The NFL Draft was held over the past weekend, and with it three Bruins saw their names called, sending them onto the next stage of their life and professional journey. Akeem Ayers and Rahim Moore were drafted in the second round, by the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos, respectively; while David Carter was an unexpected selection in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals. Thoughts and reactions on their selections after the jump.
Akeem Ayers - 2nd round (39th overall - Tennessee): The second round (and second day) of this draft was not where Akeem had expected to go, with the projected mid-first rounder having returned to Los Angeles after the opening day. Ayers was actually driving home from the airport when the Titans made his selection, making the call from Tennessee a bit of a surprise:
He said he didn't regret his decision to leave New York prematurely. He found out of his selection while he was in the car on the way home from the airport, missing it by about 10 minutes.
"I was still excited," he said. "It was probably a little better, just because it was more of a surprise. I didn't know who was picking at the time, so I'm driving home and I get a random call. It's probably an equal or greater feeling when you answer the phone and you don't know who it is."
Akeem joins fellow Bruin Alterraun Verner with the Titans, and while dissapointed not to have gone in the first round, is excited to be there:
On draft day and not being picked in the first round:
"I knew there was really nothing else I could do much more. All the work put in, all the meetings done, at that moment, it was on teams. I'd put the work in, done everything I could do up to that point."
On being drafted by Tennessee:
"I'm real excited to have the opportunity to play there. I think I fit into the scheme well. I'm happy they took me and excited, ready to get to work."
The folks over at Music City Miracles, the Titans SBN blog, are excited to have Akeem joining the team, and were quite surprised to find him available at that point of the draft. From the MCM post on Akeem:
... Jim Wyatt said that Ayers will be a jack of all trades for the Titans. He will line down and rush the passer at times, and he has the ability to cover tight ends in space. Jerry Gray said he will be a SLB unlike what the Titans have had according to Kuharsky.
Rahim Moore - 2nd round (45th overall - Denver): The Broncos got this pick from the 49ers in the deal that saw Jim Harbaugh trade up to nab Nevada QB Colin Kapernick. While the 49er fan in me wishes that Rahim would be suiting up in the red and gold this fall, the first safety taken in this year's draft should do well up in the mile high city. Rahim seems to have a solid outlook on his new team, the draft and what draft position has to do with a player's career (hint: it ain't that much):
On being a Bronco:
"This is perfect for me, learning from guys like Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, a place I can go easily in and learn and be one of the next Hall of Famers."
On where he was drafted, and why he went to the draft:
"I knew I was pretty much what range I was going to, I knew it was a possibility yesterday. I never trained to be a 1st rounder, I trained to be in NFL. I'm proud to contribute and be a part of the legacy of the Broncos."
... On being drafted in the second round:
"The thing about the rounds, if there was no one interested or money wasn't an issue, the rounds wouldn't matter. It's not about when you get drafted or where, its whats you do when you get there. The main objective is you're in the NFL. Look how many guys don't get to come to New York?"
Mile High Report echoed the effect that veterans such as Brian Dawkins could have on Rahim's development.
David Carter - 6th round (184th overall - Arizona): The surprise in Bruin terms of the weekend was David's unexpected selection by the Cardinals. None of the main draft projections had Carter being selected, but a late rise in standing among coaches and NFL personnel men thanks to a great performance in the Shrine Game, and changes in technique taught by a private coach after the end of last season. David certainly wishes that he had gotten this sort of coaching earlier in his career, but is happy to have the opportunity to play in the NFL, while realizing how quickly a career can end if one does not put in the work to continue.
Do you kind of feel like your ability was just ready to come out?
"I had the game to do it, but I learned how to use my body, use my hands. Run like I'm supposed to, rush at a certain angle. I already had the tools, the power, the speed, but I learned certain moves, new moves. I learned from a real defensive tackle how to play defensive tackle. That worked really well for me. Coach Howard was a great defensive end coach, but he never played defensive tackle. He knew how to play, but he didn't know the tricks. I needed to learn from a defensive tackle."
Is there any regret, like, if I'd only been taught this sooner?
"Yeah. I told somebody, if I had learned how to play for the East-West game before my senior year, I would've been the No. 1 pick. I would've had so many sacks. I already had the ability. I would've thrown myself on the scene. I didn't mess up, but I feel like, man...I wish I would've known. I would've been able to make so much more money, instead of hoping and waiting. But I'm glad I got drafted in sixth, I got my foot in the door. Now it's my chance. It's up to me to take it and run with it."
... Last question: You sound like a different person from when we last talked in depth last fall; do you feel different?
"You know what, I feel confidence. I feel like I'm in a good position. I'm a Cardinal. I have a lot on my shoulders, I have a lot of work to do, I know. I'm having a good time today, but tomorrow I'm in the gym. It's nowhere near over yet. I'm making more money in a year than most people make in three. But I have a lot of work to do. It's not over yet. That's how people get kicked off or traded after a year, because they feel that they're in the league, and it's all gravy. That's what got me in the draft. I work hard. I know what I have to do, and I know that I just got drafted, but it's my turn to go out and show what I can do."
Revenge of the Birds - SBN's Arizona Cardinals blog - sees David as contributing solid depth to the Cardinals line, with the
One affect of the lockout, which was reinstated during the middle of the draft weekend, is that teams are not able to sign undrafted free agents. The inability of players to get film and face time with NFL coaches is a particular hardship for these undrafted players, a cohort which includes several Bruins. Notably among these players is Kai Forbath; Forbath was not at his best in the 2010 season, but was expected to be a late round selection last weekend. I would expect Kai to begin receiving training camp invites and contract offers once the league has returned to normal operations.