Three Bears drafted in final four rounds, nine more sign free-agent contracts

Former Baylor defensive tackle takes down a Georgia player during the 2020 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Roy was drafted in the sixth round by the Carolina Panthers. Ali Barnett | Roundup Photograph

By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer

The 2020 NFL Draft came to completion Saturday with the fourth through seventh rounds. After Denzel Mims was the only former Baylor player to come off the board through the first three rounds, quite a few Bears joined NFL teams Saturday.

Three Bears were drafted in the final four rounds of the draft. The Minnesota Vikings took defensive tackle James Lynch in the fourth round with the 120th overall pick. Then, the Carolina Panthers selected defensive tackle Bravvion Roy in the sixth round with the 184th pick and the Los Angeles Rams took linebacker Clay Johnston in the seventh round with the 234th pick.

The four total NFL draftees is the most for Baylor in a single draft since 2016. Roy and Lynch become the first Baylor defensive linemen tandem to be taken in the same NFL draft since 1996 when Daryl Gardener was taken in the first round and Gary Bandy in the fifth.

Lynch was a unanimous All-American this past season, as well as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the conference with 13.5 sacks, setting a Baylor single-season record along the way. He also ranked second in the conference in tackles-for-loss with 19.5 as well as in forced fumbles with three.

Roy had a breakout season in 2019. After piling up 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, he earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors from multiple outlets, including the Associated Press. In Carolina, he will be joining Matt Rhule, the former Baylor and current Panthers head coach. Rhule coached Roy at Baylor for three seasons.

Johnston is coming off a season-ending knee injury which caused him to miss the final eight games of his college career. In the six games he did play, Johnston was a force. He had compiled 58 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks before suffering the injury. Despite missing over half the season, Johnston found his way onto the All-Big 12 Second-Team.

Johnston is the first Baylor linebacker to be drafted since Bryce Hager in 2015, whom the Rams also selected in the seventh round. While he was the final Baylor player to be drafted, Johnston was not the last former Bear to make his way onto an NFL roster.

In fact, nine undrafted players from Baylor signed free agent contracts:

JaMycal Hasty (running back) – San Francisco 49ers; All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

Blake Lynch (linebacker) – Minnesota Vikings; All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

Grayland Arnold (defensive back) – Philadelphia Eagles; Second Team All-Big 12

Jameson Houston (cornerback) – Cleveland Browns; All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

James Lockhart (defensive end) – Pittsburgh Steelers; All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

Jordan Williams (linebacker) – Atlanta Falcons

Chris Miller (safety) – Seattle Seahawks; Second-Team All-Big 12

Ross Matiscik (long snapper) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Henry Black (safety) – Green Bay Packers