CHICAGO – Former Harvard standout Cole Toner was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 National Football League Draft by the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. The offensive lineman was the 170th overall selection and is just the fifth player in program history to be chosen in the top five rounds.
"I compare Cole to Matt Birk '98 in terms of his potential as an NFL player," said Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, of Toner. "I'm not saying he is going to be a Pro Bowl player, but he has the length and athleticism to play multiple positions and will only get stronger and more physical as he develops in the NFL."
Toner, who hails from Greenwood, Indiana, was named to the AP FCS All-America team and helped the Crimson average 36.4 points per game this fall, the highest mark in the Ivy League. Harvard also paced the Ancient Eight in total offense (474.2), passing offense (303.5) and rushing offense (170.7). A semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, or "Academic Heisman", Toner played in the Reese's Senior Bowl and participated in the NFL Combine. Toner was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first team, the Academic All-Ivy League team and the All-Ivy first team, after starting nine games this fall.
Toner became the fifth player drafted under Murphy, joining Matt Birk '98, who retired in 2013 after winning Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens, Isaiah Kacyvenski '00, Ryan Fitzpatrick '05 and Kyle Juszczyk '13 as Harvard players who have heard their name called at the NFL Draft since 1998. Overall, the standout is the 19th Crimson player to get drafted, and the first since Juszczyk was taken in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
Offensive lineman Anthony Fabiano has reportedly signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens, while tight end Ben Braunecker agreed to similar terms with the Chicago Bears. Offensive lineman Adam Redmond was inked by the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Scott Hosch earned a tryout with the Detroit Lions.
Fabiano, a product of Wakefield, Massachusetts, was named to the All-Ivy League first team and the All-New England team after a standout senior season. A ECAC All-Star selection, Fabiano helped the Crimson average 36.4 points per game this fall, the highest mark in the Ivy League. Harvard also paced the Ancient Eight in total offense (474.2), passing offense (303.5) and rushing offense (170.7).
"It's easy at times to get overlooked when two of your offensive teammates go to the combine, but Anthony Fabiano is an NFL player," said Murphy. "He's an even more athletic version of Nick Easton '15."
Braunecker, a native of Ferdinand, Indiana, earned six All-America nods, was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League team and received the College Football Performance Awards Tight End Award. Braunecker paced the Crimson with 48 receptions for 850 yards and played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The tight end stood out at the NFL Combine after catching eight touchdown passes with the Crimson and tallying four games with more than 100 receiving yards. He concluded his career with 68 career receptions for 1,168 yards and 10 TD grabs.
"When Ben was a freshman he had the benefit of having three future NFL players in his tight end meeting room (Kyle Juszczyk '13, Cameron Brate '14, Tyler Ott '14)," said Murphy. "To me, he is a cross between Kyle and Cam - meaning he has the length, athleticism, and explosiveness to play inside or slot receiver and the body-type and physicality to play fullback or wing. He will be a versatile NFL tight end/h-back and special teams player."
Redmond was a co-recipient of Harvard's William Paine LaCroix Trophy and named to CoSIDA Academic All-District first team. An All-Ivy League first team selection, Redmond played in all 10 games.
"By virtue of playing on such a talented and distinguished offense, Adam at times was overlooked, but he had a tremendous career for us starting at every offensive line position, and he is absolutely capable of playing in the NFL," said Murphy.
Hosch was named the Asa S. Bushnell Cup winner as Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and selected as New England Football Writers' Association Division I Gold Helmet of the Year Award winner. A first team All-Ivy League selection, Hosch finished eighth in school history with 4,255 passing yards and tied for sixth in program history with 30 TD passes. His 2,827 passing yards in 2015 ranked most for a season in school history and his 22 passing TDs was second most for a single year in program history.
"Scott had arguably the highest football IQ of any QB we have ever had," said Murphy. "His ability to get us in the right play and throw recievers open under pressure was tremendous."