The Raiders selected DE Matt Shaughnessy (77) in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
The NFL Draft is a time of excitement for college football stars and their families. Draft hopefuls watch the coverage and wait for that phone call that determines their football future. It is a weekend full of anticipation and anxiety, and for many, celebration.
For DE Matt Shaughnessy, last year's Draft weekend was a relaxing and fun experience. "I was relaxing with friends and family at home. I actually didn't know what time the Draft started so I was sleeping during my pick. The phone rang and my mom picked it up and came and woke me. We were all really excited."
While Shaughnessy was stress-free and celebrating during draft day, the process leading up to the Draft was not nearly as laid back.
Many NFL prospects participate in a number of events leading up to the Draft to prove to NFL organizations that they are worthy of being selected. Shaughnessy participated in many of these events including the NFL Combine, Wisconsin's Pro Day, and individual workouts with teams.
The NFL Combine is a week-long exhibition of players' talents physically and mentally. Prospects are put through various drills and tests in front of representatives from the NFL teams. "It's a weird experience," said Shaughnessy. "I'm happy to only have to go through it once."
In addition to the Combine, Shaughnessy also participated in Pro Day at the University of Wisconsin, which he described as "the combine but on a smaller scale." A Pro Day is an opportunity for players to show off their skills in a less stressful environment than the Combine.
Though some players choose only to participate in their school's Pro Day, for those who participated in the Combine, it serves as an additional opportunity to show NFL team representatives their abilities. Shaughnessy, who was marred by injury during his senior season, used the Pro Day and the NFL Combine to demonstrate his talent.
Shaughnessy added that he also participated in an individual workout for the New England Patriots. "We ran around quite a bit and also did some board work. They would show me some plays and I'd have to try to remember them and say them back," said Shaughnessy.
However, Shaughnessy was drafted by the Raiders in the 3rd round of the 2009 Draft. After learning that he was selected by the Raiders, Shaughnessy was thrilled. "I was jacked up to be going to California. But more importantly, I was excited to be playing for a great team that has such a rich history, and now I was getting to be a part of it."
After the Combine, Pro Day, and individual workouts leading up to the Draft, Shaughnessy and his family celebrated his success. His excitement carried over to his participation in OTAs, mini camp, and to his first year as a Raider, posting 26 solo tackles and four sacks for the 2009 season. Feeling the excitement on Draft Day 2009 and playing for the Raiders, Shaughnessy believes all of his hard work leading up to the draft paid off.