Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, Steelers players and coaches will be sharing their Draft Day Memories, from the time they went to the NFL Scouting Combine, through the moment they were drafted. And in some cases, share what it was like when neither of those things happened. In this installment, Dan McCullers shares his story.
Dan McCullers – Sixth Round - 2014 – Tennessee **
"The combine was* *a crazy experience, starting with all of the coaches looking at you and studying your tape. It was crazy for me trying to learn, get through all of the tests, meetings. It was very nerve wracking trying to be on point for everything, have all the right answers, make sure you present yourself well for the coaches. Overall I feel like I did pretty well and set a good example. I was glad when it was over with.
"My only meeting there was with the Steelers. It's crazy how things turn out. I talked with Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the whole staff. We had a great conversation. They wanted to learn about me and how I play the game and the things I can improve on and how I can help them out. I feel like we had a great meeting.
"I met with individual coaches and organizations, but the Steelers were the only in room meeting I had. I walked in there and was kind of nervous, going in and talking to all of the coaches face to face. I feel like I did a great job talking to them and I think the coaches appreciated how I presented myself.
"I had my pro day and we worked hard, but it was different. I didn't run the 40-yard dash at the combine so I ran it at my pro day. I didn't hate it. It's a tradition to run the 40. I ran a 5.3. I had trained hard for it and felt like I did a good job.
"The draft was a grueling, tough time the whole three days trying to see where you get picked and see what team you will land at. I landed on the third day. The first two days were crazy, but the third day was a great day. The one team that picked me was the Steelers and I was happy for that.
"I tuned in and watched the first day and saw guys I trained with get picked up. I was happy to see them. I knew my name wouldn't be called the first day because of where they had me in the rankings.
"Then you keep watching. It's very tough seeing guys you never heard of get picked up before you. The first day I watched it by myself. The second day we had a little party at a restaurant. I didn't get picked up that night either. It was a good and bad moment. Just to be with the family was good, but not to get picked up was bad. I was always upbeat and positive about it and knew my time would come. I didn't receive any calls the second day. I was just watching the draft hoping to get picked up. They were supportive, telling me to keep my head up and encourage me. It was big for them to be there. The third night I went to my aunt's house and the whole family was there and I shared it with them.
Photos of Sixth-Round Draft Pick defensive lineman Daniel McCullers from the University of Tennessee.
"The third day my phone rang. When I answered the phone I said who is this and the response was Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Steelers. I was like 'Oh my God.' We talked and he said we want to work with you and we are going to draft you. It was a crazy moment. Everyone was cheering for me because my name showed up on the television and all of my highlights, things like that. It was a great moment. I can't even explain what it's like. It was a great moment seeing my name there, seeing my highlights, plays I made, hearing the guys talk about me and saying I could be a good player, a work in progress, a raw talent.
"From my family it was like a big roar. I got a lot of hugs, handshakes. It was a great experience. All you need is one team that likes you and on the third day, the Steelers were that team.
"After I talked to Mike Tomlin I had a couple of interviews that went well. After that I went to my family and it was a big celebration again. Everyone was happy for me, a lot of tears, a lot of smiles, people being excited for me. I will never forget it.
"I didn't know tears would come. It was such a good moment, the joy and positivity of getting drafted. I will never forget it. Happy tears are the best tears."