The NFL Draft was hosted from Thursday, April 28, through Saturday, April 30. The event is one of the most prestigious as it ushers a new wave of players from the college to professional ranks. In the past few years, the Charlotte 49ers football program has put multiple players into the NFL, including Larry Ogunjobi, Nate Davis, Alex Highsmith and Cameron Clark. They have all represented the green and gold well at the highest level.
Two former 49ers, Jon Alexander and Hunter Kelly signed with NFL teams after the 2022 NFL Draft. The trend of Charlotte 49ers competing in the NFL continues as both players have the opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot this summer.
Alexander, former Charlotte defensive back, was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent on Saturday, April 30th, and will be given a chance to make the final 53-man roster.
Alexander had quite a collegiate career, playing for three separate schools all over the country. Although he didn't start his journey at Charlotte, the 49ers were crucial to his success. The senior was a leader on Charlotte's defense a season ago and led the team in multiple statistical categories.
With 57 tackles, Alexander placed fourth on the team, which is unprecedented for a safety, and ranked first on the team with two interceptions and two forced fumbles on the year. Pro Football Focus rated him Second Team All-Conference USA (C-USA), which barely begins to address how important Alexander was for the 49ers. With the ability to play inside the box or deep center field, at 6'3, 210 pounds, Alexander has tremendous physical gifts and versatility that could serve him well at the next level.
Kelly, ex-Charlotte offensive lineman, was invited to attend the Carolina Panthers Rookie Camp on May 13th through the 15th, where he can show his talents and hopefully earn himself a spot on the team.
Much like Alexander, Kelly has had quite a college experience. The 49ers were his second college team as he came from Penn State University, where he spent four seasons before coming to Charlotte.
Last season Kelly started all twelve games for the 49ers at center and was a massive anchor for multiple young starters on the offensive line. His performance helped him earn Honorable Mention All C-USA by the league's coaches.
Charlotte adds both players to the list of numerous individuals given a chance to play at the professional level. Both players will look to make their respective teams after camps this offseason.