With nine players currently under contract in the NFL, the University of Maine has been churning out a lot of pro football talent. Former Mt. Blue star Jordan Stevens hopes to add to that growing list of Black Bears plying their trade in the NFL.
Stevens, of Temple, has been invited to participate in the Detroit Lions’ rookie camp next weekend as an undrafted free agent. If he impresses the Lions enough, he could join teammate Tyler Eastman, an offensive lineman from Old Town who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs right after last weekend’s NFL draft, in the latest wave of Black Bears to enlist in the NFL.
An all-star defensive end, Stevens turned heads at the university’s pro day in Orono and the BSN Pro-Combine in Washington, DC. Stevens said he had some talks with the Miami Dolphins, but the Lions showed the most interest and stayed in contact with him.
“I talked to the scout who was here about two days before the draft and he was saying if I didn’t get picked up as a free agent, they’d like me to come in and try out for them,” he said.
The 6-foot-2, 251-pound Stevens said the Dolphins were interested in him as a linebacker, but Miami selected three linebackers in the draft. The Lions are bringing him in as a defensive end, where they spent just a seventh-round pick
“I know I can do both (defensive end and linebacker). I think I offer that and other things like special teams,” he said.
A three-year starter, Stevens converted from linebacker to defensive end his junior year, following in the footsteps of Jovan Belcher, who was himself an undrafted free agent who played for the Chiefs. Last year, he finished third in the Colonial Athletic Conference with 10 sacks, fifth in forced fumbles with three and seventh among linemen in tackles with 58. He was named to the New England football writers’ Football Championship Subdivision All-Star Team.
Stevens will fly to Detroit on Thursday for the three-day rookie camp, which begins on Friday.
“I just hope to show them that I can play at that level and hopefully force them to keep me on the roster through my effort and attention to detail,” he said.
He said he has talked with former teammate Matt Mulligan, who made the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent tight end.
“We’ve been in contact with each other since he’s been in the NFL and I talked to him before the draft and right after the draft,” Stevens said. “He couldn’t really prepare me a lot because every team does things differently. He just told me to stay in shape because they’ll push you.”
In addition to Stevens, three other Black Bears have gotten their foot in the professional football door. Brandon McLaughlin, his roomate at Maine, has a try-out with the Cleveland Browns. Wide receiver Landis Williams signed with the Denver Broncos, and running back Jhamal Fluellen signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League