Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL Draft that begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday will be held completely virtual for the first time.
Instead of the glitz and glamour of having it in Las Vegas, all 32 NFL teams will operate from their home venues and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is set to announce the picks from his home in New York.
It’s a wild way to do it, but necessary given all the stay-at-home orders, and there will be several local players hoping to hear their names called over the three day draft.
Two local players from Pasadena who have been friends for a long time have been waiting for this opportunity since their childhood.
Darnay Holmes, who starred at Calabasas High and had a stellar career UCLA, decided to forgo his senior year and the cornerback is projected to go in the third or fourth round.
Myles Bryant is also from Pasadena and a friend of Holmes. Bryant went to Loyola High school and starred at the University of Washington. Bryant, a defensive back, had a solid career with the Huskies despite being only 5’9 and 184 pounds. He had mixed results at the NFL combine, but he hopes to hear his name in Day 3 of the draft. But even if he is not drafted, he expects to sign as a free agent and hopes to continue to defy the odds.
“Many teams have told me there’s a chance that they’d pick me in one of the later rounds, but even if I went undrafted and signed to a team, it would still be an opportunity to show the world what I can do, and how I can impact the game,” Bryant said.
He would love to hook up with Holmes in the NFL.
“It’s crazy just to think of Darnay and myself on the same field,” Bryant said. “We’ve competed with each other and against each other before in various sports, but for it to be on the biggest stage would be amazing.
Sonora High School’s Cole McDonald was only a two-star recruit at quarterback, but he went on to play at the University of Hawaii and his stock just grew and grew. He threw for 4,135 yards this past season and could be one of the quarterbacks taken on the third day, and if not, will certainly get a camp invite. He’s 6-3 and 215 pounds and there is a lot to like as he has steadily improved every season.
USC’s Christian Rector went to Loyola High School, but he grew up in South Pasadena and is hoping to get picked up in the later rounds. The Trojans’ defensive end didn’t have the greatest senior year, but he did enough as a sophomore and junior to make an impression, and is hoping for a Day 3 phone call.
Two longshots to get drafted, but certainly should get camp invites, are former Bishop Amat standouts Kai Higgins and Brandon Arcanado.
Higgins, a 6-3, 260-pound defensive end, had a solid career at Purdue. Arconado, a wide receiver who went on to Washington State, might be the longest shot locally, but he is a workhorse who might catch the eye of someone.
Higgins is realistic about his prospects, but he’s ready for whatever comes his way.
“My expectations for this draft are mixed, to be quite honest,” Higgins said. “I’m not sure what is going to happen but if I were to be selected, that would be a dream come true. And to be at an NFL training camp would just be a statement of how far I’ve come.
“A couple of years ago the thought of going to the NFL seemed impossible having no offers coming out of high school, but if I have taken anything from my journey so far it would mean that you can overcome any adversity if you put your mind to it and have the Lord on your side. However, being in a training camp doesn’t mean that your solidified in the league, and I know there will still be much more work to do. But I just feel when I get to that point I’ll be ready for anything.”