NFL draft Day 2: chills, thrills

April 24, 1995|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- For Rob Johnson, Chad May and John Walsh, big-name quarterbacks from big-name schools, it was a day of disappointment.

For Rich Owens, an unheralded defensive lineman from a school noted more for academics than football, it was a day for celebration.

Those are the typical reactions on the second day of the NFL draft, when the players who thought they were going higher wonder what went wrong and the players who thought they might not be drafted are thrilled to get selected.

Southern Cal's Johnson, Kansas State's May and Brigham Young's Walsh hoped to go high in the draft.

Instead, they fell to the second day.

Johnson, a three-year starter who threw for 7,958 yards, was the first pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round when the draft resumed yesterday. May, who passed for 5,253 yards the past two years, went to Minnesota on the 13th pick of the fourth round after the Vikings traded up to get him. Walsh, who gave up his senior year after passing for 7,439 yards the past two seasons, wasn't picked until the final round, when the Cincinnati Bengals took him.

Despite their gaudy college credentials, the scouts didn't like their pro potential.

This doesn't mean the scouts were right. After all, Joe Montana was bypassed 81 times before the San Francisco 49ers selected him in 1979.

When Johnson was bypassed on the first day, he said, "I thought something was wrong with me."

Johnson, who went to see the movie "Kiss of Death" Saturday night to get his mind off the draft, said he hopes to prove something to the 29 teams that spurned him.

"I want to be the kiss of death for the other 29 teams," he said.

May said: "I didn't sleep last night. I was tossing and turning. It was a shock. It was the worst day of my life."

Overall, 14 quarterbacks were taken in the draft, although only two -- Steve McNair of Alcorn State, who went to the Houston Oilers, and Kerry Collins of Penn State, who went to the Carolina Panthers -- went on the first round.

But for every player who was disappointed, there was another who was celebrating.

Probably nobody was more surprised to be drafted than Owens, who played at Lehigh against schools such as Yale and Cornell and wasn't even invited to the scouting combine. Owens, who only started as a senior after switching from tight end, was taken by the Washington Redskins on the fifth round.

"In my wildest dreams, I never thought I was going to be drafted," Owens said. "My hands still haven't stopped shaking yet."

Redskins defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz said it was difficult to judge Owens on film playing Ivy League schools, when he was going against "Lee Iacocca's grandson or a guy who wants to go to work for IBM."

But Karmelowicz said in the individual workouts, he was as impressive as defensive end Mike Mamula of Boston College, who parlayed good workouts into a first-round selection. Though Owens is a "very raw guy," Karmelowicz said he likes his potential and thought he was worth a flyer on the fifth round.

The Redskins' other second-day picks were fullback Larry Jones of Miami, tight end Jamie Asher of Louisville, offensive tackle Brian Thure of California and cornerback Scott Turner of Illinois.

The most confident new Redskin was Jones, who promptly predicted he'll become a starter and a 1,000-yard rusher this year.

"I feel I can do it all," he said.

The Los Angeles Raiders continued their reputation for unorthodox moves when they selected offensive tackle Eli Herring of Brigham Young on the sixth round. Herring, a Mormon, has said he doesn't believe in playing on Sundays and doesn't plan on a pro football career.

The Raiders said they wanted to give him an opportunity if he changes his mind.

Miami running back James Stewart, who is suing the New York Times because it reported he flunked a drug test at the scouting combine even though the NFL denied the report, lasted until the fifth round, when he was taken by the Vikings.

The last player selected was cornerback Mike Reed of Boston College, the 249th pick by the Panthers. He wins a week's vacation in Newport Beach, Calif., as "Mr. Irrelevant." Carolina already has the 1992 winner, center Matt Elliott, who was selected by the Redskins and waived last year.

Reed, though, wasn't thrilled with the "honor."

"It makes you feel like you're a nobody," Reed said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.