Two players from the Mid-American Conference were drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ball State offensive tackle Danny Pinter was selected at the beginning of the fifth round by the Indianapolis Colts and Miami (OH) kicker Sam Sloman landed with the Los Angeles Rams toward the tail end of the seventh round.
Outside of these two, several other 2020 NFL draft picks made a splash in the MAC. Three players — James Morgan, K.J. Osborn, and Mike Danna — all operated as starters in the conference for multiple years before transferring as graduates to other universities across the country.
James Morgan, QB, Bowling Green/FIU
The former Bowling Green quarterback was the seventh signal caller off the board in 2020. Morgan landed in the fourth round to the New York Jets as the 125th overall pick. In two years and 13 starts as the Falcons’ quarterback, Morgan threw for 3,342 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions on 52% completions. His accuracy and his overall quarterback play vastly improved at FIU, where he led the Panthers to back-to-back bowl games while throwing for 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in two seasons.
Morgan will make his new home in New Jersey, where he’ll compete for the second-string job behind Sam Darnold on the Jets. The Jets’ backup quarterbacks Luke Falk and Trevor Siemian struggled in 2019, and the team averaged 7.7 points per game in the three contests Darnold missed. The former pre-law graduate of Bowling Green is the first Falcon quarterback drafted since Omar Jacobs in 2005.
K.J. Osborn, WR/PR, Buffalo/Miami (FL)
Osborn shined for three seasons at Buffalo before taking his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Hurricanes as a grad transfer. He was selected as the 176th overall pick of the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings.
The former Bull ranks seventh in school history in reception touchdowns and ninth in receiving yards. Osborn’s production peaked in his final year in the MAC in 2018 when he averaged 16.8 yards per reception and amassed 892 receiving yards. Additionally, he averaged double-digit punt return yards in each of his final three years in college. As a senior with the Hurricanes, Osborn was collecting 16 yards per punt fielded. Osborn will be a useful utility player for a Minnesota team losing wide receiver Stefon Diggs this offseason, and he may take over Mike Hughes’ spot and serve as the team’s day one punt returner.
Mike Danna, DE, Central Michigan/Michigan
A monster pass rusher at Central Michigan, Danna stayed in the Mitten but completed his college football career wearing maize and blue. Danna fell one pick after Osborn as the 177th overall pick in the fifth round by the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs.
In three seasons with the Chippewas, Danna recorded 15 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss. The former All-MAC selection posted one of the best stat-lines of any defensive end in 2018, finishing with 8.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 65 tackles, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. After registering three more sacks with Michigan, Danna joins a Super Bowl LV contender, which is projected to start Frank Clark and Alex Okafor on the ends of the defensive line in 2020. Danna will learn behind two established veterans, and his shot to shine as a pass rusher may be very soon.