After months of speculation and anticipation, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally here. One of the biggest, most career-defining moments in an athlete’s career, the draft is a culmination of a team effort of parents, siblings, grandparents, coaches, teachers, and communities who have all shepherded and supported an athlete to get to draft day.
The NFL Draft can make for some highly emotional moments, where an athlete is seeing his dreams come true, or disappear, all with a single phone call. Others, like No.1 pick Trevor Lawrence, who was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars, are calm and collected, just like they are on the field. NFL Draft phone calls can mark a player’s first connection with a team or coach, who will become a part of his family. And getting “the call” means the years of hard work and dedication, not just by an athlete, but his entire support system, has paid off.
Getting drafted in the first round means more than just bragging rights. First-round NFL draft picks see bigger contracts and better payouts. But considering Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, and 7-time Super Bowl Champ, Tom Brady was chosen by the New England Patriots as the 199th pick, a draft number doesn’t always mean success.
And while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was live in Cleveland, Ohio, not all the draftees chose to join in person. Surrounded by emotional family and friends, these draft prospects became hometown heroes with just one phone call.
2021 NFL DRAFT PHONE CALLS
NO. 1 TREVOR LAWRENCE – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Clemson alum was invited to attend the NFL Draft in-person in Cleveland, Ohio, but opted to watch closer to home with family, friends, and new wife Marissa Mowry.
NO. 16 ZAVEN COLLINS – ARIZONA CARDINALS
Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins was already in tears when he got the official call that he was being chosen in the No. 16 spot by the Arizona Cardinals. With a draft hat in hand, and a house full of well-wishers, Collins was overcome with emotion and gratitude and dropped to his knees where he stayed for a while.
NO.3 TREY LANCE – SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
The 49ers traded up before the 2021 NFL Draft to score the No. 3 spot, but GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan kept everyone including one another in the dark as to their choice for that spot. While Lynch and Shanahan assumed Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields would get chosen as the No. 1 and No. 2 picks, they still had top picks in Mac Jones, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance.
When it came to draft day, the 49ers surprised the sports world by picking Lance over Jones.
NO. 26 GREG NEWSOME II – CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Chicago native and Northwestern alum had to quiet the enthusiastic crowd at his draft party while he awaited the news, that he was being chosen by the Cleveland Browns in the No. 26 spot.
NO. 22 CALEB FARLEY – TENNESSEE TITANS
Viewers were quick to notice that Virginia Tech alum Caleb Farley was doing his best to enjoy a solo draft party when the Tennessee Titans called to let the CB know he was being chosen at No. 22. It’s not that Farley doesn’t have family or friends, but he tested positive for COVID-19 the day before the draft.
Farley spent the evening alone playing Warzone, but happily took a break to accept Tennessee’s call.
NO. 6 JAYLEN WADDLE – MIAMI DOLPHINS
Alabama’s star receiver made headlines not just for being chosen as the sixth pick of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, reuniting him with former teammate Tua Tagovailoa, but Jaylen Waddle also caught some unwanted attention for seeming to ignore his entire family when he got the call from Dolphins coach Brian Flores.
But Waddle took to Twitter later in the evening, clearing up the mishap which he attribute to TV cameras not catching his pre-phone call celebration with his family.
NO. 11 JUSTIN FIELDS – CHICAGO BEARS
Ohio State’s star QB Justin Fields was such a hot draft prospect this year, the Chicago Bears traded up nine spots to take Fields as the eleventh pick. The 22-year-old quarterback was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019 after spending his true freshman year at Georgia in 2018.
NO. 27 RASHAD BATEMAN – BALTIMORE RAVENS
Ravens fans have been clamoring for Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh to draft a wide receiver for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Fans got their wish at the 2021 NFL Draft when the Ravens chose the University of Minnesota alum with the 27th pick. Judging by his family’s reaction, the Batemans are happy too.
NO. 46 JACKSON CARMAN – CINCINNATI BENGALS
Clemson alum Jackson Carman is a Cincinnati native who was chosen by the Bengals as the No. 46 pick. After receiving a phone call from Cincinnati’s 513 area code Carman said, “I’m just blessed. I never thought it would happen like this.”