Chris Neild was very nearly undrafted. He was very nearly ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ the last overall pick.
But instead, he was the Redskins last pick in the draft, and there’s no cool title for going second-to-last overall.
Unless you count having the title of “NFL player” on your resume.
With the fourth and final preseason game on the horizon, Neild knew that this was his make-or-break moment. Presumed starting nose tackle Barry Cofield sat out, along with most of the defensive starters, allowing Neild his golden opportunity.
“I knew Barry wasn’t gonna play in this game, so I knew this was gonna be my shot to put it all out there,” he said in the locker room after the game. “With this game, getting a lot of reps, and the last couple games, getting a good amount of reps, I think I put enough out there to hopefully convince these coaches.”
Neild put up some very nose tackle-esque numbers in the game, with one tackle, for a loss. He then had the next two days to sit back and try not to second guess himself while roster cuts happened.
“I definitely got enough opportunities,” he said. “I don’t know what to feel right now. It ain’t up to me no more. I did what I had to do and I put it on the film, so it’s up to these coaches. I’m just gonna try to keep it out of my head.”
Neild said that he intended to come into the facilities on Friday to work out and watch film, but he wasn’t going to go out of his way to see the people that might be in charge of cutting him.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m not going nowhere near the place…nah, nah, but I’ll be over there tomorrow,” he said with a huge laugh. “I mean, I might turn my head every time I see coach. I might book it straight for the locker room. I might leave my headphones on all day.”
I really hope Neild spent all day in the locker room with his headphones on. Whatever it was, it worked, because he made the final cut.
As for getting drafted second-to-last, who cares?
“I mean, I was happy to get drafted,” he said with a smile. “Seventh-round pick? Second-to-last pick? That’s a glorified free agent. That’s in the past, I don’t even think about that anymore. That was something where, oh, I was happy I got drafted, but when they start bringing in really quality free agents that had the same shot I had.”
He concluded: “It was a matter of who worked the hardest and who performed the best on the field. And I gave it my best shot out there.”
Congratulations, Chris, and welcome to the Redskins. Now go get ready for the Giants.
Tags: chris neild, Draft, nose tackle, washington redskins
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