The St. Louis Rams pulled off a surprise on Thursday night, a couple of surprises actually. First, there was the trade down. Then, with the 14th pick acquired from the Dallas Cowboys they selected LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
I talked to Brockers for a few minutes as he walked up the aisle. His smile matched his arm length. Like any player would be after being selected in the first round, Brockers bounced up the carpet at Radio City Music Hall, ready to start a new chapter in his life.
Over and over again, the free agents coming into Rams Park to sign a contract last month resonated a common theme: the chance to play for head coach Jeff Fisher. Brockers said the same thing.
"I know him," Brockers said in reference to Fisher's reputation. "I've been watching football for a long time. He has a winning record. It's our first season with the Rams, we're trying to turn things around."
Brockers plays in the middle of the defensive line, though he can slide out on occasion, a trait prized by Fisher's defense. "I'm going to bring whatever they need to the table," Brockers said. "They need me to stop the run, that's what I'll do. They need me to get to the quarterback, that's what I'll do. I'm so versatile I'll just do anything."
Fisher wasn't the only icon from the NFL's recent past Brockers knew, either.
"You know, I was actually a Rams fan for a little bit," Brockers revealed. "For a little bit. I was a Dallas fan at heart, but when they had Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner and all those guys. I like the Rams offense. I'm glad to be a Rams, glad to have this opportunity."
Last night at the NFLPA Debut event, Brockers was visibly nervous, something I assumed a rare site for a man of his size. None of those nerves were on display tonight, his fate decided.
"It's relieving, because you're wondering where you're going to go, where you're going to play at, and now your name gets called and now you know where you need to set up and get your mind right for training camp."