As Brady Quinn sat in the Green Room, the rest of the nation watching ESPN’s saturated 2007 NFL Draft coverage winced in pain. There was the handsome, athletic, charming, young Notre Dame quarterback twisting in the wind. His draft day didn’t go as planned.
As Brady Quinn sat in the Green Room, the rest of the nation watching ESPN’s saturated NFL Draft coverage winced in pain. There was the handsome, athletic, charming, young Notre Dame quarterback twisting in the wind. His draft day didn’t go as planned.
The Browns rescued Quinn. Everyone knows that story now. It was, at best, an uncomfortable introduction to the NFL for Quinn.
Any one of four Stark County, Ohio, players hoping to get picked this weekend would love to trade places with Quinn. He had to wait a few hours. They’re going to have to wait all day, most likely two days and, for some, for a phone call that comes after the draft ends.
Michigan’s Shawn Crable and Ohio State’s Kirk Barton are likely draft picks, but nothing is a given. Akron’s Reggie Corner and Youngstown State’s Dorian Chenault are possible late-round picks.
All four know what they’re looking for when their cell phones ring and the caller ID number pops up.
“You get random 902 area codes and 212 in the phone now,” Barton said. “People have been calling the past week. Any time I get one of those area codes, I answer the phone, even if I’m in the middle of a workout.”
How will they know when the NFL is calling?
“It’s either the area code you’re not used to seeing, or it comes up restricted and you know you better answer it,” Barton said.
When Corner wakes up Sunday morning, he won’t change a thing about his daily routine. He’ll be a million miles away from the NFL Draft but only a few miles from his family’s Stark County home.
Corner will work out. Then he’ll do what he promises not to do too much.
Check his cell phone.
None of these guys are in the position to sit in a room with Bill Parcells and try to squeeze out an extra bagful of money. There is a very good chance Saturday’s first two rounds will come and go with all four still on the board.
Then they’ll try to go to sleep, only to wake up Sunday and wait again. That’s one of the reasons why Barton is coming to town with as many Xbox games as he can find. It’s why Corner will be surrounded by family, most of whom won’t want to talk about football.
“I’m not having a party. I’m not going to do anything like that,” Corner said. “The draft is so unpredictable.”
Corner said he’s fielded calls from a dozen teams in the last week. Mostly, they’re checking in, seeing how he’s doing and making sure they have the right phone numbers.
“It’s been very nerve-wracking,” he said. “At the same time, I’ve got to take my mind to another place, but it’s always in the back of your head.”
Corner is honest with himself. He’s talked to Mike Doss, a former second-round pick. He’s talked with Tyler Everett, an undrafted free agent. He’s picked brains.
And yet he knows the only way to prepare for a weekend like this is not to.
“You always prepare for the worst. Every athlete knows the worst is a possibility,” Corner said. “The worst-case scenario is if I didn’t get drafted. Every team I’ve talked to said they’d be surprised if I didn’t get drafted. But I’m preparing. ... And if it happens, it happens. I’m not going to beat myself up.”
The draft isn’t a science. Guys slide down. Guys slide up. Days are made and ruined.
“It always amazes me the different evaluations you get on a number of players from loving them or not liking them — from being a first round pick to free agent,” ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski said. “That’s how much the opinions vary on players. I think that is why it’s so exciting on Saturday and Sunday, because although we think we have a pretty good idea of where people are going to be slotted and they’re going to go, there’s always an incredible surprise.”
This year, Quinn will be at Cleveland Browns Stadium. As part of a Donatos Pizza promotion, one fan won a draft party with Quinn. The quarterback will deliver pizzas and hang out. That’s a helluva lot better than ESPN cameras watching you hide the pain on your face.
The closest the Stark County prospects will get to Quinn’s experience is maybe they’ll order Donatos today.
“I’m a sound sleeper,” Barton said. “I don’t go to bed until midnight, but Saturday will be a different deal. It’s hard. You’re just hoping you get that phone call.”
Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Porter’s blog at www.cantonrep.com/cornerseat.