Brennan Carvalho had a feeling he would either hear his name called in the seventh, and final, round of the NFL Draft, or he would receive a call from an interested team shortly after the two-day college football shopping extravaganza concluded. As Carvalho watched the draft with his parents and relatives from his home in Kapa’a, Hawaii, player after player came off the board, with each pick representing a lost opportunity for the former Portland State center to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
Brennan Carvalho had a feeling he would either hear his name called in the seventh, and final, round of the NFL Draft, or he would receive a call from an interested team shortly after the two-day college football shopping extravaganza concluded.
As Carvalho watched the draft with his parents and relatives from his home in Kapa’a, Hawaii, player after player came off the board, with each pick representing a lost opportunity for the former Portland State center to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
Before Carvalho knew it, the middle of the seventh round had rolled around and he was still without a team.
Unlike Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart, who was the 13th overall choice to the Carolina Panthers, and Roy Schuening, an Oregon State standout that was taken in the fifth round, Carvalho was still on the board and it appeared his fate would remain uncertain.
Then the phone rang.
There was good news and bad news.
The good news was that an official from the Green Bay Packers was on the other end of the line. The bad news was Carvalho learned the team that plays its home games at Lambeau Field would not select him, but would instead prefer to bring him in as an undrafted free agent.
The call came with about 10 to 15 picks remaining in the seventh round, and Carvalho said at that point he all but knew his chances of being drafted were mightily slim. He was right, as no other teams solicited his services and the words “Portland State” were never uttered at the podium atop the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Did Carvalho take this as a slap in the face? Not at all.
Actually, Carvalho said he was not disappointed and welcomes the opportunity to step on the practice field in Green Bay to demonstrate that he is an NFL-caliber talent, no matter how he receives the audition.
“As long as you feel comfortable with where you’re going, that’s the main part that matters,” Carvalho said.
And Carvalho is right on the money, as too many players fret over not hearing their name on draft day. When you clear away all of the hype and glorification generated from a draft selection, the only morsel remaining is the mere fact that you are a football player that is preparing to compete at the next level.
In many ways, Carvalho is just like Stewart and Schuening. Heck, Carvalho is in the exact same position as first overall selection Jake Long, except he is without a $30 million guaranteed contract. And if he earns a roster spot, he will be playing his games in frigid Green Bay instead of scorching Miami.
When it comes down to it, Carvalho has a team to report to for training camp. That’s the most important detail. It’s not whether he was selected in the top 10, or how much of a signing bonus he received. Because with the Packers he has the same opportunity the other draftees, from No. 1 to Mr. Irrelevant at No. 252, will enjoy: the chance to play in the NFL.
Five other Portland State players that were signed as undrafted free agents following the NFL Draft, including quarterback Brian White, defensive end Casey Tyler, linebacker Jordan Senn, fullback Olaniyi Sobomehin and right tackle Daren Heerspink.
Every one of these players should appreciate the opportunity given to them. But also, each should not discredit himself into thinking he is not deserving of a place on an NFL roster.
Portland State players will not have to peer outside the South Park Blocks for inspiration, either. Two recent undrafted free agents, tight end Tony Curtis and wide receiver Shaun Bodiford, played their college football at PGE Park, donning the Portland State green and white just like Carvalho, Senn and Co.
Curtis caught three touchdown passes for the Cowboys last year and Bodiford played primarily special teams for the Packers a season ago.
These two Portland State grads are proof of something Carvalho already knows-when it comes to the NFL Daft, a late call is always better than no call at all. A late call means opportunity is still waiting.