Ben Tate didn’t garner an invitation to New York for the NFL draft, so the former Auburn running back came up with an alternate method to get some camera time.
Tate, who will watch the draft from his uncle’s house in Brandywine, Md., has linked a live Internet stream to his Facebook page, vowing to give fans a “fly on the wall” perspective of his draft experience — up to and including when he gets selected.
“You never know what you’re going to see on there,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be holding too much back.”
The draft, which takes place from today until Saturday, might be just as unpredictable. Tate is one of a handful of Auburn players awaiting their draft fate, along with cornerback Walt McFadden, defensive end/linebacker Antonio Coleman and defensive tackle Jake Ricks.
Tate, who ran for 1,362 yards as a senior, should be the first Tiger off the board. He’ll be the first Auburn running back picked since the Cincinnati Bengals selected Kenny Irons in the second round in 2007.
Tate is projected to go somewhere in the second- to fourth-round range after impressing at the NFL scouting combine, where he tied for first among running backs in bench press reps and trailed only Clemson’s C.J. Spiller in the 40-yard dash.
“I think I really couldn’t do too much more than any other prospect has done to help improve my stock,” Tate said.
That’s not to say Tate knows who is going to draft him. He has an idea, although he declined to reveal any of the teams with which he’s spoken. Until he hears his name called, he’s trying to stay relaxed.
“I’m just kind of chill right now,” he said. “I’m not really excited yet. I’m not really too nervous yet. I’m just trying to do my best right now to really keep my mind off of it. I really don’t have any crazy feelings yet, but I’m pretty sure once it starts and it gets late into Thursday and Friday that I’ll start getting pretty nervous then.”
McFadden, meanwhile, has tried to move past being snubbed for selection to the NFL combine.
“I was just disappointed how everything fell, not being able to go to the combine and compete with the best of the best,” he said. “It got me down. … But I can’t fault them for what has had happened, so it just made me a stronger person. I was more disappointed than anything but I always knew I was going to be a draftable athlete.”
Although ESPN projects him as a mid- to late-round pick, McFadden has heard he could go as high as the late third or early fourth. He’s had conversations with Houston, Oakland, Miami, Chicago and New England.
History is on his side. Auburn has had a cornerback selected in four of the last five drafts. Just last year, Jerraud Powers went higher than expected, plucked by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round.
McFadden thinks his size will help. He measured in taller than expected, a 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches. He also bulked up from 170 to 186 pounds while keeping his speed. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at Auburn’s Pro Day.