During a 2020 NFL Draft that was full of shocking twists and unexpected moves (such as the Green Bay Packers trading up to snatch quarterback Jordan Love), one was sure to catch the eye of football fans in Dayton.
With the 41st pick of the third round (105th overall), the New Orleans Saints drafted standout Dayton Flyers tight end Adam Trautman. It’s the highest draft position for a player in the Pioneer Football League (PFL), of which UD is a part of. Trautman is the first Flyer selected since the Seattle Seahawks took offensive tackle Bill Westbeld in the 11th round of the 1977 draft.
Trautman had a monstrous senior season in 2019, becoming a team captain, leading the team in receiving with 70 receptions for 916 yards, earning numerous MVP and All-American awards and capturing several UD all-time records in career receptions (178) touchdown catches (31) and receiving yards (2,295).
Later he was named the PFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, the first time a tight end has received that honor in that conference. Off of the field, he was a member of the PFL Academic Honor Roll every year he played and graduated from UD in December with a degree in electrical engineering.
“We’ve had a lot of good football players in my time here,” Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin said in a press release. “Young men come to the University of Dayton to get a great education and play for a winning football program. But in my 45 years at UD as a player, assistant coach and head coach, we’ve never had anyone with the potential to make an impact at the next level that Adam Trautman has.”
“The University gave Adam every opportunity to fulfill his dreams with our facilities, support and the coaching in our program but make no mistake about it – all credit goes to Adam for his commitment and the sacrifices he has made to take advantage of his God-given abilities and put him in this position.”
The Saints were eager to nab Trautman, so much that they traded their fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-round picks to the Minnesota Vikings to secure the second to last pick of the third round.
Saints head coach Sean Payton sees Trautman a true Y tight end, a player with the size to block as well as receive. In addition, he sees Trautman as a true “Saint player,” meaning he’s a “smart, tough” guy who can learn quickly.
“For a small-college player we feel he has really good in-line strength,” Payton told the media in a Zoom call following the draft. “He’s also someone that we think has real good hips. His change of direction, you can see that in how he sets up his routes. For someone who played at a smaller level, you see a dominant player.”
In addition to his size and physical attributes, fellow teammates and Chamberlin cite Trautman’s determination, intelligence, leadership abilities and conscientiousness could propel him to success with the seventh-ranked Saints passing offense.
“It means the world to me… and I would not change a thing about where I went to school,” Trautman said in a conference call that night, courtesy of Dayton Daily News. “I tell people that all the time. They ask me why didn’t I grad transfer or do this or that. I mean, I don’t really care. I love where I went to school, and I take a lot of pride in it and it’s awesome. I get all the texts from my teammates, and just the bond I built with them, it’s super special to me.”