Coach Deion Sanders Not Happy NFL Teams Didn't Think HBCU Talent Was Solid For NFL Draft 1st Round

After the 2023 NFL Draft ended, one of the most productive defensive backs in NFL history is not too pleased with the majority of the league.

Former NFL All-Pro and current head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, Deion Sanders, criticized 31 NFL clubs on Saturday night for not selecting a player from a historically black institution or university.

Sanders has a special affection for HBCUs since, although never having played for one, Jackson State was the site of his final coaching position before moving on to Colorado. Sanders established his credentials as a coach at Jackson State, when he took the traditionally unremarkable football team to consecutive division titles and bowl games. Both feats were firsts for Jackson State. At Jackson State, Sanders had a 23-3 record as a coach, including a 16-0 record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Cornerback and return specialist Isaiah Bolden, who went to the New England Patriots after being selected 245th overall in the 2023 annual player selection meeting, was a big part of all that success in Mississippi.

Ironically, this indicates that Bolden, the lone HBCU player selected this year, would join the group of supporters who are most often accused of being "racist."

In any case, Sanders took to Twitter to thank one of the young men he had helped mould and grow while at Jackson State.

Bolden, I'm very proud of you," Sanders tweeted. "You should have been selected far earlier, but I'm still very proud of you. I am aware of your desire for this.

It would have been a typical sentiment if the former NFL superstar (he played for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, former Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens) had simply ended his tweet there.

Sanders has a beef with the 31 NFL teams that don't play in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and wasn't willing to just congratulate his former ward.

"I'm ashamed of the 31 other [NFL] teams that couldn't find draft value in ALL of the talented HBCU players, & we had 3 more draft worthy players at [Jackson State]," Sanders said.

It will be up to NFL scouts and draft analytical specialists to disprove Sanders' assertion that there are other draft-worthy athletes, but in the larger scheme of the 2023 NFL Draft, it's an odd criticism.

Will Levis, a quarterback at the University of Kentucky and the first quarterback chosen in the draft who is white, had the most closely watched draft tumble. Levis was a probable top-15 selection, but the Tennessee Titans selected him at number 33 overall. On the first night of the selection, Levis really had the humiliating "honour" of being invited to the draft site, just to hear his name not called. When the Titans moved up to get him on day two, Levis did not come back.

There won't be any more HBCU players selected specifically in the draft, which is good news for Sanders and Bolden. Bolden may still see some of his former colleagues make the move to the NFL, however, since the NFL has traditionally had a strong undrafted rookie market.

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