DEREK J. AMAYA
To me, it truly is bigger than the Super Bowl.
It is the last weekend of April, my parents are jamming out at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and all of my essentials are spread across the dining room table in front of the television.
Since I was 9-years-old, I have religiously watched the NFL Draft and analyzed every player before and after they were picked.
Where most people can barely make it past their favorite teams’ picks, I easily watched the first and second rounds all the way through and did not think my day was wasted.
I could almost say it is the reason I became a sports journalist because I always dreamed of being the next Mel Kiper Jr.
Ask any of my friends from back home and they will tell you not to disturb me between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. the final weekend of April because I wasn’t available to do anything.
My parents always made fun of me because they would leave for the festival with me watching the draft just to come home and find me still watching the draft.
This year’s draft, however, is going to be a bit more exciting than usual.
Not only are the punishments of my favorite pro team, the New Orleans Saints, vacated, but also several players from my favorite college team (Do I really need to state what team that is?) project to be picked in one of the seven rounds.
Before I became a Bulldog fan, there still were not many players who were picked in the NFL Draft who actually became superstars.
The last Bulldog picked was tight end Dennis Morris barely picked in the 2010 draft.
He is currently an unrestricted free agent.
This year, though, will change all of this. Wide receiver Quinton Patton, offensive tackle Jordan Mills, offensive tackle Oscar Johnson and punter Ryan Allen will start a new chapter in their lives and represent their school proudly.
Many analysts underestimate our beloved ’Dogs, but history proves the underdogs tend to play better than their first-round counterparts.
Patton leads the group and projects to be picked up in the second to third rounds, but Mills has made late push heading into Thursday and could possibly be picked up in the third round by his favorite team, the Saints.
Other players, such as Ryan Allen and Colby Cameron could be late-round hidden gems.
It only makes it that much sweeter when people doubt your ability and then you become a superstar.
When I spread out my draft books and hang up my chalkboard, it will feel a lot different this year.
I can now officially say I was able to meet and speak with future stars of the best sports league in the world.
Hopefully one of these days I will be an analyst for some company and I can evaluate future Bulldog players, but until then, I am going to soak up the fact this year’s draft is going to be a special one.
This draft could prove the underdogs can produce some high-quality football players, and we will continue to produce for a long time.
It is only a matter of time before several of our players are picked up in the first round.
Derek J. Amaya is a junior journalism and marketing major from Metairie. Email comments to dja...@latech.edu.