When the fourth round of the NFL Draft came along around 11 a.m. last Sunday, Raheem Brock’s nerves started to kick in. The 6-foot-4-inch 257-pound defensive end sat and watched with every intention of seeing his name flash across the bottom of the television screen as ESPN’s Chris Berman, Mel Kiper Jr. and Co. yapped away endlessly about the draft and what players were still available.
“The day was pretty tough. I thought I was going to go in like the fourth or fifth round,” Brock said. “And after that I started changing the channels, starting to worry even though I heard from teams telling me that they were trying on picking me up.”
The sixth round came and went as well. At the start of the seventh and final round Brock was restless; his future still uncertain after most experts had him going in the fourth-to-fifth round in the draft. So he decided to kill some time and some anxiety with video games. He and his buddies sat and played, still watching the other television set while the draft continued.
Then the inevitable happened. Brock, who has been a fan and follower of the Philadelphia Eagles and still has a poster of former quarterback Randall Cunningham hanging over his bed, was the Eagles final pick of the draft. He registered as the 238th overall pick in the draft.
“He actually fell a little bit further than we anticipated, so we snagged him up with our last pick,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. “We look forward to bringing two local guys from two local colleges, Villanova and Temple, into the program now.”
The local guy from Villanova Reid was talking about is Wildcat running back Brian Westbrook, one of the most dominant players in NCAA I-AA football history.
Brock’s dreams of playing in the NFL are here considering he holds up in mini-camps and being able to play for his hometown Eagles is surreal.
“When the Eagles picked me up it kind of made up for everything else, going into the seventh round,” Brock said. “I mean, I always dreamed about playing for the Eagles so it’s a good thing.”
Veteran’s Stadium is no outlander to Brock, who will play eight games a season at the Vet with the Eagles compared to the two or three games the Owls have there each season.
“I was very pleased that he got drafted in town so we can watch him play and keep up a lot more with how he’s doing,” Temple football head coach Bobby Wallace said. “From a personal standpoint, a selfish standpoint, I’m glad he’s with the Eagles and in Philly and glad he’s going to get the opportunity [to play in the NFL].”
A second-team All-Big East choice, Brock compiled 160 tackles (30 behind the line of scrimmage), 11 sacks and 35 quarterback pressures in his 37 games for Temple.
“I tried to follow [the Eagles] as much as I could,” Brock said, “but the way we practice at Temple we don’t get to watch that many football games. So the most games we get to watch are Monday Night Football games.”
If Brock can show Reid and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson that his size won’t be a factor on the defensive line and that he can help out with stopping the run then he could be playing on Monday Night Football this season. Being able to play several positions, as he did in high school and early on in college, Brock could find a possible roster spot on special teams.
Brock is also following the footsteps of his father, Zachary Dixon, who played for the Eagles during his six-year stint in the NFL. The Eagles were one of five teams Dixon played for in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Brock is not the only Owl to find himself on an NFL roster. Fullback Jason McKie also signed with the Eagles, fullback Harold Jackson wound up with the Cincinnati Bengals and defensive back Chonn Lacey signed with the New Orleans Saints.
Chris Silva can be reahed at Cbsrican@aol.com