With the draft fast approaching, it is hard not to think about my own draft journey a little. As I do that, I can’t help but think about how the whole process—from the Combine through the Draft – could be better than it is.
I’ve made my thoughts on it all clear in the past—I’m not a huge fan.
It all starts with the Combine. Nothing players are asked to do there is going to give teams an idea of who is going to make a better NFL player. Nothing—and we know this.
As for the draft itself—man, it’s tough. I’ll never forget my draft. I didn’t expect to go in the first round. But your family is hanging around, and they are all thinking positive. When you have so many people you love and that you know love you say great things, you can’t help but hope they are right even though you know they probably aren’t.
So, you sit through Day One. The minutes between picks feel like hours; the hours feel like days. When it’s finally over, and you were not picked, you are disappointed but relieved the day is done.
Then Day Two starts. Fewer people are hanging around. You’re a little more excited because a bunch of teams told you they’d look for you on Day Two. But then with each pick that comes off the board, your confidence gets a little shakier. You’re not as happy and excited as when the day began. You start to lose your swagger.
And then the day ends with you not getting picked. Doubt creeps in. You start to wonder if you are ever going to get picked. Will it happen? Is playing in the NFL going to be part of your future?
So, then Day Three starts. Energy, enthusiasm, swagger—gone, as are most of your guests. It starts to become a frustrating experience as you start to wondering if you’re going to have to get a job rather than play football for a living.
But then the phone rings, and there is a team on the line saying they are going to draft you. I was a little disappointed y that it took so long to get picked (fifth round). But I was just glad to be taken and determined to prove the Seahawks were smart to get me when they did.
So, to all those young guys who are going to be on pins and needles over the next few days, I say this—try not to let it get to you. Don’t listen to the analysts. Don’t worry about where you were picked or even if you were picked at all. In the end, none of it matters.
All that will matter for the first-round picks is exactly what will matter for the undrafted guys—how you play. Take advantage of the opportunities you get in practice, in the preseason, and in games. If you are a player and if you deserve it, the opportunity will come your way.
I got my opportunity and made the most of it; so can you. You just have to want it more than the next guy and put in the work.