Recapping Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the NFL Draft: 2015-2017

Ashley Barnett

As the rebuilding era continues to develop for Georgia Tech under head football coach Geoff Collins, it's been three years since the Yellow Jackets last saw a player selected in the NFL Draft. Prior to Collins, long-term head coach Paul Johnson implemented the triple-option which resulted in several players getting drafted throughout his tenure.

This is the final part of our series, the 2015-2017 NFL Draft classes. On Saturday, we recapped 2010. Yesterday, we recapped 2011-2014. Also, undrafted free agents are not included in this list.

2015

TE Darren Waller | 6th Round | Baltimore Ravens

Darren Waller spent two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before being suspended in 2017 for violating the NFL's substance policy. In 2016, Waller missed the first four games for a prior NFL suspension revolving around substance abuse. Waller was a backup tight end with the Ravens and started in four of his 18 games played. In limited action, Waller had 12 receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore. 

In 2018, Waller was signed by the Oakland Raiders off the Ravens' practice squad. After another slow season with the Raiders, he later openly discussed his drug addition on Hard Knocks before his comeback season. Waller shined to begin the 2019 season. In the first five games of the season, he totaled 37 catches for 359 receiving yards - leading the team in both categories. After his breakout performances, the Raiders signed Waller to a three-year deal. Last season, he started all 16 games for Oakland and amassed 1,145 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. 

WR DeAndre Smelter | 4th Round | San Francisco 49ers

DeAndre Smelter spent two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers but only saw play-action in two games with 23 yards in 2016. Smelter, who suffered an ACL injury his senior year at Georgia Tech, sat out all of his rookie season and dealt with a hamstring injury the following offseason. The 49ers released Smelter in September 2016, then signed him to the practice squad the following October. He was promoted to the active roster in December 2016 and eventually caught his lone NFL pass of 23 yards in the 49ers matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. In 2017, San Francisco waived Smelter and he was signed to the practice squad. 

In 2018, Smelter had short stints with the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

OG Shaq Mason | 4th Round | New England Patriots

Shaq Mason is entering his 6th pro year with the New England Patriots. In his first five seasons, Mason has started 70 regular-season games. After improvement as a pass-protector and ability to establish a tone for a previously Brady-centric offense that had transitioned quickly from the pass to the run, Mason was signed to a five-year contract in 2018. Mason is a 2x Super Bowl Champion - LI, LIII. 

2016   

DB D.J. White | 6th Round | Kansas City Chiefs

D.J. White spent the first two seasons of his NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He suited up for 11 games his rookie season - mainly special teams - and tallied a combined 11 tackles, 3 passes defended and an interception. In November 2017, Chiefs waived White and he was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts two days later. In his short time with the Colts, White bounced between their active roster and practice squad. He appeared in two games for a total 3 tackles. Indianapolis released White in 2018. 

White spent the 2019 preseason with the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad before signing a contract with the Atlanta Falcons in early October. On October 28, White was waived after appearing in one game for Atlanta. October 31, the Cowboys added White to their practice squad.   

DE Adam Gotsis | 2nd Round | Denver Broncos  

Adam Gotsis spent four seasons with the Denver Broncos before becoming an unrestricted free agent this year. Gotsis totaled 109 total tackles and five sacks during his time in Denver. In 2019, injuries and inconsistent play led him to appearing in only nine games with three starts. Gotsis underwent ACL repair surgery in December following an ACL injury he sustained in Week 4. Gotsis will continue to rehab throughout the summer and hope to get picked up by a different team. 

2017

K Harrison Butker | 7th Round | Carolina Panthers

Harrison Butker spent a short-portion of his rookie season with the Carolina Panthers. Initially signed to the Panthers' 53-man roster in 2017, Carolina waived Butker in favor of veteran Graham Gano and re-signed him to the practice squad. Weeks later, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Butker and he has arguably been the best kicker in the NFL ever since. His 89.7 career field-goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts) is second in NFL history. Butker has 426 career points so far, an NFL record for any player in their first three seasons. He holds numerous franchise records and won Super Bowl LIV with the Chiefs. He made a 31-yard field goal and all four of his extra points in this year's Super Bowl.

Part One:

Recapping Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the NFL Draft: 2010

Part Two:

Recapping Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the NFL Draft: 2011-2014

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