Draft night stress, as told by four first-rounders’ heart rates

Draft night stress, as told by four first-rounders’ heart rates post thumbnail image

Pre-draft stress
Round 1 of the NFL draft was a full day for the prospects who attended the Las Vegas event in person. After breakfast at 9:30 local time, they headed to their hotel rooms to get dressed before photo opportunities and interviews on the red carpet at the Bellagio Fountain.


An anxious start

Post-selection, Ekwonu said he thought his heart rate might have been at its highest immediately before the red carpet, but the tracking shows his beats per minute (BPM) actually peaked toward the end of the red carpet.

Medical expert’s perspective
Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, explained BPM can elevate two to three times over resting rates in pressure situations. “Their body gears up in that moment, and it releases adrenaline substances that end up driving the heart rate high,” he said.

Former first-rounder perspective
Next was the green room, where prospects wait to be called. “You’re so eager and anxious to know where you’re going to be going next, right?” said Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick in 2012. “Who are your new teammates, the head coach, the city that you’re diving into?”


The ups and downs

Davis said he was anxious all night. Krumholz explained that in moments of excitement, athletes’ bodies respond like they would during a big play. “You feel your heart pounding, you feel fidgety, your body wants to move,” Krumholz said.


Almost time

Hutchinson said the gravity of the moment hit after the red carpet, in the green room. “Just being there with my family, my dad was tearing up a little bit,” he said. “That definitely made me a little emotional before the draft.”

Kiper’s Big Board Ranks

Kiper’s Big Board Ranks

Hutchinson 1
Ekwonu 2
Olave 15
Davis 27


Calm in the storm

Olave said he didn’t feel too nervous but when those moments hit, he would close his eyes and take deep breaths. “I know it’s all God’s plan. I wasn’t really stressed,” he said. “Sent a couple prayers up, and God answered them.”


Quiet family moment

The Hutchinson family huddled while Roger Goodell opened the draft outside. “My mom, she gave a little motivating speech saying, whoever picks me, whoever doesn’t, we don’t care,” Hutchinson said. “Wherever I go, I’m going to give it my all.”

The pick is in

DE Travon Walker
(JAX, 1st)

Drafted

Hutchinson
(DET, 2nd)


Dapping up Goodell

“Just being there and walking down the stage and seeing the crowd open up, dapping up Goodell, it was something I’ve watched on TV for years now,” said Hutchinson, a Michigan native who grew up a Lions fan. “To be there in first person was unreal.”


Familiar area code

Ekwonu will stay close to home. Bank of America Stadium is seven miles from his high school, Providence Day School. “As soon as I saw that 704 number [Charlotte area code], my heart rate shot up,” he said.

Drafted

Ekwonu
(CAR, 6th)

The pick is in

WR Garrett Wilson
(NYJ, 10th)


Saints come calling

Immediately after his Ohio State teammate was called, New Orleans traded up to select Olave. “I was more happy for [Wilson] than me!” Olave said. “I’ve seen the work he puts in, and I know Garrett, he’s a good person, too. I wish the best for him.”

Drafted

Olave
(NO, 11th)

Drafted

Davis
(PHI, 13th)


Fly Eagles fly

Davis couldn’t resist forming a mini mosh pit with Eagles fans as he walked off the stage. “We jumped around, hopped around and stuff,” he said. That mini dance party could explain the bumps in the tracing line post-selection.

Medical expert’s perspective

Krumholtz said it isn’t reasonable to expect the athletes’ BPMs to return to normal resting rates immediately because of the excitement surrounding the experience. “That’s no longer anxiety or uncertainty, but it’s just celebratory,” he said.


Making mom proud

“This is the biggest moment of our lives,” Davis said of his mother’s reaction to her Eagles taking him. “Everything that she taught me, everything that I went through in college just to get to this point, I hope she can see her son and be proud.”



On to the NFL

The work is really just beginning when prospects get the call that they’ve been drafted. In some cases, players arrive in their new hometowns before the end of the night. As Davis said when asked what’s next for him, “Go to Philly! Get to work.”



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