Nobody’s crying for guys taken in the NFL Draft.
They’re on their way to making millions for playing a game they’ve always played, always wanted to play. And that’s the good part.
But there is another side to the deal: Having no clue where their next stop is, which team they’ll play for, which city they’ll live in and be connected to, who their bosses will be, how competent those bosses and that organization are, how crowded the position they play is, what their specific opportunity is, who their teammates are, what that team’s success — and hence their own — will be.
Think about that for a minute and compare it to an average college graduate, or more appropriately, compare it to a stellar college grad finishing in the top 1 percent of his or her class. It doesn’t compare.
Think about yourself being subjected to that lack of freedom.
In the real world, even an average shlub can pick for himself and herself the company for which they work, the city or part of the country where they live. They can judge for themselves the caliber of that company, what its outlook is and what their opportunities there might be. They can project what their bosses might be like. They can measure all of that before they make a choice, with the emphasis on … they.
All of that — and more — is true for the top 1 percent.
That’s what these draftees are — the pinnacle of all candidates entering their profession.
Having talked through the years to hundreds of college players before the draft, from assured and entitled first-rounders all they way down to a couple of Mr. Irrelevants, the run-up to the exercise makes nearly all of them just a little insane.
I talked at length with Trevor Reilly on Wednesday, and Kyle Van Noy on Friday, and both were nervous. Even more than nervous, though, they were spent. They were anxious, in the literal sense of that word.
Each had jumped through the established hoops. Each had trained hard. Each was a conscientious worker. Each had put his talents on display for specific teams. Each said he had done everything he could to make a favorable impression on all teams. Each was supremely confident he could make a favorable impact on most teams. Both had talked to certain clubs, but neither had any clue which one was going to draft him. Both were wandering in the dark. Even though both had enjoyed parts of the journey, each seemed to wish the draft had happened yesterday, had happened 50 yesterdays ago. Neither was excessively complaining. Each was simply ready.
"I just want it to get done," Reilly said.
"It’s been a long process," said Van Noy.
The mystery of the whole thing was at the core of their anxiety.
They’ll take what they get — and apparently like it.
There’s no other way, no other choice. If they want to play pro football, there’s no choice at all.
That’s true for Van Noy, who is projected to go anywhere from the first to the third round, and Reilly, who is expected to land at some point between the second and the fifth. And it’s true for Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel.
The only player who successfully manipulated the system from jump was John Elway back in 1983, when he made it known he didn’t want to play for Baltimore, the team with the draft’s first pick.
Elway also was a promising baseball prospect who previously had been drafted by the Yankees. He threatened to play baseball if the Colts selected him. Even that threat didn’t stop Baltimore from taking Elway No. 1. But the threat worked, in effect, as Elway concocted an infamous story about wanting to play on the West Coast — supposedly to appease those who would be ticked if the Colts didn’t draft him or if they traded him. The Colts went ahead and traded the quarterback to the Broncos, which is 1,017 driving miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Elway’s was an exceptional case.
Few others could have manipulated such a deal.Next Page >
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