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April 28, 2017

NFL draft story

Welcome, everybody, to the Carriker Chronicles and here’s my personal draft story. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever told this publicly before to anyone so it’s kind of the first time I’m telling this to anybody. I’m going to start a few days leading up to the draft. The days leading up to the draft, you hear all these rumors, the speculation, I had an idea I’d probably go somewhere in the first round. Would it be early, mid, late? Maybe I’d drop to the second round, you never know, but the speculation was what it was. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the coaching staff through John Gruden coached my team at the Senior Bowl and they loved me! They had the number four pick, that was going to be a bit high, Coach Mike Shanahan, they never called me, never brought me in, never talked to me, but it was interesting because my agent was like, “they’re smoke-screens, and if the Broncos don’t talk to you, that means they like you!” There are certain teams that if they don’t talk to you, they don’t like you.

It was interesting when I got to Washington D.C., the first thing Shanahan says to me was, “we tried to trade up to get you!” Obviously, I didn’t go to the Broncos. Then the Rams, when I had done my visit there, they asked me if I wanted to play nose guard. I said I didn’t really want to but if you bring me in I’ll do whatever. So at 6-6, 290 pounds, am I going to go play nose guard for the St. Louis Rams?

The Steelers had the fifteenth pick in the draft and they wanted me as a 3-4 end, the Rams wanted me as a 4-3 nose, there were teams that wanted me as a 4-3 defensive tackle, a three technique. He said had you been there at fifteen, because the Steelers had the fifteenth pick, we would have drafted you there. But when I went to visit St. Louis, I had a scout tell me you might as well just start looking at real estate around town. So are these smoke screens, are these real, where am I going? Am I going to the Northwest, am I going to San Francisco? They liked me at the time and ended up taking Patrick Willis. Am I going to the East, the South, the North, the Midwest, what position am I going to play? I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve!

The night before the draft, I’m up with my parents. I didn’t really want to go to New York, I wanted to spend it with the people who helped me get me to the NFL. My dream growing up was not to play in the NFL or be in the WWE, it was to play at Nebraska. Anybody that knows me knows that. But getting to play in the NFL is a pretty freaking cool thing! It felt like Christmas Eve! The night before the draft, I’m up at my parents’ house. It’s like there’s a big present coming, you don’t know what it is, you don’t know where you’re going to go, you don’t know what’s going to happen, but Santa Claus is coming!! Where am I going to go?!

I remember waking up the next morning, and you get ready for big games and get ready for games that are going to be physical. You get ready for games that have a lot of meaning and you start to get butterflies. I never played in a game where I had more butterflies than I did the morning of the draft. I had just gotten married, we were going to start a family at some point. What position am I playing? Where am I going to be living? What time zone am I going to be living in?

So, finally the draft comes, we’re watching it, we’ve got people gathered at my folk’s house and I get the call. The Rams are on the clock, I get the call and it’s the head coach, then the general manager, then the owner. Then they’re saying, “by the way, you’ve got a flight in about two hours to St. Louis, we’ll see you in about four hours.” So four hours later from the time I got that call, I never got to really celebrate with my folks, my one kind of regret from that day.

Four hours later I was in St. Louis. I was dressed to the nine’s in a three-piece suit. Anyone who knows me knows I’m old school, blue collar, smash-mouth, in your face, I looked dapper if I must say so myself. But it’s just not really me. I’m in front of the media, which this might shock you, but I didn’t like being in front of the media at the time! They’re asking me about my fight with Richie Incognito in college because Richie’s there with the Rams.

Now, if you want to learn how things turned out for me once I was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, I don’t want to brag, but I am pretty proud of some of the things that I accomplished there. After my rookie season I earned the Rookie of the Year Award for the team, and also during my four years with the Rams, I earned the Ed Block Courage Award while I was there. That was voted on by my peers, so I’m pretty proud of those things. I had four good years with St. Louis, playing nose guard, playing just about a little bit of everything really, but mostly nose guard. Then I had four good years after that with the Washington Redskins, so I certainly can’t complain! It was a whirlwind, it was awesome, and I wish these guys the best of luck this weekend.

So, until Monday, Husker Nation, Go Big Red and always remember to THROW THE BONES!