MIDWEST, Okla. - After more than 10 hours of playing the waiting game, former Pittsburg State defensive tackle Aaron McConnell and his family will have to do so a little longer.
McConnell (6-2, 303), a 2004 NFL Draft prospect who had been tabbed to go anywhere from third to seventh round, was not one of the 11 defensive tackles selected during Saturday's first three rounds. Now, McConnell and his family await today's final four rounds to find out where the next journey of his football career will begin.
"I may begin to get nervous," McConnell said. "I don't know if I'll be able to get to sleep tonight. I'll be going through every draft situation in my head."
The feelings are normal as today will decide where he, his wife Tessa and seven-month son Cade will live and who he'll have to compete with in order to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
"It feels weird, because since I was 5 this was my goal," McConnell said. "Now, it's here. Less than 24 hours from now, I'll know what NFL franchise I'll belong to ... It seems like my whole life boils down to this. My whole life down to a Sunday afternoon."
The 11 defensive tackles taken were Oklahoma's Tommie Harris, Miami's Vince Wilfork, Texas' Marcus Tubbs, Oregon's Igor Olshansky, Oregon's Junior Siavii, Washington's Terry Johnson, Oregon State's Dwan Edwards, Florida State's Darnell Dockett, Maryland's Randy Starks, Clemson's Donnell Washington and Ohio State's Tim Anderson.
McConnell said he believes the large number of defensive tackles taken is a good fortune for him today. The four-time All-American at Pitt State has been rated as high as the 21st best defensive tackle. Sports Illustrated has McConnell pegged as the 33rd best D-tackle.
"I think it's a great sign," he said. The more of those guys that get out of the way, the closer I am. The best chart has me at No. 21, so getting rid of 11, you have 10 left."
A sign that wasn't as positive was that Tusculum cornerback Ricardo Colclough was the only Division II player selected on Saturday.
"I think it says a lot about the way the NFL looks at D-II players," McConnell said. "You really have to be a good player to go. Ninety-six picks and one guy drafted, it really says you have to be a great D-II athlete to be taken."
Today, McConnell is mixed in with numerous similar rated defensive tackles. McConnell has received some interest from the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams as both called him on Saturday.
"I think my plan for tomorrow is to do everything I can to stay relaxed and keep my wife's fingernails on," McConnell said.
Another defensive tackle hoping to be taken today or picked up as a free agent is PSU's Mark Stephen. PSU offensive lineman Tyronne Armstrong also is hoping for a free agent contract.
Central Missouri State's Roderick Green is expected to go in the fourth or fifth round today.