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Gophers linebacker Blake Cashman drafted by New York Jets

Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman talks to the media during the 2019 NFL Combine at Indianapolis Convention Center on March 2. Cashman was selected by New York Jets in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Thomas J. Russo / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gophers linebacker Blake Cashman was selected by New York Jets in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Cashman’s draft projections ranged from the second round on Friday to the fifth and sixth rounds on Saturday afternoon. The Eden Prairie natives was taken with the 19th pick in the fifth round and 157th overall.

“This pick is money,” the Jets tweeted.

Cashman’s high school teammate Ryan Connelly, a linebacker from Wisconsin was taken 14 picks prior by the Giants. Five picks after Cashman, the Vikings drafted a linebacker, Southern Caolfirnia’s Cameron Smith, but Cashman wasn’t particularly looking to stay home with the Vikings. He grew up a Packers fan with his favorite player being Brett Favre.

Former teammate De’Vondre Campbell thought Cashman’s slide had gone on too long during Friday’s third round.

“I just don’t understand how Blake Cashman’s still on the board,” said Campbell, a linebacker was drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round in 2016. “He’s easily a top 5 LB. He should be gone by now.”

Cashman is the first Minnesota player drafted since 2017, when Jalen Myrick was taken by Jacksonville in the seventh round. Cashman, who walked-on under former head coach Jerry Kill, is the first Gophers player drafted during P.J. Fleck’s tenure.

“Congrats @blockayyy!!” Fleck tweeted. “So proud of you!! J-E-T-S JETS, JETS, JETS!!”

Cashman, who ran a 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, projects to be a contributor on special teams, in addition to defensive duties. The former walk-on from Eden Prairie, led the Gophers with 104 tackles along with 15 tackles for lost yards and 2 1/2 sakes as a senior in 2018.

The Gophers have nine players drafted in the last five years: defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and safety Brock Vereen in 2014; tight end Maxx Williams, linebacker Damien Wilson, running back David Cobb and safety Cedric Thompson in 2015; safety Eric Murray and Campbell in 2016; and Myrick in 2017.