In some ways the most memorable NFL draft my family experienced happened in 1999 when 12-year old Charlie, who loved a good practical joke, re-set the password on our cable box, blocked ESPN and left town with me, his unsuspecting mother.
That year the Eagles dramatically chose Donovan McNab amid a chorus of boos from misguided Philly fans, the Packers used their second seventh round pick, the 213th overall, on a small wide receiver named Donald Driver, and Charlie’s dad spent a great deal with Time Warner Cable tech support.
I never bought into NFL draft day’s television-generated drama. Why spend all day watching something easily summarized in the agate section of the newspaper?
I prefer the guts and glory drama of the pre-season. It’s one thing to be drafted, it’s quite another to make the team.
This year’s draft does hold some special significance to me, though, because the Packers have the 26th pick for only the sixth time in team history. One of those first five guys was my dad, Ron Kostelnik.
I wrote about my dad’s draft day experience, which took place in my grandparent’s living room on 20 Row in Colver, Pennsylvania in this post.
In 1961, there were only 24 teams in the whole league, today there are 32. NFL rosters listed 32 players in 1961, today they hold 45 active players and 8 members of the practice squad
As the league grew, so did its players. At 265-pounds my dad was the second biggest player on the 1961 Packer roster, topped only by 6-8, 275 pound Ben Davidson, who was waived by the Packers in 1964 for not meeting weight guidelines. In 2012, the Packers listed 18 players who weighed over 300 pounds, led by 338-pound Ryan Pickett.
I can’t say I’ll be munching popcorn and intently watching the NFL draft like some other members of my family, Charlie and his dad included.
But I will keep an eye on the 26th pick, which has brought great success to the Packers with the likes of Ron Kostelnik, Bill Lueck (1968), John Anderson (1978), George Cumby (1980) and the recently re-signed 2009 pick, Clay Matthews.