It’s every young football player’s dream to be drafted.
Whether it’s the first round or the seventh round, to receive that phone call and hear your name called out from the NFL Draft podium has to be a special moment.
But what happens when your name is not called?
Jaxon Shipley of the Arizona Cardinals is currently in the process of figuring that out.
The productive receiver from the University of Texas wasn’t drafted, so he had plenty of options on where he would pursue his NFL dreams. He chose the Cardinals.
“I really like the offense and I really like the coaches,” Shipley told Doug and Wolf Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The 22-year-old also liked the fact that others who have taken his path to the league have received a fair shake in making the roster.
“There’s been guys that have been undrafted, free agents that have come in and made the team,” he explained. “There’s been three each year I think, for the last couple of years.
“It just seems like these coaches don’t really care if you were drafted or not, they want the best guys to be playing and if they feel like you deserve to be playing if you were drafted or not, they’re going to give you a chance. I think that was one of the big factors for me.”
Indeed, three undrafted rookies have been on the Cardinals’ roster in each of the two previous seasons under head coach Bruce Arians.
In 2013, wide receiver Jaron Brown, linebacker Kenny Demens and safety Tony Jefferson all made the squad. The next season, linebacker Glenn Carson, kicker Chandler Catanzaro and defensive lineman Josh Mauro all grabbed a spot.
All six players are still on the roster.
Shipley is one of 18 undrafted rookies with the team, which just wrapped up minicamp in Tempe last week. Despite that high number, he doesn’t worry about the odds.
“I don’t think you can,” he said. “You’ve got to be confident in yourself and you’ve got to be confident in your abilities. I don’t care whether I make this team as a special teams guy or a receiver, it doesn’t matter to me.
“I just want to be on the field. I’m going to try to make this team in whatever way possible. If that’s being a gunner or being a return man — whatever it is — that’s fine with me. I just want to be able to have a shot regardless of what position it is.”
Shipley will have his next chance to stand out in hopes of winning a roster spot in about six weeks. The Cardinals open training camp in Glendale on August 1.