Multiple Butler Grizzlies football players selected in 2021 NFL Draft

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Jordan Smith (left), Josh Ball (middle) and Tay Gowan (right) were all selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The third day of the 2021 NFL Draft was really good to the Butler Grizzlies as two players were selected in the fourth round and another was taken in the sixth round.

The three draft selections for Butler is the most in school history, surpassing numerous times when Butler had two draft picks, most recently in 2014. 

It's the first draft selections for the football program since Ben Powers was taken as the No. 123 overall pick in the fourth round of 2019 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.

Of the five NJCAA players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, three of them played at Butler before going onto their four-year school.

Jordan Smith - No. 123 overall by Jacksonville

Jordan Smith is a defensive end that played for the Grizzlies during the 2018 season before heading to the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Smith was selected No. 121 overall in the fourth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday afternoon.

During his year at Butler, he helped the Grizzlies defense shine as he had 11 sacks, a fumble forced and 40 tackles for a defense that was ranked inside the top 10 all season long. 

While at UAB, Smith excelled as he was picked first team all-conference and was invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl, which is only offered to the best seniors in the college football. 

During his two seasons at UAB, Smith had over 90 tackles and 14.5 sacks for the Blazers. He had a carer high nine tackles against Miami (FL) on Sept. 10.

ESPN Draft Scout Steve Muench said Smith's long arms that give him an advantage over offensive linemen and his ability to secure the tackle once he's wrapped up the ball carrier as a reason why the Jaguars took him in the fourth round.

Josh Ball - No. 136 overall by Dallas

That wasn't all for Butler as Josh Ball, an offensive linemen who played for Butler during the 2018 season also was drafted on Saturday afternoon when the Dallas Cowboys picked him with the No. 138 overall selection in the fourth round. 

Ball will join a host of other Butler Grizzlies players as Demarcus Lawerence (2011) and Michael Gallup (2014-15) both played for the Grizzlies before heading onto four-year institutions of their own. 

Ball who transferred to Marshall after Butler has excelled with the Thundering Herd. He was a part of an offensive line that only allowed 12 sacks all season this past year. He also helped Marshall rush for 178.4 yards per game. 

Ball helped the Thundering Herd advance to the Conference USA title game against Smith's UAB Blazers. UAB took the win, 22-13. 

ESPN's Muench said Ball is an offensive linemen who can wall off defenders in the run game and has sound technique. 

Tay Gowan - No. 223 overall by Arizona

Tay Gowan adds his name to the list of Butler players heading to the NFL as the Arizona Cardinals filled a need in their secondary by taking Gowan No. 223 overall in the sixth round.

Gowan, a lockdown corner fits a hole as the Cardinals saw some departures, such as Patrick Patterson leaving and a defense that had seen better days in defending the pass.

Gowan played at Butler during the 2018 season and had six interceptions in his one season in El Dorado. He had two of those against Fort Scott on October 20, 2018. One of those was returned for a touchdown.

He added another in the bowl game against NEO A&M.

While at Central Florida, Gowan took over a starting position after the player above him had a season ending injury and he excelled in that role. He finished with two interceptions, started 12 of 13 games and finished with 31 tackles for the Knights.

Gowan opted out of the 2020 season with UCF and it's paid off as he found his name called in the NFL Draft. 

ESPN's Muench said Gowan posses above-average ball skills and has good upside as a press corner. His height and speed helps with his growth.

Myron Mitchell - Undrafted Free Agent Minnesota Vikings

Former Butler wide receiver Myron Mitchell has agree to an undrafted free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

During his two years with the Grizzlies, he caught 42 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns.

After Butler, Mitchell went to UAB where he was two-time all-conference honorable mention. He caught 63 passes during his two years for the Blazers for 990 yards and seven touchdowns.

In his first ever game for the Blazers, Mitchell took a kickoff back 98 yards for the touchdown.

Mitchell had career highs in catches (8) and yards (117) at Miami (FL) this past season.

Butler will now have nine players on an NFL roster heading into training camp, with five current players in the league. Currently Chris Carsons, Byron Pringle, Powers, Lawrence and Gallup all will appear on a roster in 2021. 

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.