Remember when Geno Smith didn’t get picked in the first round of the 2013 draft, declared he wasn’t returning to the green room for the second night of the proceedings, but then did? That’s a dynamic that has become glossed over now that the draft has become a road show.
A total of 21 players showed up for round one. Five went undrafted. According to a league spokesperson, only one returned on Friday: Washington cornerback Kevin King.
The other four opted not to return. Those who left were Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell, and Alabama tackle Cam Robinson.
King had a short wait on Friday. He was the first pick of the second night, to the Packers. Two of the other guys who left, Robinson and McDowell, went second and third, to the Jaguars and Seahawks, respectively. Kizer was the 20th selection in round two to the Browns, and Awuzie went 28th in round two to the Cowboys.
It’s up to the players whether to go and whether to stay. And they can leave whenever they want. Unless and until the NFL pays them a fee to show up and to stick around, it’s entirely up to them whether to continue to be, as Joe Thomas described it, unpaid actors in a soap opera.