Arizona Cardinals: Monti Ossenfort, Jonathan Gannon explain what they love about the draft

None of us truly understands the grind of what goes on behind closed doors in the yearly preparation for the NFL draft.

Arizona Cardinals: Monti Ossenfort, Jonathan Gannon explain what they love about the draft

Of course, it’s surely true that those blessed to be a part of it experience it on a daily basis while also hoping the decisions they make will be good ones and help their teams be successful.

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort spent 21 years with four NFL teams hoping that one day he’d get the opportunity to be a leader of a team’s personnel operation. He is in that hot seat now and revels in the daily challenge.

So it was Thursday that he was asked simply what he loves most about the draft.

Ossenfort quickly said, “I love the preparation that goes into it. I have one bad day on the job, and it’s the Monday after the draft because that’s when I get the spreadsheet of next year’s prospects and it’s blank. I’m like, ‘Oh boy, I got a long way to go before next year’s draft.’

“There’s a lot that goes into it. A lot of people contribute to it. I love the preparation and I love draft night.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Gannon was on a coaching path for four years until spending three years in scouting with the Rams. He then was back in coaching in 2012 and 11 years later became the Cardinals’ head coach.

He was asked Thursday if he misses any of the daily grind of scouting.

“Wow, that’s a good question,” Gannon said. “Yeah, there are, but I get that fix through this process. The evaluation of players and people, how you’re coming up with your opinions when the boss asks and growing from those. Not every building is the same and not every situation. Guys talk about this guy made it, this guy didn’t, well there’s a lot of variables that go into that, that maybe I wasn’t wrong or maybe I wasn’t right.

“You really don’t know, but we know the people that we’re bringing in, what we want to see out of them and why we’re selecting them. The evaluation piece is cool, but off the top of my head, I say no because I don’t get to teach schematics, so I’ll let him (Ossenfort) do all the heavy lifting there.”

Both, though, spoke about another aspect of the draft they love.

Said Ossenfort, “I think a really underrated thing for me that I love to do; last year was my first chance to do it (but) I had been able to witness it, is the opportunity to pick up the phone and call these guys who (for them) this has been their lifelong dream and they’re surrounded by friends and family.

“To be able to tell them that their dream is going to come true, and their life is about to change and to be able to hand the phone to (owner) Michael (Bidwill) and hand the phone to JG and welcome them to our team is an awesome experience and one that I’m excited to do again next weekend.”

Your thoughts, Mr. Gannon?

“Same,” the head coach said. “I get a tear in my eye when he (Ossenfort) talked about it. It’s cool. That’s the human element of the game and because it is so performance-driven, results (based). A cut-throat business and bottom line, but any time there’s a human element like what he just said, by the time I get the phone, I’m third and I typically can’t even talk. They’re choked up. It’s a really cool thing and then seeing them walk in the building for the first time is pretty cool too.”

Ah, the human element for guys that are much more than names on thousands of mock drafts.

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