Greg Senat had all but abandoned playing football and went to Wagner to play college basketball. While he was there, his interest in football was rekindled and the Elmont product decided to give it another shot. He became a two-sport athlete, then committed to football, and now he’s in the NFL.
The offensive tackle was drafted with the 212th overall selection in the sixth round by the Ravens on Saturday. It was a little deeper into the process than he hoped, but just like his return to the sport, it was better late than never.
“Definitely worth the wait,” Senat told Newsday. “We thought I’d be drafted earlier but I stayed positive. I knew wherever I wound up would be the right place for me.”
At around 5 p.m., that place became Baltimore when general manager Ozzie Newsome called Senat, who was surrounded by family, friends and coaches at a restaurant in Manhattan waiting for the call.
“It caught everyone off guard,” Senat said. “When I finally got the Ravens’ call, everyone kind of perked up. It was great. And then they exploded.”
Senat reports to the team on Thursday for the start of rookie minicamp.
“He looks the part,” Newsome said. “He’s a little green. He hasn’t been playing football that long, but he’s a super talented guy.”
Senat is still considered a raw prospect, but his athleticism and size (6-6, 302) make him an intriguing player for development. As a sixth-round pick, he’s not guaranteed a spot on the roster in September, but he’ll have a very good shot at making the team. If not, depending on how training camp goes, he could land on the Ravens’ practice squad.
Senat was one of a handful of players with Long Island roots who were awaiting their pro football fates on Saturday. Not all of them had to wait much. Tight end Ian Thomas, who played two seasons at Nassau CC before playing at Indiana, was the first player selected at the top of the fourth round on Saturday. He went to the Panthers with the 101st overall selection.
“I’ve had a great support system behind me, and they made it possible for me to believe in myself,” said Thomas. “It’s a dream come true.”
“He definitely has the ability to come in and contribute right away, but we think he has got a very high upside,” Panthers GM Marty Hurney said. “We think he can be a complete tight end. He’s got all the skill sets. He’s got a lot of potential. He needs experience and he’s going to be a work in progress, but he’s got all the tools.”
He’ll learn at the knee of Panthers veteran Greg Olsen, who just signed a two-year extension.
“He’s a great guy, a great tight end who has been in the league for a while,” Thomas said of Olsen. “He’s a role model to look up to.”
Offensive tackle Timon Parris, who played at Floral Park High School, had hoped to be the first Stony Brook University player drafted by the NFL. That did not happen, likely due to the ankle injury that cost him the second half of his senior season and did not allow him to participate in the Senior Bowl or some of the pre-draft workouts. Almost immediately after the draft, though, he signed a three-year deal with the Redskins as a free agent.