Months of training and speculation for the NFL draft finally end this week for two college football players who grew up in Atlantic County.
All they have left to do is wait a few more days.
Galloway Township's Myron Rolle and Atlantic City's Jack Corcoran both will watch the draft on television with their families as they wait to hear their names, but nothing is guaranteed.
"I'm anxious," Corcoran said Monday. "It's going to be a long week from a waiting standpoint. I wish I could hit a fast-forward button so I could see where I'm going."
Rolle, 23, a safety from Florida State who graduated from The Hun School in Princeton, is in a unique situation because he knows his name will be called. He just has no idea when.
The draft's first round is today, with the second and third rounds on Friday and the final three rounds Saturday. Rolle likely will be drafted anytime after the second round, but he could drop down to the sixth. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay predicts Rolle will go in the fifth round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The wait has seemed long, but Rolle kept himself busy this week. He was in New York meeting with NFL, NFLPA executives and marketing directors.
Even though Rolle received some criticism inside the football world for taking 2009 off to study at Oxford University in England on a Rhodes Scholarship, advertisers seemingly love his image as a smart football player who has aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon.
"I met a lot of new people (this week)," Rolle said from New York on Wednesday. "New people that may play a role in my life. (Marketers and advertisers) were looking for good, strong individuals, and that's what I've been trying to do through my life of 23 years."
Rolle returned to Florida this morning to watch the first three rounds of the draft. He'll arrive in New Jersey on Saturday to spend time with family and friends he grew up with in Galloway. His goal is to enjoy the experience but also temper his family's emotions. They have been waiting just as long as he has. Rolle did all the work, but the tight-knit family has been with him the whole way.
His brother McKinley, 25, went with Rolle to Florida and England, and is still by his side.
"My main thing I am going to try and do is quell the emotions of my family," Myron Rolle said. "I don't want them to get overzealous and make sure they know I can go in the fifth or sixth rounds. Doing that will even help me a lot too."
Watching the draft with family can be tough. Three years ago, Southern Regional High School and Rutgers University standout tight end Clark Harris waited in his Stafford Township home for his name to be called. As the second day of the draft grew on (there were only two days in 2007), the atmosphere became more tense.
Harris expected his name sooner than the seventh round. Every phone call he received was thought to be "the call." Harris received phone calls from teams who said they were interested in signing him as a free agent if he didn't get drafted, but finally the Green Bay Packers called just moments before they selected him in the seventh and final round. Harris now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, primarily as a long-snapper.
Those kinds of uncertainties make the draft unpredictable and hard to watch for some.
Corcoran, 23, is ready for anything that happens this weekend, and that includes not being drafted. The St. Joseph High School graduate was mostly a blocking fullback at Rutgers, and that position traditionally does not have many players drafted.
But not being drafted is not the end of a dream of playing in the NFL. Hundreds of players go undrafted every year and sign a free-agent contract.
Corcoran is likely one of these guys. He could be in a preseason camp somewhere.
"I don't know if I am going to get drafted," Corcoran said. "You never know what's going to happen. You just need one team that wants you."
The wait has been tough on him. He spent the last week with his family at their home in the Chelsea Heights section of Atlantic City. He has trained every day, but Corcoran had an otherwise open schedule.
That left him plenty of time to wonder about his own future.
"There's a wide stretch of things people are saying, and I try not to listen to them," Corcoran said. "I talked to some (former teammates) who went through it last year, and they all tell me no one knows what's going to happen. No one."
All they have to do now is just wait.
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