Lucas Niang, the New Canaan graduate who went on to an outstanding career at TCU before suffering a midseason injury last fall that caused him to miss his final five games, was drafted tonight by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with the 96th pick in the third round.
Niang was a potential first round pick before having surgery last November for a torn labrum in his hip that had bothered him for over a year. The 6-7, 330-pound right tackle, who was second-team All-Big Ten as a junior, did not allow a sack his final two years at TCU.
Niang was hoping to prove to NFL teams that he was fully recovered at TCU’s pro day last March but that got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the second straight year a New Canaan graduate has been drafted in the third round, following Zach Allen, who played at Boston College. Allen was the first selection in the third round by the Cardinals.
Niang said he is back to 100 percent. The Chiefs return their starting tackles, Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher.
Regarding a move to guard, Niang said to the Kansas City Star, “We talked about it but it wasn’t a big thing. I’ll do whatever they need me to do to win.”
Niang developed rapidly for the Rams and chose TCU over Auburn and Miami.
Niang played at TCU with Michael Collins, the quarterback he blocked for at New Canaan. Collins recently transferred to play a graduate season at Rice.
“I’m really happy for him,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said of Niang. “He’s worked hard. You could tell it was there. You could see it as a freshman athletically and he had tremendous size, but also good feet. By his senior year he took off.”
Asked about having a pair of his former players make it to the NFL in consecutive years, Marinelli, who is about to begin his 40th season at New Canaan, said, “Wow. It’s unbelievable. We were just fortunate to have two like them, with the size and athletic ability.”