The 2021 NFL Draft, which was hosted last weekend in various locations across Cleveland, OH, including FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, is in the books. Last year, the 2020 NFL Draft was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with NFL teams making their selections from home. Now, before you know it, all eyes will be back on the field, and the new season will be fast approaching.
From No. 1 (Trevor Lawrence to the Jacksonville Jaguars) through No. 259 (Grant Stuard, aka “Mr. Irrelevant,” to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), there were also several college players with ties to the Inland Empire that were taken in this year’s draft. Local names like Demitric Felton Jr. (Great Oak High School), Lorenzo Burns (Linfield Christian), Dwayne Johnson Jr. (Vista Murrieta), Camryn Bynum (Corona Centennial) and Javon McKinley (Corona Centennial) will have an opportunity to impact a professional team, or at least that is their hope.
Felton, who played at UCLA after high school, was picked up by the Cleveland Browns in Round 6 Pick 112. Demitric’s first reaction was “Thank God!” He is excited for the opportunity the Browns has given him to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. The Great Oak High alumnus is a hybrid talent who displayed his ability to play receiver and running back as a Bruin and will join a backfield that features Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Burns, who played at Linfield Christian and was recruited to play at the University of Arizona after high school, playing defense and earning an MVP his senior year, was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals as an Undrafted Free Agent.
The Falcons signed San Diego State defensive back, and former Vista Murrieta standout, Dwayne Johnson Jr. as an undrafted free agent. As a junior in 2019, Johnson started all 13 games, receiving honorable mention all-MW recognition after posting 92 tackles (54 solo, 1.5 TFL), one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one interception and five pass breakups.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Cal defensive back Camryn Bynum in the fourth round with the 125th pick. Bynum was a member of the Corona Centennial team that beat St. John Bosco to win the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division title in each of his final two years of high school (2014, 2015).
Bynum’s high school teammate, Javon McKinley, signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. McKinley spent the last five years as a receiver at Notre Dame. Bynum recorded 188 total tackles (eight for a loss), six interceptions and 35 pass deflections in 42 starts. He also registered five tackles, the second-highest total for the National team, in the Senior Bowl. Valley News photographer, Rob Davis, also contributed to this article.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.