Warner's Tuszka drafted by Broncos, three Jacks sign free agent deals

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North Dakota State's Derrek Tuszka celebrates a sack against Youngstown State quarterback Nathan Mays on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at the Fargodome.

The Denver Broncos selected North Dakota State defensive end and Warner native Derrek Tuszka with the 254th overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, April 25.

Tuszka, the 2019 Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was one of just six FCS players selected in the draft. He was a three-year starter at NDSU, first team All-American in 2019, and finished fifth in NDSU history with 29.5 career sacks totaling 202 yards.

The 37th draft pick out of North Dakota State, Tuszka is just the second defensive end selected in the program's Division I era. The first was 2014 Buck Buchanan Award winner Kyle Emanuel, who played four seasons with the Chargers before retirement.

North Dakota State had two other players agree to terms as undrafted free agents. Tight end Ben Ellefson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and offensive lineman Zack Johnson signed with the Green Bay Packers.

Ellefson was a second team All-American in 2019. His 16 career touchdown receptions were the most by a tight end in NDSU history and ninth on the school's all-time career list. Ellefson made 35 catches for 463 yards over 59 career games including 30 starts.


Johnson was a two-time All-American who earned second team honors at right tackle in 2018 and first team honors at right guard in 2019. A three-year starter, he made 46 straight starts over his final three seasons and helped NDSU set school records for rushing yards in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Tuszka going to the Broncos with the second-to-last selection in the seventh round gave NDSU its sixth draft pick in the past seven seasons. He is the first Bison selected by the Broncos since two-time Super Bowl champion cornerback Tyrone Braxton was drafted by Denver in 1987.

Three former South Dakota State football players reached free-agent agreements with National Football League teams Saturday following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.

  • Mikey Daniel, fullback/running back, Atlanta Falcons
  • Christian Rozeboom, linebacker, Los Angeles Rams
  • Luke Sellers, fullback, Detroit Lions

A Brookings native, Daniel rushed for 1,728 yards and 29 touchdowns during his four-year Jackrabbit career. He led the team with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2017 and ranked second on the squad with 630 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018. He again ranked second on the team in rushing during his senior campaign with 535 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Rozeboom finished as SDSU's career leader in tackles with 475, including 29 tackles for loss, while adding eight forced fumbles and eight interceptions during a standout career. The Sioux Center, Iowa, native earned first-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors each of his four seasons from 2016-19, topping the 100-tackle mark each year. Rozeboom also was an All-America selection three years and was a 2019 finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Sellers helped pave the way for a potent Jackrabbit rushing attack that averaged more than 175 yards per game each of the past three seasons. The Papillion, Nebraska, native scored a touchdown on his lone reception of the 2019 season and also was a key contributor on special teams for SDSU squads that earned a top-eight seed in the FCS playoffs each of the last four years.

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