Join us each day as we count down towards the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The countdown runs from 50 to zero and the number of days remaining will inspire the post for that day. Think of this as your NFL draft paper chain that loses one link each day!
Still 36 days left until the NFL draft? Yes, unfortunately that is true. It feels like draft talk has been going on forever but there is still more waiting to do. Hopefully this countdown helps the waiting rather than making the process feel even more drawn out.
I have a hard time believing that many people envisioned the NFL draft producing this kind of anticipation when it was first held back in ‘36. Not surprisingly, there are a differences between then and now.
Jay Berwanger was the first player ever selected in the NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles made the pick but traded the rights to the Chicago Bears. Berwanger was the initial recipient of the award that would later become known as the Heisman Trophy. He was once tackled by a man who would later become president, Gerald Ford, but gave him a scar in the process that Ford bore for the rest of his life. Jay Berwanger never played in the NFL however, because George Halas and the Chicago Bears refused to pay the $25,000 over two years that was demanded. Berwanger left football behind and became a foam-rubber salesman. My, how times have changed!
The Detroit Lions made their first ever draft pick at number eight overall and selected Sid Wagner, a lineman from Michigan State. Lineman in those days looked nothing like they do today. Sid Wagner was 5’11″ and weighed 192 pounds. Unlike Jay Berwanger, Wagner did play in the NFL. He played in five games as a rookie in 1936 and all eleven games in 1937 and 1938. Sid called it a football career after three seasons but it wasn’t because of injury or ineffective play. He told reporters he was leaving football to “devote all of his time to a promising career as an engineer.”
The rest of the Detroit Lions’ ’36 draft class included Chuck Cheshire, Andy Pilney, Sheldon Beise, Kavanaugh Francis, Abe Mickal, Charlie Wasicek, Dale Rennebohm and Bob Train.