Who will be left in the draft room listening to, Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” during this years NFL Draft? The draft is an exciting time for young players; many arrive in New York, anxious to begin their NFL careers. However, for some, the excitement of the day can turn into agony, as they watch others get drafted before them and as the room empties, the lone player is left to wonder why he’s slid so far.
It happened to Warren Sapp, during the 1995 draft. Because of rumors of drug use, Saap lasted until the 12th pick in the draft, where he was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (saap) I remember watching the draft and Sapp was very outspoken about his displeasure at his draft position. He would bottle that rage and unleash it on the offenses of the NFL, fueling a hall of fame career.
In the 1998 draft, Randy Moss would sit and wait, while 20 other names were called. It would be with pick #21, that the Minnesota Vikings would select Moss. ( Moss) During his interviews after the draft, Moss would promise that teams that passed on him, would pay and they have. Like Sapp, Moss shared some of the blame for his falling draft stock, they both reportedly tested positive for drug use before the draft. (profootball)
In more recent drafts, players have fallen, not because of character issues or off field problems, but simply because of bad luck and team needs. Aaron Rodgers, selected 24th in the 2005 draft, Matt Leinhart was drafted #10 in 2006 and most recently (2007) Brady Quinn suffered in front of cameras, until he was taken away, with pick #22 by the Browns. (Draft History)
This years possible draft day free faller, is Matthew Stafford. If the Detroit Lions pass on Stafford, the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs the next two teams, will not draft him. Seattle at #4 might be an option, although they’ll give heavy consideration to the defensive side of the ball, specifically the linebacker position, now that Julian Peterson has been traded. After Seattle, the next three teams, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Oakland aren’t looking at QB’s. Stafford’s next opportunity would be with the Jacksonville Jaguars at #8, but they may prefer Sanchez over Stafford, if both are available. The Packers are set with Aaron Rodgers. San Francisco rounds out the top 10 and they could be interested in Stafford, but I’m not sure they pick a QB at #10, considering they have two young QB’s on the roster, Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. San Francisco may choose to take a closer look at their current quarterbacks and address other needs. If all the above teams pass on Stafford, he’s fallen out of the top ten.
Stafford’s problems aren’t just team needs and competing against Mark Sanchez to be the first QB taken. Teams that may need QB help, may choose to address other needs this year, realizing next year’s quarterback class will be even deeper.
I hope Matt Stafford doesn’t have to wait long to hear his name called in this years NFL Draft, but just in case, I’m going to get Tom Petty cued up.