The draft is something that every NFL player remembers, whether they were drafted or not. As many have found, turning pro isn’t a right. It’s a privilege.
I caught up with Denver Broncos guard Zane Beadles, quarterback Brock Osweiler, and former long snapper Lonnie Paxton on draft night for one-on-one interviews to discuss what their draft experiences were like (I interviewed Beadles and Paxton at a bowling/draft watching party for their respective charities, The Zane Beadles Foundation and Active Force Foundation).
Beadles was taken in the second round (13th pick) of the 2010 draft out of Utah. He was watching the draft with family and friends before Josh McDaniels called him.
“I had a group of people, family and friends, watch the first ten picks of the second round,” Beadles said. “I was driving myself crazy, and decided to go get some food like any offensive lineman would, and got the call three picks later. It was a great experience. I was literally shaking on the phone as I got the call. It was definitely nerve racking.”
Osweiler was also taken in the second round. The Broncos selected him out of Arizona State as the 25th pick in the second round. Osweiler said that on Thursday night, he wasn’t too nervous because he wasn’t really expected to go in the first round. When day two rolled around, Osweiler was ready to put an NFL cap on.
“Friday, I woke up and had breakfast with all my best friends,” Osweiler said. “I came back and just kind of spent the day with my family at our house. As the pick got closer and closer to Denver, I started to get a little bit more nervous because I really wanted to end up in Denver. I didn’t want them to pass on me. Sure enough, I was holding my cell phone in my hand. It started vibrating. I looked down and it was a 303 number. The rest is history.”
Beadles and Osweiler were drafted early, but the most successful of the three men that I talked to Thursday night went undrafted. Paxton played nine seasons for the New England Patriots and won three Super Bowl rings with them. He famously snapped the ball to Adam Vinatieri for the game winning 48-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI. Then Paxton went on to play three seasons for the Broncos.