Tick, Tick, Tick. The NFL draft is nearly here, and not a second too soon for USC's John David Booty, LSU's Matt Flynn and Kentucky's Andre' Woodson. When we began following these three QBs five months ago, they were eager to throw themselves into the evaluation whirlwind. Now? After being picked apart by draftniks, grilled by coaches and examined by countless docs, they're spent. FOR our fifth and final installment of "This Way to the Draft" (see the first four on ESPN.com; search: "NFL DRAFT '08"), we set up a conference call so our three signal-callers could dish about the process. Booty blew off his boys, but Flynn and Woodson were still happy to chat. And no one, not even JDB, escapes the keen eye of Scouts Inc. draft oracle Todd MCShay. His Todd-O-Meter reveals all.
THE WAIT IS THE HARDEST PART
AW "It feels like the whole process is way too long. What is it, three or four months? It goes on and on for a one-day thing so you can finally hear them say your name."
MF "Yeah, ever since my pro day, in late March, I've felt helpless. It sucks not knowing where you're going to live."
AW "The biggest thing is to stay positive. The coaches break the game down so much, and the analysts criticize you so much, it can be stressful. I remind myself of the big picture."
MF "The mental preparation is tough too. You always have to be on everywhere you go and every time you work out. You don't want to give anyone a reason not to like you."
JDB "You've reached the automatic voice message system … "
WE'RE STILL NOT SURE WHAT TEAMS ARE LOOKING FOR
MF "At the combine, you're in the hospital seeing doctors for three straight days, and they're just trying to find something wrong with you. You have no control over that."
AW "We've had our whole career, and it's on tape, but it almost seems like they go off of what they saw at the two practices at the Senior Bowl with new receivers, new O-linemen and a new system. It seems unfair."
MF "At the combine, you don't know any of the receivers, you don't throw to any receiver more than once and you make a total of 15 to 20 throws. If you miss one, you don't get another shot, and people are going to say you're inaccurate or wild. I don't know how much of that goes into a GM's head."
BUT WE KNOW THEY'RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING
MF "We saw 32 orthopedic doctors, one from each team—not to mention the hours we spent in the hospital getting X-rays, MRIs, physicals and eye exams."
AW "I had four MRIs on my hips just because some doctors said I wasn't flexible. I was like, 'There is nothing wrong with my hips.' They're trying to find anything just to say, 'We shouldn't take a chance on this guy.'"
MF "And if you have a body part that's not hurting before you see the orthopedists, it's going to hurt afterward. They're pretty unforgiving."
OH YEAH, WE'RE STILL BROKE
AW "I have no money, so I have to do whatever it takes to earn a few bucks to live. My school no longer provides any help. I'm doing autograph sessions in Lexington, and that's tiring."
MF "You do card shows?"
AW "Those are the worst."
JDB " … John David is not available … "
IT'S NOT ALL BAD
AW "My favorite part was interacting with all the players, because everybody is from different backgrounds."
MF "My favorite part was meeting Andre' Woodson. Seriously, it's a privilege to meet different players. Jerks like Andre' are always making fun of me, like, 'Oh, the national champ's here.' "
AW "We should get our initials in the national-championship ring because we beat y'all."
MF "You're the real national champs, aren't you?"
AW "In our book, yeah."
MF "Yeah, whatever."
HEY, WHAT HAPPENED TO BOOTY?
MF "Why didn't he call?"
AW "Because he's big-leaguing us."
AW "Yes, sir?"
MF "What's your number? I'm going to call you when you get picked No. 1."
AW "You know, you're a jerk."
MF "I know."
JDB " … if you'd like to leave a message … "