the team in interceptions, with two, and was third on the Cowboy team in tackles, with 61. Maluia also added 7.0 tackles for loss.

He started 38 of 50 career games as a Cowboy, beginning with starting his first two games in the 2016 Mountain West Championship Game and the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl as a true freshman. An extremely intelligent football player, he teamed with his senior running mate at linebacker, Wilson, to form the best linebacking tandem in the Mountain West Conference.

Maluia’s two interceptions in 2019 ranked him No. 2 on the Wyoming roster, and he tied for No. 16 in the Mountain West for the 2019 season from his linebacker spot. His first interception of the season came against Missouri. He intercepted Mizzou in the end zone to stop a Tiger scoring threat on way to a 37-31 Wyoming victory. His second interception of the season was vs. UNLV. Maluia returned that interception 30 yards to the Rebel four-yard line to set up a touchdown one play later in a 53-17 Cowboy victory.

Maluia’s best individual tackle games in 2019 came against: San Diego State (9 tackles), Boise State (7 tackles) and Utah State (7 tackles). He also had outstanding games against: Nevada (5 tackles), Idaho (5 tackles), Colorado State (4 tackles) and Georgia State (4 tackles).

Maluia led a Wyoming defense that: ranked No. 11 in the NCAA in scoring sefense, allowing only 17.8 points per game; ranked No. 11 in the country in rushing defense, allowing opponents only 107.1 yards rushing per game; and No. 6 in red-zone defense (68.9 percent).

A starter on four consecutive bowl-eligible teams in 2016, ‘17, ‘18 and ‘19 and a starter in three bowl games in 2016, ‘17 and ‘19.

Maluia’s and Wilson’s selections mark the fourth consecutive year that at least one Wyoming Cowboy has been selected in the NFL Draft and the fifth year in the last six NFL Drafts that at least one Poke has been selected in the Craig Bohl-era.

Former Wyoming linebacker Mark Nzeocha was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He is currently with the San Francisco 49ers and played in last year’s Super Bowl. Cowboy running back Brian Hill (fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals, now with the Atlanta Falcons) and offensive lineman Chase Roullier (sixth round by the Washington Redskins) were drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. In the 2018 NFL Draft, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen became the highest NFL Draft pick in school history when the Buffalo Bills selected him with the seventh overall pick in the first round. In 2019, Marcus Epps was selected by the Minnesota Vikings, he is currently with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Several other Cowboys are also currently listed on NFL rosters, including: Austin Fort (TE, Denver Broncos), Rico Gafford (WR, Las Vegas Raiders), Tashaun Gipson (S, Houston Texans), Carl Granderson (DE, New Orleans Saints), Jacob Hollister (TE, Seattle Seahawks), Mike Purcell (NT, Denver Broncos), Andrew Wingard (S, Jacksonville Jaguars) and Eddie Yarbrough (DE, Minnesota Vikings).

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