3 Days, 7 rounds & 254 picks. If you’re a college football player, it’s the most exciting and most excruciating 3 days of your life. As a fan, it’s another exciting way that the NFL incorporates itself into your life. Fans get to root for who they want, cheer their team when they pick someone they like and boo them when they pick someone they don’t.
This year, being a Bengals fan, I am happy to say MY team did well. The Bengals took a great wide receiver in the 1st round with A.J. Green from Georgia and then turned around and got themselves a quality Carson Palmer replacement in Andy Dalton from TCU. With the Bengals having a new offensive coordinator (FINALLY!), hopefully both will fit into a good offensive attack that will get our team back on track.
On the OTHER side of the coin, as I sit in the NFL Network television trucks watching the names fly by, one of our many cameras are trained on a player that won a national championship last year at Alabama and his name has yet to be picked. Greg McElroy guided the Crimson Tide to the title game in 2010, playing with 2 cracked ribs and managing to lead the team to a victory over Texas. This past fall his team was 10-3 and won the Capitol One Bowl by hammering Michigan State 49-7. He is teammates with 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram and probably didn’t get the recognition he could have gotten while the running game took precedence. We’re at the 204th pick in the 7th round and his name has yet to be called.
As I watch him in his home with his family and friends surrounding him, he’s shifting on his couch, anxiously waiting for a phone call, hoping that he hasn’t been forgotten. It’s got to be awful waiting and I feel for him as I watch. His dad & mom are in the room with him and I can’t imagine what they must be thinking. Their son has done everything right. He won championships in high school for Carroll Senior High School. He won a national championship in college. And yet, there he sits, sweating it out, not knowing what his future will be. With an average playing time of 3.5 years, not everyone is cut out to play in the pros and not everyone gets their shot. Cam Newton was this year’s #1 pick. He’ll make a ton of money but he also has a franchise on his shoulders now. I have no idea if McElroy would be able to carry a team but I have to believe he’s a competitor and would love the chance.
If that chance doesn’t happen, I hope he goes on to have a great life. And if anything, he’ll always have that Bama national championship ring. And that is something millions of kids would LOVE to have.
But wait! At 5:23pm on Saturday there’s a call…and lots of cheering…and high fives…and in the Jets War Room the QB coach is on the line. Greg McElroy is going to play with the New York Jets. He is the NFL’s 208th pick in this year’s Draft. His dream is still alive and well. I’ll be curious to see if he gets his shot to lead the Jets in the future. Considering they have 2 qualified quarterbacks ahead of him, he will have plenty to learn and he’ll be playing in a city that is merciless if you fail to deliver. Good luck McElroy! I’m rooting for ya! Unless you’re facing the Bengals, of course. Then I hope you fall flat on your face. Welcome to the NFL! It’s rough out here…