Former NFL defensive tackle from Saginaw relates to stress of draft day picks

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (04/25/2019) - As a Saginaw Arthur Hill High School graduate can attest, the NFL Draft can be a nerve-rattling experience.

Clifton Ryan

Clifton Ryan, the Saginaw native who was selected by the St. Louis Rams 12 years ago, still vividly recalls the day that phone call came.

"I was at my parents house -- my childhood home here in Saginaw," Ryan said.

He remembers the 2007 Draft like it was yesterday.

"I thought I had a slim chance of going in the second or third (round)," Ryan said. "When that didn't happen I was extremely upset. When I didn't go in the fourth round on Sunday I just stopped watching."

Ryan, a defensive tackle from Michigan State University, was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He thinks he should have gone higher.

"As you slip in the draft, you see millions to hundreds of thousands of dollars leave your bank account," Ryan said.

This year's draft, which has seven rounds over three days, includes a number of defenders who are expected to be selected early. A recent development that does his heart good:

"There's a lot of points being put up in the league so you need guys to stop these guys," Ryan said.

Ryan, who played four seasons for the Rams, understands just how big a deal this is for the young men waiting for their names to be announced.

"A lot of these guys, from the first moment they picked up a football, they dream of having their name called," he said. "I know I did."

Ryan said it's all about seeing your dreams come true. His advice for those whose names are selected during the draft?

"One thing about the NFL, make as much money as long as you can," he said.

Ryan said following the draft, the new players have their work cut out for them in getting ready for the upcoming season.

"Be focused, be disciplined, eat right. It's going to be hard because you're going to have more money than you ever have in your life," he said. "Keep everything in perspective."

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