For some draft days are full of disappointment. There’s a time when the final pick is called and your name was never heard. In some ways, that’s actually not so bad.
There’s plenty of people who would argue being selected in a lower NFL Draft round is worse than being undrafted at all. Being undrafted at least allows you to be more in control of your destiny whereas being drafted in the late rounds means your rights belong to a certain team and it still doesn’t guarantee you anything.
In the moment, though, there’s still that feeling of disappointment and self-pity. There’s a feeling of, “Why wasn’t I good enough?”
But for so many on draft day, there’s a euphoric ending — an ending that signifies all your hard work really did come true, all your dreams are about to come true.
If you didn’t see the story about Jordan Bone during the NBA Draft on Thursday night, prepare to be teary-eyed.
The former Tennessee basketball player was hosting a draft party with friends and family waiting to see if he’d get the disappointing feeling or the euphoric ending. As the night started to wind down and the final picks were being called, Bone started to give the equivalent of a concession speech on Election Night.
On video, Bone started to thank his supporters and tell them what their backing meant to him. But all of sudden, there were murmurs from the crowd and people started jumping around. With the 57th pick of the draft, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Bone.
Although the Pelicans are expected to trade his rights to the Detroit Pistons and Bone’s journey to the NBA certainly doesn’t end here, it was a night of well-deserved celebration and it was amazing to see Bone going from such a low to such a high.
That’s one thing most non-sports fans don’t necessarily understand about the drafts. The NBA Draft and NFL Draft are probably the ones that produce the most players who actually see time on the court and the field the next season. But being drafted doesn’t guarantee you anything — except maybe money. Especially in the MLB and NHL, unless you’re drafted basically within the top three — and maybe a little later on rare occasions — it could be years before you see the diamond or the rink with a major-league team.
But there is, of course, that feeling of it being the first step. And there are plenty of success stories from late-round draft picks making it bigger than the guy selected No. 1. Look no further than Tom Brady, who was the 199th draft pick and may have been feeling a bit like Bone back in 2000. He’s gone on to be arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
On the flip side, there are also countless tales of the No. 1 draft pick being the No. 1 bust.
Look at JaMarcus Russell, who was selected first overall by the Oakland Raiders after a fantastic career at LSU. Russell went on to finish his three-year stint in the NFL with a 7-18 record that featured 18 touchdowns and 38 turnovers. Talk about a bust.
So, the moral of the story is nothing on draft day is a guarantee. There’s so much talk leading up to the drafts — heck, I’m sure there are people out there already making predictions about next year’s NBA Draft. But all that talk may mean nothing in the end.
Draft days leave some athletes starry-eyed and full of excitement while they leave others with a sense of hopelessness. But in most cases, draft day is just the beginning.