The personal stories of the 2017 NFL Draft. : ThyBlackMan

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The personal stories of the 2017 NFL Draft.

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( The 2017 NFL Draft has officially concluded. The lives of the 253 young men who were selected during last weekend’s draft have changed forever as they are now professional football players after being collegiate athletes. While many of the former college football players who were selected during the 2017 NFL Draft come from various backgrounds and experiences, some enter the NFL with baggage like Joe Mixon and Gareon Conley. There are always questionable athletes that enter the NFL every year from a character standpoint but this year there were terrific personal narratives surrounding some of the young men selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Former LSU safety Jamal Adams was considered one of the best prospects in the entire 2017 NFL Draft. Prior to the draft, he hoped to join his father, George Adams, as a first round pick. George Adams was a first round pick of the New York Giants in the 1985 NFL Draft. Jamal Adams ended up being taken with the sixth pick of the 2017 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Not only did Jamal get taken higher in his respective NFL Draft than his father did, he also will play in the same city as his dad did, albeit for a different team. Years ago, they also had a wager on who would be drafted higher in the NFL Draft. A son is following his father footsteps into the NFL.

One of the more memorable moments during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft was the selection of former UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley to the Atlanta Falcons. The emotion was very apparent from McKinley from the moment his name was called. When he went to the stage to shake NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand, he held a large photograph of Myrtle Collins, McKinley’s grandmother.

After taking pictures on stage of his big moment of being drafted into the NFL, Takkarist McKinley was interviewed on-camera and expressed his emotion about his journey, being raised by his grandmother, and accidently let a colorful word slip during his response. His raw emotion reminds of how many difficult life challenges so many young people have to deal with even before they “make it”.

Former Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner was known throughout his college football career as being a big, tough runner. As a sophomore, he ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns. However the following football season, he faced his biggest challenge off of the field when he discovered he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Conner returned to the football field the following season after overcoming his diagnosis and won the Disney Spirit Award and the ACC Brian Piccolo Award because of his return to the field. He was drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers so he will be able to play as a professional in the exact same stadium, Heinz Field, he played in while in college. There were terrific stories about the young men drafted into the 2017 NFL Draft that highlight their various backgrounds and experiences.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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