GREAT FALLS — Attending the NFL draft is a bucket list item for many football fans. And after this weekend, Brayden Ginnaty and Cade Mares can emphatically cross it off their list.
The two CMR seniors traveled to Philadelphia with their families to watch the draft live, but ended up experiencing more than they bargained for. A representative from “NFL On Location” approached them with an opportunity to announce a draft pick on stage.
“They asked my dad and called him over and asked him if he wanted to announce a pick the next day,” recalled Mares. “He said they should just have us do it.”
“It was kind of a dream come true, to be honest,” added Ginnaty. “Going on stage just made the weekend that much better.”
In the seventh round of the draft on Saturday, the two friends took the stage in front of hundreds of fans and cameras broadcasting the proceedings live on NFL Network and announced the 234th pick of the draft.
The Los Angeles Rams selected Ejaun Price, a linebacker out of Pittsburgh.
“When I was sitting in the stands I was fine, I was like, ‘This won’t be that bad,’” said the soft-spoken Ginnaty. “And then they came and got us after they were about ready to announce, so we were on stage within a minute from our seats.”
“The most nerve-wracking thing was just trying to get the name right,” he said.
Brayden and Cade are fans of the Broncos and Cowboys, respectively, but after the draft, they knew they’d be fans of Price for life.
“We’ve been following it, it’s pretty funny,” Ginnaty said. “They’ve been saying that he’s one of the better picks in the draft.”
“He was on an NFL mobile thing for being like a steal of the draft or something,” added Mares. “I was looking up his stats after we were walking out of the draft, and he had a bunch of sacks and tackles-for-loss in his junior or senior season. He might be decent.”
As cool as the moment was, their first two days in Philly were even cooler.
“We had backstage passes for the first day when all the first-round picks walked on the red carpet to get their pictures taken,” Mares said. “Then on Day 2 they had NFL legends on the red carpet. We got to meet Mike Alstott, Tony Boselli, Anthony Munoz and John Randall.”
They even got to meet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, which begs the question: Were they among the thousands of NFL fans who booed Goodell when he took the stage?
“No comment,” laughed Mares.
All in all, it was an experience neither will soon forget.
“Everyone couldn’t believe it,” Ginnaty said about the reaction of his friends. “People asked if it was really happening. After I did it people were still asking me. Just a pretty crazy experience.”