INDIANAPOLIS – The first day of the NFL Draft has passed and now the prospects will be sweating it out over the final two days to see if their name will be called.
These are some of the most stressful moments for fringe prospects and a few of the Colts players shared their memories on what it’s like to sit and wait….and wait.
Safe to say Hasselbeck has found a firm niche in the NFL, despite not hearing his name called for a while in 1998.
“Well it was 1998 and the draft that will forever probably be remembered by the Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf and Matt Hasselbeck draft---picks 1, 2 and 187. I really wasn’t expecting to get drafted so I was playing basketball in my driveway with my friends and the phone was ringing with coaches recruiting you for after the draft. Then Andy Reid, the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, called me and said, ‘Tell me what you think about this next pick.’ And it was me, 187. I was psyched but shocked.”
LaVon Brazill took one look at his phone and knew exactly where his NFL career was going to begin.
“First it was nerve-racking seeing a bunch of guys go before you. I was just being patient, waiting for my name to get called. I was just playing it by ear and hoping for the best.”
“I (saw) that 317 number come up and I was real excited. It was a blessing and I was excited to be here.”
Ricky Jean Francois came from the defensive line pipeline of LSU but it would be a while before he heard his name called in 2009.
“Just sitting in the house, seeing my picture up on the screen, just waiting, just waiting. At one point I ended up leaving, went to the beach. I was just listening to the ocean and prayed for a few seconds. Took some time to myself. Probably from the time I got to the beach to when I walked back to the house, I just remember hearing my mom scream and I said, “What happened? You burning hot water, a hot dog, or something.’ She said, ‘No, San Francisco just drafted you.’ When I saw that I was just happy, just amazed because every kid that’s in college waits on that day.”
“It’s better than Christmas, better than the holiday that you’ve always been waiting on. As a kid, we are over there just playing ball but to hear your name and you see that card come from that guy to Goodell, to whoever it may be, that’s the best feeling, chills, tears, crying. That is probably the best feeling in the world when you hear that name and see come across the bottom of the screen.”
Saunders kept hearing the picks but his name was nowhere to be heard and, with a pending NFL lockout, it was a difficult time for the tight end.
“The last two days was pretty tough because at the bottom of the screen they’ve got the Mel Kiper “Best Available” and I was on there for two days straight. At the time I had a broken foot and the teams knew that. It kind of donned on me that I went from thinking maybe second, third round to this might not happen at all. Once that reality set in, on top of the fact that I knew there was a pending NFL lockout, it was a real bad time of uncertainty.”
The Colts had already drafted two receivers in 2012 but Whalen felt this was the best spot for him to try and make the roster as an undrafted free agent.
“I was in talks with a couple of teams. It happens pretty quick immediately after the draft. Just kind of looked at what I thought was the best situation for me, the sort of team dynamic wise, roster wise, what team I could make the roster, I made the decision then to come here and once you’re here, that kind of goes out the window. It’s everybody competing on a level playing field after that.”