PROVO — At first, former BYU offensive lineman Braden Brown didn't want to watch the National Football League draft "because I knew I'd be a stress case about it," he said.
By Saturday afternoon, Brown was glued to the television, watching the last few rounds unfold. Although Brown wasn't drafted, he was thrilled to sign an undrafted free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams after the draft concluded.
"I'm excited to put those Rams horns on again," said Brown, who starred with the Highland High Rams before going to BYU.
Former Cougar linebackers Brandon Ogletree (Miami Dolphins) and Uona Kaveinga (Denver Broncos) and offensive lineman Braden Hansen (Oakland Raiders) also signed free agent deals after the draft.
Defensive lineman Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah was the only former BYU player drafted. He was selected in the first round, No. 5 overall, by the Detroit Lions.
Brown said Saturday was a wild day as he waited to see what would happen with his football career.
"I was excited. I was nervous. It's just weird not knowing what your fate is going to be over the next four or five hours. You could go anywhere from Baltimore to Colorado. It's crazy not knowing what's going to be the next chapter in your life, or who is going to believe in you or draft you or sign you as a free agent. It's kind of crazy."
Going into the draft, Brown was optimistic and hopeful that he would be drafted.
"At first, I thought I would be disappointed if I wasn’t drafted," Brown said. "My agent and I talked before the draft and he told me that I had a chance to be a late-round draft pick. But he told me that there are a lot of players that aren't drafted that make teams as a free agent. Getting on to a team was the main goal."
An official from the Rams called Brown midway through the sixth round Saturday, telling him they were very interested in acquiring him. However, St. Louis was looking to make a trade to get a sixth- or seventh-round pick, since the team didn't have a selection in either of those rounds.
"They told me they wanted to take me, but they weren't able to make a trade," Brown said. "Their O-line coach called me a couple of times during the seventh round and talked to my agent. That's when I got more excited — when I talked to my agent about the possibility of being a free agent on the Rams. They have a pretty ideal-looking roster situation on the offensive line. We came to the conclusion that even if I would have been drafted in the sixth round, being able to go into camp with St. Louis was the best-case scenario overall. We're excited about it."
Brown will be heading out to St. Louis in the next week or two for a minicamp.
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