A shout-out to the 2020 NFL Draft class, a group of people who kept me company last spring.
Hey, guys, I just wanted to check in. It’s been a while. I realize that I became close with you all last March and April in the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft.
I also realize I quickly lost touch after the draft and became enamored with the prospects the Steelers selected—including Chase Claypool, Alex Highsmith and my main man, Kevin Dotson, the stud of a guard from Louisiana who wasn’t even invited to the 2020 NFL Combine. Can you believe that? Kevin grew up a big Steelers fan and even twirled a Terrible Towel. Anyway, I got caught up in getting to know him and the rest of Pittsburgh’s draft class and forgot all about my spring break friends that went to other teams.
How’s the knee, Joe Burrow? I think you’re still going to make the Bengals a great team, one day, but even if you don’t, even if you go on to be one of those number overall draft busts, you’ll probably be fine. You’re a quarterback. You’re likely already set for life and will probably go on to marry Miss America or whatever you guys usually do.
How about you, Chase Young? I remember thinking, “Who’s this no-name punk?” when you said Pittsburgh’s offense was exposed during Washington’s victory over the Steelers at Heinz Field last December. Here’s the thing, though, I wrote articles about you leading up to last year’s draft; I said you were such a good prospect that you were the easiest selection for any team to make.
How could I forget you so fast?
This happens every year, unfortunately. I interact with all the draft prospects; I act like everyone is my best friend, but the second the draft is over, I pretend I don’t know them.
How about you, Javon Kinlaw, a defensive tackle from South Carolina who I said would offer the Raiders great value when I had them pick you 12th overall in the 2020 Behind the Steel Curtain Contributors Mock Draft? Did you wind up offering the 49ers great value when they selected you 14th overall in the real draft? A true friend would already know this, but I’m afraid I just got too busy over the holidays.
How about the running backs? How are you guys doing? I still keep tabs on you, J.K. Dobbins. In fact, I often wonder if I should have followed you on Twitter instead of Claypool. That fiery personality of his; those hot takes. It can be a bit much.
I know Clyde Edwards-Helaire is doing just fine with the Chiefs, but what about D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor? I remember vouching for you guys, last spring. In fact, I believe someone said I had brain damage for even suggesting you were both going to be good backs at the pro level. How were your rookie seasons? I suppose I could have checked in more often, but the second Pittsburgh selected Anthony McFarland out of Maryland in the fourth round, I went into “Why Anthony McFarland could be the steal of the draft” mode and just lost touch.
How about you, Denzel Mims? Someone told me the Steelers would regret picking Claypool over you; is that still a possibility? Who drafted you? I should have tried to reach out after we went our separate ways, but you know how it is.
I remember going on and on about how last year’s class of offensive tackles was so darn deep. How’s life, Mekhi Becton? What’s the haps, Tristan Wirfs?
I get so humbled when people tell me I’m great with kids, but it’s easy to do when you can spend a few hours having fun with them before sending them back home to be with their parents.
Anyway, I realize I forgot about a lot of you the moment you didn’t become Steelers. I also know that I’ll one day find many of you on some unfortunate draft-bust list on a random website that’s linked to the bottom of another website. If and when that happens, I promise not to laugh or make fun of you.
But no matter what the future holds, we’ll always have those memories from the spring of 2020.
May your hats fly as high as your dreams.