Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, April 16, 1999

N. F. L. _ H A W A I I

Hawaii may
be shut out in
NFL draft

BYU's Joe Wong is the only
player with isle ties with a
shot to be picked

By Pat Bigold


Five local players have been taken in the last two NFL drafts, but the islands could be shut out this time.

Waimanalo's Joe Wong, who played one season as a redshirt freshman at right tackle for Hawaii, then transferred to Brigham Young, is the only local player listed anywhere on the draft charts.

But the 23-year-old former Kailua High star is listed so far down most of them that prognosticators say he has a better chance as a free agent.

Wong has one thing that NFL scouts like in a lineman: attitude. "I like to get nasty, get after 'em and slap 'em around a little," he said.

He said his strength is at pulling.

Wong played guard at BYU after losing a year of eligibility in the transfer and then played every game last season at right tackle for the Cougars.

The ESPN Draft Central web site assesses Wong this way on the positive side:

"Excellent size (6-6, 320). Big body. Good football instincts."

But the negative side reads this way:

"Poor 40-time (5.7). Athletic limitations really show up when he must play in a bigger area. Is not quick enough to play tackle or handle a speed rusher, unless he has a tight end alongside him."

Pro Football Weekly ranks Wong 17th out of 40 guards and rates his chances of making an NFL roster as "above average."

Despite a stellar career as a defensive end at Oregon State, former Damien standout Inoke Breckterfield's size (5-11, 249 pounds) seems to be his biggest drawback. His name cannot be found on the deepest lists at defensive line or linebacker.

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