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NFL Draft History Lesson: Ball State Cardinals (2017-2021)

Ball State only has one pick over the last five drafts, but they’ve already made an impact in their new home.

New York Jets v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Being based in a basketball-crazed state can be tough for a football program, but the Cardinals have persevered through it, with 18 players over the program’s history being selected to the NFL Draft over the decades, and 35 players overall in the league since 1947.

Running back Timmy Brown, drafted initially by Green Bay before establishing himself as an Eagles legend over eight seasons, was Ball State’s first-ever NFL Draft selection in 1959, and would go on to finish his career with three Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Colts in his sunset season.

Brown, who moonlighted as a recording artist in his NFL days, would go on to be a successful actor in the 70’s, with notable appearances in M.A.S.H., The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Nashville, Zebra Force and more— with a stint as a CBS color analyst in 1973 in-between.

Other players who made a name for themselves in more modern times coming out of Muncie include running back Bernie Parmalee, defensive back Blaine Bishop, defensive end Keith McKenzie, punters Brad Maynard and Reggie Hodges, and receivers Willie Snead IV.

History hasn’t been kind in the way of recent drafts for the Cards, who have had to wait an average of five years between picks dating back to 2005, with guard Robert Brewster (2009) and linebacker Jonathan Newsome (2014) being the two picks between 2006 and 2016.

All said, there is one current contributor who is putting it down for the Cardinals— in their home state no less.

We check in on the career of Ball State’s lone draft pick since 2017:

OL Danny Pinter

NFL: DEC 25 Colts at Cardinals Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Drafted: 2020, fifth round, 149th overall, Indianapolis Colts

Pinter didn’t start his career on the offensive line, but he certainly made a name for himself once he made the transition, converting from tight end to right tackle after his redshirt sophomore campaign.

He would go on to start all 24 games over two seasons at the spot, earning first-team all-MAC honors in 2019, before getting drafted in 2020 by the hometown Indianapolis Colts. The South Bend, Indiana native would make a transition once again, this time from tackle to guard, in order to stick on the 53-man roster, making 13 appearances (with one start) in his rookie campaign.

Pinter’s workload would increase in 2021, taking on both guard and center duties over 16 games (three starts,) and even seeing time as a reserve tight end on trick plays, catching a touchdown against the New York Jets late in the season as Indianapolis looked to stay in the playoff hunt.

2022 will be a key year for Pinter, as he will likely compete for a starting role due to departures along the line, giving Ball State fans a potential opportunity to cheer for one of their own on a weekly basis.