Three years ago, Ryan Nassib entered the NFL as one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft. He surprisingly slid to round four. At the same time, defensive end Carl Nassib was an unknown walk-on at Penn State.
On Friday, the younger Nassib ended up being drafted a round higher than his older brother.
The decision of the Browns to make Carl Nassib the 65th overall pick represents the culmination of an amazing journey from a kid who never gave up on his NFL dream. Perhaps no one is more amazed than his former college coach, Bill O’Brien.
“I can remember one story where he came and basically . . . I questioned how important football was to him,” O’Brien said last November, when Nassib was having a breakout season with the Nittany Lions. “He said to me, ‘Football is really important to me. I’m going to play pro football,’ and I said to him, ‘Are you kidding me?’ You need to be concerned about playing at Penn State. Forget about pro football.'”
Nassib reflected on O’Brien’s advice after being selected by Cleveland.
“I always had dreams of playing in the NFL since as long as I can remember,” Nassib said. “A lot of people did not agree with that and that never deterred me from my dream. Bill O’Brien told me what he thought so I just kept working my hardest and never let that phase me.”
As Nassib’s hard work has led to success, he has apparently worked even harder. Which means he could be working harder still now that he’s in the NFL.
“Earning a scholarship was incredible,” Nassib told reporters on Friday. “When I earned my scholarship, it really motivated me to let everybody that I was the real deal. It was a great experience at Penn State. I could not have asked for anything more from Penn State.”
The Browns will be asking for plenty from Nassib, a draft pick that the front office opted to use instead of trade.