For fans of the Mid-American Conference, the NFL Draft is usually a mixed bag of emotions. More often than not, a MAC alum gets selected in the first round. Since 1998, 12 alums heard their names called, got the commissioner handshake, and were instantly transformed into millionaires.
The list before tonight of first round MAC selections:
2014, LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo, Oakland (5)
2014, DB Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois, San Francisco (30)
2013, OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, Kansas City (1)
2011, DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple, NY Jets (30)
2009, DE Larry English, Northern Illinois, San Diego (16)
2007, OT Joe Staley, Central Michigan, San Francisco (28)
2004, QB Ben Roethlisberger, Miami, Pittsburgh (11)
2004, DE Jason Babin, Western Michigan, Houston (27)
2003, QB Byron Leftwich, Marshall, Jacksonville (7)
2000, QB Chad Pennington, Marshall, NY Jets (18)
1999, OT L.J. Shelton, Eastern Michigan, Arizona (21)
1998, WR Randy Moss, Marshall, Minnesota (21)
And unfortunately, the list after tonight is exactly the same. No MAC alums were selected in this 2016 version of the NFL Draft, and on the whole, that wasn't a surprising fact. Most mock drafts and experts had Jatavis Brown of the Akron Zips as the most likely MAC alum to be selected first, but that was likely a late third round, early fourth round selection. So perhaps Friday will see a small bit of MACtion break out in the Windy City.
But MAC fans had plenty to takeaway from the opening round of the 2016 NFL Draft:
- Social media can make you or break you. Likely break you. Laramey Tunsil is a case study for athletes, students, and the population in general to make sure your passwords are tough to guess and if you're going to smoke in a gas mask, try not to do it on film. Bonus: If you then have a press conference, try not to admit to NCAA infractions.
- Speaking of social media, when a major event is ongoing, the number of people who buy everything they read hook, line, and sinker is shocking. It took maybe five minutes for a new Tunsil "account" to pop up and less time than that for a "statement" to be released. I stopped looking when the retweets hit over 1000. Do better, Twitterers.
- If you ever start feeling that the gap in athletic talent is shrinking between the MAC and the rest of the college football landscape, just watch the draft. Actually, let me save you the trouble... Ohio State; Ohio State; Ohio State; Ohio State. On, and on, and on, and on. Carson Wentz from the North Dakota State Bison did go second, though, so I suppose there is hope.
- There is nothing you care as passionately about as NFL fans feel about Roger Goodell. Kudos to the hardcore NFL fans who hung tough and booed the head honcho late into the night. That's a level commitment often times unseen in the MAC, but if we're trying to be championship caliber, that's what it's going to take.
Night two of the NFL Draft is Friday at 7, and all of us here at Hustle Belt will be along for the ride with our Draft Chat live thread to hopefully celebrate some MACtion. See you then.