Colorado St Toledo Football

Colorado State's Trey McBride hurdles Toledo's Maxen Hook during an NCAA college football game in Toledo, Ohio, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (Rebecca Benson/The Blade via AP)

DENVER — Way to save the day, Jordan and Trey.

This was an NFL draft to remember for Air Force and Colorado State. The CU Buffs kicked rocks.

First and foremost, CSU great Trey McBride was chosen by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round, No. 55 overall. McBride is a Fort Morgan man and was the first tight end off the board.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters in the desert: “His character’s through the roof.”

The same can be said for Jordan Jackson, who did Air Force proud. The New Orleans Saints selected Jackson in the sixth round, No. 194 — the second-highest pick in academy history.

Saints coach Dennis Allen told him: “I know you’re going to come in and work your tail off.”

And that was all from Colorado programs in the draft. Two to remember, too few after that.

CU went 0-fer — the sixth time in the past eight drafts the Buffs had one or zero picks. Perhaps linebackers Carson Wells and Nate Landman or lineman Kary Kutsch can break through as undrafted hopefuls. But the buyouts-to-ballers ratio in Boulder remains way out of whack.

The University of Georgia set records for most players drafted (15), most defensive players in the first round (five) and most defenders in the first three rounds (nine). How's that even possible? And the “name, image, likeness” movement is only beginning to kick in. It’s hard to see how the CUs of college football ever will compete with the Georgias, Alabamas and LSUs.

Get ready for the gap to become a canyon.

As far as the Broncos go, Russell Wilson will not want while in Denver. The centerpiece of their nine-player draft class will be Greg Dulcich, a tight end from UCLA. Wilson’s offense now includes three former first-round picks, four second-round picks and Dulcich, a third-rounder. Shoot, the Broncos even did right by their new quarterback, who spent his senior season at Wisconsin, by drafting a pair of Wisconsin standouts with their final two picks. Kiss ups.

The Broncos will regret passing on Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, but so will everyone except for the Philadelphia Eagles. There must be an unspoken injury issue. Only that would make sense. Still, in four or five years we’ll wonder how Dean fell down to the third round.

The Broncos made their big splash in trading for Russell Wilson. In the draft, they played it safe.

Back to the Colorado guys. What a golden opportunity for McBride, a 22-year-old go-getter. He's fortunate to join a Cardinals offense with a pair of 24-year-old stars in quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. And the Cardinals should be ecstatic to add CSU's finest to their huddle.

“People asked what do you like about him? The question is what’s there not to like about him?” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told reporters. “Special human, special player.”

New CSU coach Jay Norvell can’t claim McBride, but he can claim a pair of draft picks in two of his players from Nevada: Cole Turner with the Commanders, Romeo Doubs with the Packers. A knack for player development bodes well for CSU's future.

The Air Force coaching staff was thrilled for Jackson, a defensive lineman who has the drive, size (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) and natural ability to stick in the NFL. Only one player at Air Force has gone higher in the draft — Dan Palmer at No. 168 overall in 1996. Jackson is their first position player to go in the draft since Bryce Fisher in 1998. What a day for Air Force football.

Both the Rams’ McBride and Falcons’ Jackson will leave a mark in the NFL. In a quiet draft for Colorado’s college football programs, Colorado State and Air Force made the loudest noise.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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