St. Cloud Has Plenty of NFL Connections
The NFL draft will take place Thursday April 28 - Saturday April 30. The St. Cloud area has had many players either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents. The list includes St. John's offensive lineman Ben Bartch, who was drafted in the 4th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. He's played 2 seasons so far with the Jaguars with 28 games played which includes 12 starts.
Dillon Radunz is a Becker, Minnesota native who played college football at North Dakota State. The offensive lineman was drafted in the 2nd round (53rd overall) by the Tennessee Titans in 2021. He played 12 games in his rookie season in 2021 with 1 start.
Sartell native Craig Sauer played college football for the University of Minnesota before playing 5 seasons in the NFL. He was chosen in the 6th round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1996. Sauer played his first 4 seasons with the Falcons before finishing his career with the Vikings in 2000. The linebacker saw plenty of action on special teams. Sauer appeared in the 1999 Super Bowl with Atlanta.
Receiver Eric Decker from Cold Spring and Rocori High School played 8 seasons in the NFL with 4 different teams. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. He also played with the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots. Decker had 439 catches for 5,816 yards and 53 touchdowns in his NFL career. He played college football for the Gophers.
St. Cloud Tech High School graduate Keith Fahnhorst was chosen in the 2nd round by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1974 NFL draft. The linebacker played 193 games, 14 seasons with the 49ers. Keith's brother, Jim Fahnhorst, also a linebacker, was picked in the 4th round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Fahnhorst never appeared in a game with the Vikings but instead played 7 seasons with the 49ers from 1984-1990. Jim played 2 seasons in the USFL for the Chicago Blitz in 1983 and the Arizona Wranglers in 1984.
Royalton native Jim Langer played 12 seasons in the NFL (10 with the Dolphins, 2 with the Vikings). The guard/center was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He played 151 games in his career including 110 starts. Langer's career began in 1970 and ended in 1981 at 33 years old. He was apart of the '72 and '73 Dolphins who won Super Bowls VII and VIII. Langer played college football at South Dakota State.
Litchfield native John Carlson was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2nd round in the 2008 NFL draft. The Tight end played college football at Notre Dame. Carlson played 6 seasons in the NFL which includes his first 3 in Seattle, 2 in Minnesota and his last season in Arizona. He played 90 games with 210 catches and 15 touchdowns in his career.
St. Cloud State has had many players see time in the NFL which includes quarterback Todd Bouman, who played 10 seasons in the NFL appearing in 44 games including 3 starts with the Vikings in 2001. His last start was in 2010 with Jacksonville as a 38-year old. Defensive back Keith Nord played his entire 76-game career with the Vikings. He returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown in 1980. Receiver John Kimbrough was drafted in the 3rd round by the Buffalo Bills in 1977. He played 14 games in his rookie year and never saw action after that.
Other Huskies in the NFL included defensive tackle Mike Lambrecht who played for the Miami Dolphins for 3 seasons starting in 1987. Receiver Fred Williams never appeared in an NFL game but spent some time at the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in 2015. Receiver Ben Nelson appeared in 3 games for the Vikings in 2004 and defensive end Jeff Haguza appeared in 3 games for the Vikings in 2001.
St. John's receiver Blake Elliott won the Gagliardi Trophy in 2003 and earned a tryout with the Vikings but never appeared in a professional game.