The Hopes and Dreams of Draft Day

Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:00pm
By the National Football Post

If you pay close attention to the body language, clothes and even pricey accessories of future NFL stars on draft day, you may get a glimpse of their future.

To this day, I still think Tackle Joe Thomas of the Browns handled draft day the best. He went fishing with his dad and told the sports media world to “beat it”. While others gobbled up the spot light for all to see, Joe chose to do what relaxes him most. Fish! Well, he also knew the cameras and crowds and well wishes couldn’t get to him either.

There is a lot of hidden stress and tension traveling the intestines of some seven hundred former college players who hope and think they will be drafted next week. Their life-long dream comes to down to their name being called at the podium, that is the NFL draft.

Drew Bledsoe dressed like he did on any other day for his draft.

Even though there are only 32 first round slots, there are about 150 guys who seriously think they may have a shot of being drafted in the first round. That’s right, ego, the media and even their agents will help convince a draftee that his name will definitely be called next Thursday in the first round. On the flip side, those who are better grounded are worried they might not be drafted at all. That’s right, if you spoke to projected first rounders’ like G David DeCastro and Tackle Riley Reiff, you would think these guys are preparing to be undrafted free agents. They could care less about mock drafts or going to New York or having some big draft party. While some players like the drama and excitement of the draft others can’t stand it.

I prepare all my clients for the worst case scenario and tell them when I sign them to never ask me or talk to me about their projected draft slot until the week prior to the draft. I don’t ever want my clients or their families to have false hopes so I play it very conservatively when laying out potential scenarios. I also try to coach up players and families so the draft is a very positive experience. For many, not being picked when expected turns into the worst day of their life.

There will be 26, the most ever, players attending the NFL draft in New York next week. Each one is assuming there name will definitely be called in the first round or they wouldn’t have gone. Unfortunately, there will be at least one or more whose name may not be called. And that player will have to put up with being this year’s “that guy”, who the camera and ESPN/NFL Network will keep referencing to as “passed up again”. While the NFL Network and its staff is usually more sensitive to the torturous pain of that player’s disappointment, ESPN seems to play it up as an opportunistic storyline. I actually think that they want and hope that there is always “that guy” there looking disgusted, dejected and on the verge of tears. So draftees beware, if you do go to New York please know you can be the guy the camera is looking for the most when the draft is not going as you hoped.


Forecasting the future

If I were to predict which players will be broke in ten or twenty years from now, I would take a good look at the jewelry they are sporting. Two plus carat double diamond earrings, diamond encrusted watches, followed by the family who is also covered with ice (aka diamonds), are all signs that they are already spending hundreds of thousands of their yet to be earned money. The standard watch, earrings and cross can easily cost over $250,000. Yep, these are the future Warren Sapps of the 2012 draft.

A more conservative #1 pick Drew Bledsoe wore jeans and long sleeve polo.

First impressions

The walk across stage, the picture with the commissioner will forever be the frozen first impression a draftee will make on his new fan base and city. For me the one that stood out last year was Von Miller, who wore a conservative grey suit, old school glasses and wasn’t afraid to show his emotions. There was no posing or no strategic public relations hidden agenda. What you saw is what you got, a stand up no non-sense guy.

Do you think JaMarcus Russell still owns his bling?

For friends and family of draftees, here’s a few ways you can help make their draft day a more positive experience.

1) Do not call them until after they are drafted. They are getting last minute calls from NFL teams so any additional calls and the pressure to return them can add to the stress. And please do not call them on draft day! On the biggest day of their life they don’t need any false alarms.

2) Don’t ask them when they think they will be drafted or to which team. They don’t know. You are better off telling them some jokes or shooting hoops in the back yard and talking about what’s on the BBQ.

3) If you were not invited to their home on draft day don’t go. Many draftees and their family try to have small intimate gatherings with some drinks and food. However, every neighbor feels compelled to stop by and wish the player good luck. The problem is that they never leave because they want to be there when his name is called. I’ve been to clients’ houses where the whole neighborhood, and I mean the entire neighborhood is in the living room, front yard and kitchen. The worst part is that when each round passes by the tension and quiet builds in the room and the player will retreat to his room by himself to avoid the negative energy.

Best of luck to my clients and the entire 2012 draft class. Don’t let the draft define who you are, have fun and make it a positive experience regardless of what happens.

Follow me on Twitter: @JackBechta

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