Waterford Mott's Dez Fitzpatrick heads to Titans in 4th round; WMU's Moore to 49ers in 5th
Louisville receiver and Farmington Hills native Dez Fitzpatrick didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called on the third and final day of the NFL Draft.
Fitzpatrick, who played his high school ball at Farmington and Waterford Mott, was selected with the fourth pick of Round 4 — No. 109 overall — by Tennessee on Saturday after the Titans made a trade with the Carolina Panthers to move up.
“I was super excited to hear the call and see the Nashville area code pop up,” said Fitzpatrick, who added he expected to be drafted either late Day 2 or early Day 3. “The conversation I had with the coaches, I definitely felt wanted.
"I'm at a loss for words. I always said this is just reality now, but I feel like I'm dreaming right now.”
During his career at Louisville, Fitzpatrick recorded 154 receptions for 2,589 yards and 21 touchdowns. Those first two marks rank ninth and sixth all-time in program history, respectively. He put up his best numbers this past season, when he caught 43 passes for 833 yards and three scores in 11 games.
Fitzpatrick (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) has the ability to play inside and outside, though he did more of the latter the past two seasons. He can also stretch the field as a legitimate vertical threat. He averaged 18.1 yards per reception in 2019 and 19.4 yards per catch in 2020.
“It works from me being able to run the underneath routes, me being able to run every route in the run tree,” Fitzpatrick said. “I just keep 'em guessing. I like to say that I'm a complete receiver and not one-dimensional. I just keep 'em on their toes.
“I feel like for you to be a deep threat, that's how you get your separation is in your intermediate routes, in your shorter routes. They'd expect everything if they think that you're going deep so you know the slants and hitches and everything works deeper when they respect you're a deep threat.”
At Tennessee, Fitzpatrick will help offset the loss of former Western Michigan star Corey Davis, who signed with the New York Jets in free agency, and will join a wide receiver unit that’s led by A.J. Brown.
As a welcomed addition, it didn’t take long for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to reach out to his new target.
"(Tannehill) said he's excited for me to come down and he felt like I was a good pick for him,” Fitzpatrick said. “He likes my game and that I can be a weapon within the offense.”
Another Bronco picked
Jaylon Moore became the fourth offensive lineman from Western Michigan in six years to hear his name called when he was selected in the fifth round with the No. 155 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
Moore will follow former Broncos Willie Beavers, Taylor Moton and Chukwuma Okorafor to the pros. Beavers was a fourth-round pick in 2016, Moton went in the second round in 2017 and Okorafor was selected in the third round in 2018.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder was originally recruited as a tight end coming out of Detroit Consortium Prep. He then moved to the defensive line before settling at his offensive tackle position.
“I just embraced whatever the coaches needed,” Moore said. “I would say playing those different positions got my quickness and agility to where it is. And I definitely feel like I fit in with the 49ers (zone blocking scheme) perfectly.”
Moore was a three-year starter and a second-team All-MAC selection the past two seasons. He allowed just seven sacks in 1,056 blocking snaps in his career at Western Michigan.
"He's a guy I think can absolutely play inside at guard at the next level," NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay said after the pick.
“I still think he's better at pass protection than he is in the run game. I'd like to see him be a better finisher, but he does a really good job at his size, without being an elite athlete, of using his hands in pass protection.”
Moore is the second WMU player taken in this year’s draft, joining wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge, who was nabbed in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks. He’ll also head to the Bay Area with Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas, who the 49ers took in the third round.
Irish tandem taken
Notre Dame defensive linemen Daelin Hayes (Ann Arbor Skyline) and Adetokunbo Ogundeji (Walled Lake Central) were drafted 11 picks apart in Round 5.
Hayes was selected by the Baltimore Ravens at No. 171 and Ogundeji by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 182.
Hayes, one of the state’s top prospects in the 2016 recruiting class, recorded 95 tackles, 20½ tackles for loss and nine sacks during his career with the Fighting Irish. He was a two-year starter and a team captain in 2020.
Despite growing up in the Detroit area, Hayes (6-4, 253) said he was a Ravens fan during his youth and idolized the Baltimore defenses that were led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.
“You talk about a place like Notre Dame where tradition is everything. You’re in alignment with some of the greatest players to ever grace college football. You fall into that and you try to uphold the standard,” Hayes said. “That mentality is going to be the same here with Baltimore. You’re a part of a long history of great defense, tough-nosed football and that’s something I want to embody as a player.”
Like Hayes, Ogundeji (6-4, 260) was a team captain in 2020 and recorded 23 tackles with a team-high seven sacks. In his four seasons, he tallied 80 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.
Ogundeji put on 40 pounds of muscle during his time in South Bend and didn’t become a full-time starter until his final season after playing behind edge rushers like Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem (Farmington Hills Harrison). Okwara and Kareem were both drafted last year, with Okwara going to the Detroit Lions and Kareem to the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I learned a lot from Julian, Khalid, all those guys who were in front of me,” Ogundeji said. “When I first got recruited I was very small, wasn't playing right away so I had to look at the people in front of me, see what they were doing well and see the things that I could learn from them and do that. I think that's what the culture is at Notre Dame and their defensive line. You see a lot of the older guys taking the lead and leading by example and the younger guys following right after.”