Like many of us, dreams of playing the game we love on the professional level are what motivate us to play the game. From an early age we grab the football every Sunday before, after, and even during halftime of the game to run outside and get a few tosses in. The passion for the game continued into the night where flipping through the Eastbay catalogs checking out the latest gear dreaming of suiting up.
Whether you’re a high school athlete chasing those dreams, a college player in the midst of the delicate balancing act between chasing a degree and moving on to play professionally, or even an athlete that has moved on to other dreams and goals, the story of Max Hall is an inspiring one.
Max is one of those athletes like all of us, that remember flipping through Eastbay catalogs in his younger years. His passion for football began in his hometown of Mesa Arizona. After an impressive high school career that included an undefeated season with a state title and Most Valuable Player award, Hall moved on to college, originally at Arizona State, and then transferring to BYU. Max’s path wasn’t exactly easy however. Despite an impressive career at BYU that makes it look easy, Hall had to push through adversity all along the way.
Although 15 quarterbacks were chosen in the 2010 NFL Draft, Hall was not one of them. However, his work at the NFL Combine did not go unnoticed as he signed as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals. Hall’s determination hasn’t faltered and even though the Cardinals at one point in the pre-season had four or five quarterbacks fighting for a spot on the team, his resolve has finally started to really pay off.
After a rough introduction to the NFL in week 2 where Max threw an interception in one of his first opportunities on the field, Hall went back to his role as a backup. Sitting the bench through week 3 against the Raiders, Max could have easily given up countless times but opportunity knocked once again in week 4 as Max came off the bench to throw for 82 yards on 8-for-14 passing.
This past Sunday, Max Hall got his first start in the NFL. Unfortunately it came against the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Well, fortunately for Hall, he’s dealt with adversity his entire football career and was prepared to battle the defending champs. Hall went 17-for-27 throwing for a 168 yards fighting through tough hits and even some slip ups eventually leading the Cardinals to a 30-20 victory, putting the final stamp on his arrival to the NFL.
Whether Max’s journey will continue on to the next level again and lead the NFC West leading Cardinals to the playoffs remains to be seen, but it’s nice to know it started out like most of ours did, flipping through Eastbay catalogs as a youngster.
With the 15th pick in the 3rd round (79 overall) the Chargers picked Linebacker Donald Butler from Washington. Although it may take Butler a couple years to see the field consistently, it sounds like he should get some solid playing time on special teams.
Two picks later with the 81st pick, the Texans selected Defensive Lineman Earl Mitchell from the Arizona Wildcats. He is very athletic and tough which will give him a shot at getting in the rotation in Houston.
With the 88th overall pick the Cardinals took WR Andre Roberts from Citadel. Roberts caught 77 balls for 792 yards and 7scores last year for the Bulldogs. He’ll look to help the Cards fill the void star WR Anquan Boldin left when he bolted for Baltimore.
At 91 the 49ers selected Navorro Bowman, Linebacker from Penn State. Bowman helped lead Paterno’s Nittany Lions to an 10-2 regular season capped off by a 2 point Capital One bowl victory of LSU. Navorro looks to make an impact this season in SF under coach Mike Singletary.
After the NFL Draft we had a look at the Eastbay Combine Videos of the First Round Picks. Now we’ll dive into the Round 2 picks. Kicking off the 2nd round were the previously 1-15 St. Louis Rams. They decided to go with University of Indiana Offensive Lineman Roger Saffold. He will be a nice addition to try to protect #1 overall pick Sam Bradford.
With pick 51 overall the Minnesota Vikings took Stanford Running Back and 2009 Hesiman Trophy Runner-Up Toby Gerhart. Gerhart lost the Heisman Trophy by only 28 points (the smallest margin of victory in the history of the award). In his senior season Toby rushed 343 times for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns. He will team with stud RB Adrian Peterson to man the Viking backfield this season.
With the next pick, the Steelers took Defensive End Jason Worilds who played college ball for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Worilds brings a ton of speed and quickness to the table for the Steelers. They will look to develop him into a strong, disruptive pass rusher in Pittsburgh.
At 53 overall the New England Patriots selected Jermaine Cunningham from Florida. Although he played behind a lot of great talent for the Gators, Bill Belichick took him for his versatility and for the possibility of joining the Patriots LB rotation.
Back in late February/early March Eastbay set up shop at the 2010 NFL Combine to chat with the upcoming draft prospects. It was pretty cool to hear about some of the cats that bought from Eastbay back in the day as well as guys that continue to buy at Eastbay.
Among the nearly 60 guys that we interviewed, 3 of them were drafted in the first round of last night’s 2010 NFL Draft.
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant was taken by the Cowboys with the 24th overall pick. Dez should feel right at home in Dallas as he is originally from Texas. Bryant was the second WR taken behind Demaryius Thomas but he should be able to step in and make an instant impact for the Boys. After a mediocre year out of #1 WR Roy Williams, Tony Romo gets the gift of a dangerous weapon in Bryant.
Three picks later with the 27th pick, the New England Patriots took CB Devin McCourty. McCourty who attended Rutgers and whose hometown is Nanuet, NY will be sticking around on the east coast after being taken by the Pats.
With the second to last pick of the first round the Colts selected Defensive End Jerry Hughes from TCU. Hughes was a part of the Horned Frogs’ 12-0 run last year. He won the Ted Hendricks Award in 2009 which rewarded his on-field performance, leadership abilities and his contributions to his school and community. Hughes also won the Lott Trophy named in honor of College Hall of Famer and 4-time Super Bowl Champion Ronnie Lott. The Lott Trophy is a reward given to a defensive player who shows great character and performs well on the field. Jerry will be a great addition to the Colts who look to make a return trip to the Super Bowl in 2010.