Takkarist McKinley of UCLA poses with NFL CommissionerRoger Goodell and a photo of his grandmother, Myrtle Collins, after being picked 26th overall by the Atlanta Falcons during the first round of the 2017 NFL draft April 27, 2017, in Philadelphia. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Way before Thursday evening and the suit fittings and the pampering that accompanies the NFL draft, there was peewee football and a mom yelling, “Don’t forget your shoulder pads!”

While Thursday was supposed to be all about these hulking young men and what their speed, toughness and power could bring to NFL teams, it was the moms who ended up stealing the show.


Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was picked 12th overall in the 2017 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. He attended the ceremony with his mother, to whom he attributes his success. After being selected, Watson was handed a letter written by his mother, and if you can watch the video below without crying, there’s a good chance you voted for Donald Trump.

Takkarist McKinley had promised his grandmother Myrtle Collins on her death bed that he was going to make it to a top college and that he’d get out of Richmond, Calif., where she’d raised him. Thirty seconds after he made that promise to her in 2011, she died. And on Thursday, McKinley was drafted 26th in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons. McKinley clutched a photograph of his grandmother, who, he noted, kept him out of gangs and used to watch wrestling with him when he was little.

“I made a promise to her and I stuck to it. I made that promise, man,” a fired-up McKinley told the NFL Network after being drafted, The Guardian reports. “I told her, before she passed away, I was going to live my dream. I was gonna go [to a Division I college]. I was gonna get out of Richmond, I was gonna get out of Oakland. I was gonna go to the NFL. I made that promise to her, man. Thirty seconds later, she passed away. And this is who I do it for. This is who I do it for, man. ... C’mon, man! Get to the damn quarterback! We gonna get to the quarterback!”


Watch McKinley’s impassioned speech below, and if you feel nothing, you are probably a nuclear-reactor maker for North Korea.


On a different front, Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp was not impressed with Cleveland Browns’ first draft pick and the 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.

On Sunday, Sapp told ESPN that he didn’t believe the former Texas A&M defensive end should be selected No. 1.

I don’t see it from this kid. I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, “There it is!” This kid, no, I don’t. I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears.


The seven-time Pro Bowler, who lost his job as an NFL analyst after he was caught shortchanging prostitutes, continued to take jabs at Garrett’s work ethic: “I see a lazy kid that makes four plays a game. This is the No. 1 guy? No, no, no. This ain’t even close.”

During a Facebook Live chat with fans for USA Today’s DraftWire, Garrett was asked his opinion of Sapp’s comments. As Garrett began talking, his mom, who was off camera, could be heard asking, “Is he still relevant?” and Garrett’s reaction is priceless. The whole exchange proves two things: First, no one can call you out like your mama, and second, you can’t run around talking reckless about somebody’s baby no matter how big and fast he is.


Watch the whole thing below:



Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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