Saffold: “I still don’t know if this really happened.”

Finally got a hold of Rodger Saffold. The man has spent a lot of time on the phone tonight. My story for tomorrow follows.

Rodger Saffold was patient all night Thursday and wasn’t rewarded. He spent the entire evening at a restaurant in Cleveand with his eyes honed on the television and his cell phone close, hoping to become Indiana’s first first-round NFL Draft pick since 1994 only to watch 32 names come off the board that weren’t his.
But on Friday, he didn’t have to wait long at all. He gathered with family at the clubhouse lounge in his mother’s condominium complex and barely had a chance to settle in before the St. Louis Rams took him with the first pick of the second round and No. 33 overall.
“I basically sat and waited and had about four minutes and 37 seconds to be nervous,” Saffold said. “Next thing you know, I got the call. It was great to finally get that call.”
Saffold becomes the third Hoosier to go in the second round in the last three drafts. Cornerback Tracy Porter (New Orleans Saints) and wide receiver James Hardy (Buffalo Bills) were taken No. 40 and 41 overall respectively in the 2008 draft. The last Hoosier to be taken earlier was defensive end Nathan Davis, who went No. 32 overall to the Atlanta Falcons before the last round of expansion. Indiana’s last first round pick was wide receiver Thomas Lewis, who went No. 24 to the New York Giants in 1994.
“It’s just nice for him,” Saffold’s agent, Jared Fox said. “When you have expectations or thoughts about going in the first round and he doesn’t go, your heart bleeds for him. You know he could easily go in the second round, but with the draft being three days this year, it adds a little drama. Had this been a normal second round, we would’ve had this one done already. I just feel happy for him. He deserves it, to have a chance to succeed. It’s not that we lost yesterday. We just ran out of time.”
The Rams took Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick, so it appears evident that Saffold is the Rams’ way of protecting a very important investment. St. Louis was in desperate need of any sort of offensive help. The Rams scored a league-low 10.9 points per game last year in a 1-15 season. Former starting quarterback Marc Bulger missed half of last season with injury and St. Louis allowed 44 sacks, which shows the offensive line is in desperate need of someone who can protect the quarterback.
“I’m just going to do everything I can to keep Sam Bradford’s jersey clean,” Saffold said.
Though his selection at the top of the second round marks a short slide from some mock drafts released in recent weeks, which had him going as high as No. 26 in the first round, it represents a giant leap from what was expected from him when he came to Indiana.
Saffold, who at 21 is still young for a senior, came from Bedford (Ohio) High School without little to no hype and according to coach Bill Lynch, only weighed 250 pounds when he arrived at Indiana. However, he bulked up and became a three-year starter at left tackle and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches this season. He allowed only one sack this year and was a big part of the reason the Hoosiers allowed the second fewest sacks in the Big Ten.
Though he’s now listed at 6-foot-4, 316 pounds, he still was still expected to be a late-round draft choice when the 2009 season ended. However, he shot up the draft boards with strong performances at the East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Draft Combine as well as his individual workouts with coaches.
“He just got better and better because he worked so hard,” Indiana coach Bill Lyncy said. “That’s the big thing you’re looking for in a guy is that you see improvement when he goes through. He improved on the field, he improved in the weight room. He improved in the classroom. By this past year, he was a captain of the team. You really like to see a guy who works that hard get rewarded.”
He has been, and now he gets to begin the business of being an NFL player while still finishing up his degree in SPEA management. He is flying to St. Louis today to be introduced to the media, then he returns next Thursday for mini-camp. Offseason workouts, Fox said, should begin sometime in May. Fox expects to begin negotiating Saffold’s first contract some time in July.
But that’s along way from Saffold’s mind now. He’s just happy the wait is over.
“Just being able to finally get on the board and for it to happen so quickly is truly a blessing,” he said. “… This is absolutely great. I’m still kinda shocked. I still don’t even know if this is really happening. But I just gotta take it a day at a time and know when I go back home, I gotta work.”

8 comments

  1. First off, she’s the BROOM lady not the mop lady — she’s pushing a broom, not a mop (earlier article). Next, you don’t get A hold of someone you get hold of him. Also, hone means sharpen. You don’t have your eyes sharpened on the TV.

  2. JC u must have some free time on your hands.
    Nice to see IU football produce a pick that goes so early and scouts talk so highly about.

  3. JC, did you just loose your job?? Not having a good day? Do you correct your friends when they are talking to you? Oh wait, you probably dont have any friends.

  4. Congrats to Rodger. He should serve as a great example to all the current players and how hardwork can get you where you want to be.

    No doubt he will do well in St. Louis. Colts take J Kirlew late in the 7th!

  5. RHF it’s ‘lose’ your job, not ‘loose’. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

    Congrats to Rodger. It speaks volumes regarding their expectations of him, in that he is the first OL they pick up after drafting a QB as the first pick.

  6. Can I call you Chet “the Jet”? Man did he have a great head fake..What happened to guys with great pump/head fakes and the up and under moves? Chet Walker and Butterbean Love….What a pair of forwards they were…Back in the day…Long before MJ. DA BULLS! Someday I’ll post the inspirational story of Bob Love. I think Stormin’ Norman passed away last year…sad. Could never get by them damn Lakers with West and Goodrich…and that giant in the middle, Wilt “the Stilt”. What ever happened to the “finger roll”? I would like to show 4guards a finger roll…Oops. I’m off topic again.

    Glad to see an IU linebacker going to DA BEARS!

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