CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — With day 2 of the NFL Draft set to begin Friday night, 8News spoke with two former University of Virginia football players familiar with the draft day experience.
Fans watch three-day offseason spectacle to how their favorite teams will improve with new players from the collegiate level. It’s why the draft is one of the most exciting moments for fans.
For some players, it’s one of the best moments in their lives. But for players going through it, the draft isn’t always that easy.
“The draft can be the happiest day of a football players life, or it could be a tough day,” said Shawn Moore, a former UVA football standout.
Moore, who was drafted in the 11th round by the Denver Broncos, told 8News “it was a tough day for me.”
Terry Kirby, a former UVA running back, said “it was devastating because I was at home, and the first round they kept talking about, ‘Oh, this is a great fit for Terry Kirby.’ This is a second round, great fit for Terry Kirby, and then it never happened.”
Kirby went on to get drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round.
But for Moore and Kirby, who were members of the only UVA football team to be ranked No. 1 in the nation, their draft expectations were high.
“I was a very highly rated player during that 1990 season, so I was projected probably 2nd or 3rd round,” Moore said.
Kirby recalled that he was “ready to go anywhere between late first and (the) third round.
But when the draft came, despite being from a top-tier team, both players dropped further than projected.
“You kind of get disappointed, you’re like, ‘Is this really for me, is it gonna happen?'” Kirby said. “You’ve got so many mixed emotions and it’s tough, then all of a sudden the call came.”
When the call did come for Kirby, it was in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft. Two years earlier, Moore had found a home after being picked in the 11th. Both went on to have successful careers in the league.
“I just took it as a challenge,” Moore said. “I said ‘you know what,’ I’m gonna go and prove everyone wrong.”