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Fazio: McCray, others peak interest
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The NFL Draft is an exciting time for many football fans. And I never knew why.

College players from the SEC and all the other football programs we never hear of send a few quarterback, wide receivers and linebackers to the NFL. But it always seemed like dozens of nameless lineman from dozens of nameless schools. And other than the team I sometimes rooted for, I had no idea what the “needs” of the other 30 teams were.

Even after I started to follow the NFL, why would I care about a fifth-round pick who might make a roster of 50-something players within the next three years?

Plus the draft is hours upon hours of people talking about the future they know nothing about. There were no games being played, no championships being won, just a possible future and the relief of college players being able to pay off the $2,000 suits and jewelry they bought with their agent’s credit for the event.

However, last weekend was the first time I was interested in the draft from round one through seven. There were several reasons for this new development in my sports viewing, and they stem from all levels of football.

For the NFL, I was eager to see who the Falcons would select to help their chances of myself finally being able to see one of my favorite teams win another championship. My circle of favorite teams seemingly has two criteria, 1) to be from the city I live or lived in and, 2) being unable to win a title.

For collegiate football, seeing if any South Florida (my former stomping grounds) players would get drafted, along with all the star players from other teams would go. Since attending collegiate games regularly about 10 years ago (and marrying a college-football enthused wife) NCAA football has made it into the top of sports I regularly view. And one of the reasons the NFL has been successful, in my opinion, is because it’s a natural progression of the college game, which almost all secondary-education students have a personal tie to.

The third level of my interest in the draft is the high school game. I’ve been covering Georgia preps football for a while now, so I’ve seen hundreds of players strut their stuff on Friday nights. And this being Georgia, some of the country’s best football players work through the system starting in the Peach State.

The players I covered on the high school level, have now progressed through college and are entering the NFL. Saturday, my eyes were turned to the draft for that very reason, seeing where high school players ended up. One of those was Newton High’s own Demetrius McCray. I never had the opportunity to cover McCray but his former Rams coaches said he was not only a talented player but a good, hard-working kid as well.

There were others who made it through the 2013, and former drafts, whom I first saw in high school, including former FSU cornerback Greg Reid. Reid, who tore his ACL after having off-the-field issues this season, wasn’t drafted but was an intriguing NFL prospect I first saw as excel in Coffee County.

There were others in this draft whom I’ve seen play on Friday nights such as Peachtree Ridge’s Kevin Minter, Newnan’s Alec Ogletree, Habersham Central’s Tavarres King, Marist’s Cooper Taylor, Grayson’s Quenterus Smith and Camden County’s Ryan Seymour. It’s a trend which is sure to keep me interested in future NFL Drafts.