Kaufman signs with Buffalo after going undrafted


Brandon Kaufman after the football game

Kaufman, left, finished his junior season with an FCS-record 1,850 receiving yards.
Kaufman (1) finished his junior season with an FCS-record 1,850 receiving yards.

By Peter Sowards




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More than 250 collegiate football players had their name called at the 2013 NFL Draft, but Brandon Kaufman did not.

The Eagles record-breaking wide receiver, who left school a year early to declare his NFL eligibility, instead signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills immediately following the draft. He will be joined in Buffalo by WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel, who also went undrafted. “We became really good friends down in Florida training together, and we were both excited and joking that we were a package deal throughout the whole process,” Kaufman said. “It comes up that we’re both going to Buffalo. That was pretty exciting. That was a silver lining within the whole free-agent aspect.”

In all, 254 players were drafted in the three-day event from April 25 to 27.

The Bills selected two receivers at the annual NFL Player Selection Meeting and signed three more as free agents, including Kaufman. University of Southern California’s Robert Woods was selected in the second round, and Texas’s Marquise Goodwin went a round later. Da’Rick Rogers from Tennessee Tech and Stony Brook’s Kevin Norrell rounded out the free agent signings. Along with Kaufman, Rogers was thought to be one of the most highly-rated receivers from the Football Championship Subdivision. Norrell started his career at Washington State in 2008 but was kicked off the team a year later following an arrest for driving under the influence.

Kaufman ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds at the EWU pro day on March 6.
Kaufman ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds at the EWU pro day on March 6.

Measuring in at 6 feet 5 inches and 216 pounds, Kaufman’s measurables impressed the Bills’ scouting department. “[He’s] Big, strong and [has] deceptive speed where he gets on top of people and gets downfield,” Bills scout Brad Forsyth said. “He uses his height, length and strong hands to make a lot of plays downfield for them.”

Having played in inclement weather conditions his entire football career, Kaufman’s game should travel well to Buffalo. “Coming from high altitude in Colorado and playing in Washington with the cold, I think I’ll be able to transition to Buffalo well, and I think come the later months I don’t think the cold effects me like it may do [with] other people,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to tough it out and still perform at a high level in the cold if that’s what they’re looking for.”

Kaufman forwent a senior year at EWU after a 2012 season in which he amassed an FCS-record 1,850 yards along with 93 catches and 16 touchdowns. He does not regret leaving school early. “I think I did everything I could as far as production, and I think I did everything I could as far as training and numbers post-college,” Kaufman said. “I think it all just came down to my injury history, and I think a team would have had to either take a chance this year or next. I don’t think I could have done anything else.”

Other EWU players who signed NFL free-agent contracts include fellow receivers Greg Herd and Nicholas Edwards, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, respectively. Also, quarterback Kyle Padron signed with the Oakland Raiders, and offensive lineman Will Post was invited to the Atlanta Falcons’ rookie minicamp. “With five guys making it into a camp in one year, and then with [EWU linebacker] Zach [Johnson] still having his opportunities wide open, I think that just shows how great of coaches we’ve had and how good this organization has been.”

With the recent signings, EWU football has now produced 69 players that have either been drafted or signed free-agent contracts with the NFL or Canadian Football League.

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