SAN DIEGO – Gavin Escobar, a two-time first-team all-Mountain West Conference selection and a two-time honorable mention All-American, and Leon McFadden, a three-time first-team all-Mountain West Conference performer and the school’s all-time leader in passes broken up were chosen in the 2013 National Football League Draft on Friday evening in New York City.
Escobar, a tight end, was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, while McFadden, a corner back, went in the third round to the Cleveland Browns. The selections gave San Diego State two players in the first 68 picks of the draft for the first time since 1994 when Marshall Faulk (2nd overall pick) and Darnay Scott (30th overall pick) went in the first 30 selections.
Escobar, who was selected with the 15th pick of the second round (47th overall pick), became San Diego State highest drafted player since two-time All-American and first-team AP NFL All-Pro Kyle Turley was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. Escobar was the first player selected this year from a Mountain West Conference school.
“I am very excited to be a Cowboy,” Escobar said. “I was a little surprised to get the call. It was still early (in the draft). I was outside and all of the sudden Jerry Jones is on the line. I think they like my pass catching abilities and my versatility. I think that is what ultimately appealed to them. I will catch everything.”
A native of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Escobar played in 39 career games and started 24 contests in three seasons for the Aztecs. He caught 122 passes for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns. Among all college tight ends since the beginning of the 2011 season, Escobar was tied for second in receiving touchdowns (13), fourth in receiving yards (1,323) and sixth in receptions (93).
As a junior last season, Escobar was a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award and was also on the Lombardi Award Watch List. He led the team in all three receiving categories with 42 receptions for 543 yards and six touchdowns.
It marks the first time an Aztec player has been picked by the Cowboys since wide receiver Duke Ferguson went in the third round of the 1976 draft. He is the first SDSU tight end to be drafted since Ray Rowe went to Washington in the sixth round of the 1992 draft.
McFadden was taken with the sixth pick of the third round (68th overall pick). A native of Inglewood, Calif., McFadden played in all 51 games in his four seasons, making 45 starts, including the final 39 of his college career. He recorded a school-record 39 PBU, eight interceptions and 188 tackles.
As a senior, he earned MWC defensive player of the year honors was named the team’s most valuable player and earned a spot on the Nagurski and Thorpe Watch Lists. He led the team in interceptions (3), PBU (12), while setting career highs with 61 tackles, including 45 solo stops. McFadden, who also returned punts for the Aztecs, returned two for touchdowns in 2012.
McFadden becomes the first San Diego State player taken by Cleveland since Patrick Rowe went to the Browns in the second round of the 1992 draft. He is the first Aztec corner back selected since Jeff Shoate was plucked by Denver in the fifth round of the 2004 draft.
Escobar and McFadden become the seventh and eighth Aztecs selected in the last three drafts and SDSU now 26 players taken in the draft since 200
In the last three seasons on the field, San Diego State posted a 26-13 record, advanced to three bowl games and last season claimed the school’s first football conference championship since 1998.
The NFL Draft concludes with the selection of the remaining four rounds on Saturday.