- Plus, Washington safety Taylor Rapp looking to make an impact beyond his play, a sleeper tight end getting first-round buzz, and a surprise pick coming from Oakland?
A year ago, Phillip Lindsay sat and waited for his phone to ring. He watched running back after running back get picked in the NFL draft. As the rounds passed by, the only person calling was his agent, Mike McCartney, working ahead in setting up free-agent deals for him. McCartney says he’s never had a player who wanted to get drafted as badly at Lindsay did. He was obsessed.
Area scouts liked Lindsay but decision-makers weren’t keen on drafting a 5' 8", 190-pound running back, even if he was coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Colorado. It hurt when his hometown team, the Broncos, took their second running back of the draft in Round 7 and it wasn't him. After the draft was officially over, he swallowed his pride and signed with Denver as an undrafted free agent.
We all know what happened next. Lindsay made the team, earned a starting role, posted 1,037 rushing yards and nine touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl. Lindsay is the most recent reminder that there is value beyond the seven rounds of the draft.
NEWS & NOTES
• Washington safety Taylor Rapp will be just the second Chinese-American to play in the modern NFL. Rapp's mother is Chinese and his father is Canadian, and he says he wants to be a role model for young Asian-American football players, because when he was growing up no one in the NFL looked like him. Rapp's maternal grandparents moved with his mother to Canada and then to Washington state after she married Rapp's father, and Rapp's maternal grandparents have helped him stay close to his Chinese heritage. His grandfather painted the designs for many of Rapp's tattoos, which feature the Chinese characters for Confucius's five virtues.
• I’m hearing that several teams, including New England, are high on San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring and he could be pushed into the first round. Warring has only been playing football for five years so he is still raw, but he has the size (6' 5", 252 lbs.) and the speed to develop into a two-way tight end.
• What’s happening right now in the draft process? According to Phil Savage, former NFL general manager, many teams will present ownership with their final game plan for the draft. Ownership will then have a night to sleep on it and voice any concerns before the draft begins.
• NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport reported another reason for why Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden cleared the scouts from the building this past weekend: Oakland may make a surprise selection at No. 4. (Offensive lineman? Quarterback?)
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Yours truly with a behind-the-scenes look at the pre-draft process featuring this draft's biggest sleeper... Jenny Vrentas on the draft information trade, a black market for information about prospects and team moves ... Another mock draft, this one ranked by prospects' YouTube highlights.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Albert Breer on why we shouldn't be surprised if the Lions draft a quarterback ... Breer's Monday morning mock draft ... Everything you need to know about the NFL draft's top storylines.
1. The Wall Street Journal found the most frugal player in the NFL Draft: Christian Wilkins, who saved up more than $15,000.
2. A Bucs fan with Hodgkins Lymphoma will announce the team’s first-round pick. His wish was granted through the Make-A-Wish foundation.
3. 49ers GM John Lynch says he’s had nightmares about his team chasing Kyler Murray. If the Cardinals draft Murray, Lynch’s 49ers will face him twice each season.
4. Our Andy Benoit makes a great point: Most NFL people believe Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen would be the first or second quarterback in this draft class, so any team considering trading up for Dwayne Haskins or Daniel Jones should call Arizona first.
5. Rashan Gary has a shoulder issue, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The injury in question is a labral tear from college, and most teams believe he could play this season and have surgery afterward.
Just a reminder that whatever happens Thursday is going to be fun. No one knows anything!
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