Mellette making draft day a team sport
Aaron Mellette can't wait to hear his name in the 2013 NFL Draft sometime Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
He's excited, and deservedly so for the years of hard work the wide receiver has put in at Southern Lee High School and Elon University. Should an NFL franchise select him, he'll have earned, as Mellette - known for being a humble multi-time All-American - puts is, "another chance to prove myself."
Mellette knows a bunch of people, as hard as it might be to believe, who are more excited.
Seventeen family members traveled with Aaron to Mobile, Ala., and the Senior Bowl in January as he was the first Elon player invited to the prestigious postseason scouting showcase ever.
Lots of family traveled with Aaron to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.
"Sometimes I think I have to keep (my family) calm about all of it more than myself," Mellette said. "They're more excited about all of this than I am for this opportunity,"
Still, should Mellette have his name announced from the podium in New York City during one of the seven rounds during next three days, it'll be a huge stride toward a dream.
"They're very enthusiastic with what's about to take place this weekend and I can't wait to hear my name called," Mellette said.
Along with the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, Mellette, having graduated from Elon, spent much of the last few months training in Miami, working out for NFL clubs on an individual basis, at Elon's Pro Day and he got a little bit of time at home in Sanford.
Mellette was hard at work, and not all physical work either, in Mobile and Indianapolis. At the Senior Bowl, coaches introduced receivers to 30-40 new plays a day, Mellette said. It was to see who could handle the test more so than needing an exhaustive playbook for one bowl game.
"You begin to get a feeling for the complexity and the schemes," he said. "It's nothing overwhelming though and I can't wait to dive into it."
Working hard through an offseason is nothing new to Mellette. So when he says, "there was no such thing as an offseason," through this winter and spring, it means even more.
It was also the first offseason after two football seasons as a Cavalier and five as a Phoenix, as he was redshirted as a freshman, he's not a part of a team - at least on the gridiron.
Mellette loves the support from his family, along with messages, greetings and congrats from fellow Cavaliers throughout his Phoenix career and especially in recent months.
"They say, 'keep doing what you're doing and we're proud of you. You're putting Sanford on the map,'" Mellette said about seeing friends and former teammates while around Sanford and Southern Lee a few times since the college football season ended.
Mellette wants to "put Sanford on the map" but he already recognizes, and embraces, his chance to be a positive influence for those who look up to him, in part because he's a 6-foot-3 receiver.
"And for the younger kids, I want to work hard, I want to put Sanford on the map, for them, so maybe they'll get this kind of opportunity. I want to be a good role model," Mellette said.
While on one hand, being drafted is the end of a long, trying journey, it's actually more of a beginning.
"It'll be exciting. I'm thinking back to my first few days at Elon, being on campus, the first few days of training camp, trying to make a name for myself," Mellette said. "It'll be back to learning the playbook, working hard every day and showing the coaches I'm ready to be on the field.
"I'll be 100 percent ready to go. Right now I'm ready to go," he said.
Draft projections all around the Internet have Mellette going anywhere from the third to the fifth round. The NFL Draft is a three-day event. The first round will be chosen tonight starting at 8 p.m. The draft will continue Friday at 6:30 p.m. with rounds 2-3. Rounds 4-7 will be picked Saturday.
"I don't look at the mock drafts," Mellette said.
He hasn't even been thinking about which teams are most likely to draft him.
"My agent knows a few teams who've been talking with him, but I don't (know what teams)," he said.
As for a draft party, it'll be big - at least in that the Mellette family will be together.
"We're going to be at my aunt's house," Mellette said.
Sure the TV will be on and a phone will be close by at all times, but the excitement seemingly will be all for Aaron rather than from Aaron.
"We'll be cooking out," he said, "pretty much just sitting back, relaxing, probably playing video games."