Former Toppers Jackson, Dowling selected in 2014 NFL Draft

Junior Jonathan Dowling gets the crowd pumped up during the game. WKU won 34-31 against Arkansas State on Nov. 30, 2013 at Houchens-Smith Stadium. 

Kyle Williams

Former Topper inside linebacker Andrew Jackson and safety Jonathan Dowling were selected in the sixth and seventh rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, respectively.

The picks mark the first time WKU has had two players drafted in the same year since 1991.

In addition to the draftees, former running back Antonio Andrews, who led the NCAA in all-purpose yards for the past two seasons, signed a free agent deal with the Tennessee Titans shortly after the draft concluded according to his Twitter account.

According to WKU football director of player personnel Nathan Dennison, former Topper running back Kadeem Jones has also agreed to a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams. Jones finished his junior season with six touchdowns, good for second-best on the team.

The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to sign former linebacker Xavius Boyd as well, making it five former Toppers who found a home on the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Jackson was selected with the 203rd pick in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts, giving WKU back-to-back NFL Draft picks for the first time since 2003.

The 6-foot 254-pound inside linebacker totaled more than 300 tackles in his three years as a starter.

“He was very productive during his career at Western Kentucky,” ESPN NFL Analyst Mel Kiper said. “…When he makes a tackle, he puts all his weight — that 260 pounds — behind it. Doesn’t always break down in space, but he’s fairly light on his feet for a kid his size.”

The Lakeland, Fla. native told that he’s prepared to assist his new team in any way possible.

“I’m just ready to help them in any shape or form,” Jackson said. “…To help Andrew Luck out. You know, give him a chance to get back out on the field and throw more touchdowns.”

Jackson will join former Topper teammate Jack Doyle in Indianapolis. Doyle was signed on September 1, 2013 after being released by the Tennessee Titans.

The Oakland Raiders selected Dowling with the 247th pick in the seventh round after the 6-foot 3-inch junior chose to forgo his senior season on The Hill.

Dowling recorded 67 tackles, three interceptions and a NCAA-high six forced fumbles in 2013. The 190-pound safety totaled 135 tackles and nine interceptions in two seasons at WKU.