INDIANAPOLIS – One team is all it takes to change the lives of hundreds of NFL prospects over the next three days.
Today, Colts.com looks back on some draft stories from current players that were chosen in the first three rounds of their respective drafts.
Unlike the top pick of this year’s draft, it was all but a foregone conclusion that Luck was going to be the first draftee to shake Roger Goodell’s hand on that Thursday night.
“I remember it was a bit of a whirlwind. I can tell you I’m glad the draft wasn’t pushed back two weeks when I was coming out because once it’s over, it is sort of a big sigh of relief. I was fortunate in my position to have an inkling of what was going to happen.”
The trip to the New York and the Radio City Music Hall will forever hold a special place with Richardson.
“Just for my whole family to see New York, we had people that had never been out of the South, never been out of Pensacola, Fla. For my girls to be there, it was just too much excitement down to doing all this training, all this hard work, to get to the NFL.”
“To have that experience of walking down the red carpet, to ring that (New York Stock Exchange) bell, all that type of stuff, it was big to me and that’s a moment no one can take away.”
“It was a dream come true. To have and share that moment with my family and to have all that support with me, and the same support that I have always had, and still have, it was big. They pushed me. They made sure I was writing down my goals and they looked at it every day. They still do it. That’s one thing about my family is that I love that experience I had with them and I still live on some of those moments.”
As the first round reached the second half back in 2011, Castonzo became a bit antsy.
“My agent had told me I was going to go anywhere between nine and 22 and I ended up getting drafted 22. Because of that reason it was a little bit stressful but it was mainly just a lot of fun.”
“I made the mistake of drinking a two-liter of Dr. Pepper that night so I was sitting in the chair just shaking, “Where am I going to get drafted?”
At the age of 19, Davis was one of the youngest first-round picks in NFL history.
“It’s a life-changing experience. You go from college and now you are heading to the professional league and your whole life has changed.
“You’ve got to get ready for the change of lifestyle. Now you are getting compensated, needing to make the right decisions, there’s a lot going into it.”
D’Qwell Jackson, 2006 Round 2, Pick 34, Cleveland Browns
Jackson was looking for a calm draft day but he should have known better.
“The draft was on a Saturday so Friday I had my uncle get on the grill. I’m from Florida so we love to grill. All my family and friends that wanted to come over and say their congratulations, get that out of the way, so Saturday I could have a small group of people so if something happened and I broke down, I could be okay with that in front of that group of people. It ended up not working out not that way. The same people that showed up the day before showed up the next day. I was glad I got through it and here we are nine years later and by the grace of God, I can still play this game.”
“(The draft) was probably the hardest part of the process, more than anything. The meetings, the combine, the pro day, that was actually easy because that was all football stuff. The hardest part was sitting back and waiting and not knowing what team was going to pick you, if you were going to be chosen at all. I think that was the hardest part of the process.”
Allen was certainly surprised to still be on the board at the top of the third round, let alone when the Colts chose him.
“It’s go time. I knew it was a long shot even though I had a first round grade. At the start of the second, I thought I could come off the board at any pick. I didn’t come off the board at any of those picks. It was a frustrating thing then but things work out for the best.”
Thornton heard a familiar voice on the other line when his college offensive line coach (and current Colts offensive line coach) Joe Gilbert broke the news to him.
“I was at MickeyRays BBQ in Boise, Idaho with family and friends. Didn’t know where I was going to go, if I was going to get picked at all.”
“To be honest, I just kept looking at the names. Everybody is kind of having fun and cheering and celebrating and just reflecting and I had my eyes glued to the screen the whole time. The round flew by and I got the call from coach (Chuck) Pagano and coach Gilbert. It was just overwhelming and an exciting experience.”
It looked like the Friday night in 2012 was ending without another Colts pick but then Ryan Grigson executed his first draft trade as an NFL general manager.
“I don’t know what it is but people just couldn’t eat. I was just sitting there waiting for the phone call of who was going to draft me. Once my phone lit up, I saw the 317 number, picked it up and it was the Colts. Ever since then, they gave me an opportunity, a chance to shine. I knew I was going to fall in the draft (torn quad) so I was just waiting for that team to take that chance on me and once I got that call I said, ‘Every team after that, I was going to try my best to try and make a play someway, somehow.’ The Colts took that chance and look where we’re at now."