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Anthony Adams' 7 Stages of the NFL Draft

Editor's note: As with many NFL players, being drafted means dealing with a boatload of emotions. Former Bears defensive lineman Anthony Adams, who was taken out of Penn State by San Francisco in the second round in 2003, guides us through the ups and downs of his selection process.

 

Draft day in 2003 was an awesome yet agonizing experience for me. On one hand, it is awesome that your life will be completely changed forever. On the other hand, it is agonizing because you don't know what team will draft you, what round you are going in, or if you are even going to get drafted at all! But what often gets overlooked is the road to the draft. My road took a lot of unexpected turns.

Stage 1: Get noticed. And hire an agent.

After the season, I didn't know what round I was predicted to go. But I did a great job in selecting one of the top agents in Joel Segal. He told me it could be anywhere from the first round through the fourth. After a strong Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala., I helped my chances and seemed to be on everybody's radar.

Stage 2: "Hi, I'm Anthony"

Then there was the combine. There were six teams that wanted to meet with me. For the remaining teams, I basically just introduced myself and created my own meetings. There were a lot of teams that told me that they would draft me in a heartbeat. All I knew was that it would be a blessing to hear my name get called. I knew some of my friends who had great agents and had awesome bowl game performances who didn't get drafted. I knew the same thing could happen to me.

Stage 3: Must … run … faster

After the combine, it was time for pro day. I managed to improve my bench press and ran a better 40-yard dash time. All 32 teams were represented and even some head coaches and general managers were there. I also joked with coach Bill Cowher about him drafting me in the first round to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Stage 4: Loneliness

After pro day, it was time for team visits and individual workouts. All my friends were going on visits and individual workouts and I didn't get a call for either. But then the 49ers called and said they wanted to fly in to Penn State and take [eventual Bear] Michael Haynes and myself through a workout. The field was terrible because it rained the night before, but I think we did well. After the workout and thorough conversations with the coach, I did not think the 49ers would take a chance on me.

Stage 5: Pick me! Pick me! Aw man …

Finally, it is draft day! I'm excited. I'm anxious. I'm uneasy. I've done everything I could possibly do to ensure that I get drafted. I was at Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr.'s house. I had most of my family and friends there, and they were just as excited as I was. It seemed like the day was moving so slow, but it started to speed up when I got all types of prank phone calls from my friends pretending to be head coaches.

Then it was time for the draft. A lot had me ranked as the No. 6 defensive tackle in the draft. The fifth DT was taken at pick 25! I started to see my name on the screen for best available players. I'm thinking to myself, "I could possibly be taken in the first round!" I'm going crazy because the teams remaining are the ones that said they would draft me in a heartbeat.

Two picks after that, my college teammate Larry Johnson Jr. got drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs. We all shouted and celebrated with him. As I sat on the couch, it seemed like with every pick that went by I slowly started to slide off.

The first round came and went. By the second round, I was completely laid out on the floor. The crowd that was there with Larry had left and people were coming in saying, "Anthony still didn't get drafted yet?"

Stage 6: WOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!

Then the weirdest thing happened. As the draft went to commercial, my phone rang.

San Francisco drafted me with the 57th pick during a commercial break. Once I got the call, I had to make sure it was not any of my friends pranking me again. I was assured that it wasn't and they tried to call me earlier, but their calls were not getting through. There was an uproar in the house after they saw what was the biggest smile on my face as I sat on the floor.

Stage 7: Panic

Upon talking to 49ers coach Dennis Erickson and GM Terry Donahue, they said they wanted to fly me out the next day for a press conference. Once I found this out, the second-weirdest thing happened. I did not have a suit.

I had to borrow a suit jacket (which I still have, lol) from Coach Johnson and put together a suit to conduct this press conference. I was extremely prepared for the draft, but this was something I was not prepared for. The road to the draft often gets overlooked and there are a lot of unexpected turns. I just did not know a suit would be one of them.

Former Bears defensive lineman Anthony Adams is a Redeye special contributor. @spiceadams


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