There will be plenty of heartwarming displays at the 2019 NFL Draft. There will be players who combined hard work and athleticism to earn their chance to play football at the highest level. There will be beloved NFL veterans making their brief return to the spotlight to rally their team’s fans by announcing a mid-round selection. There will be presenters who overcame cancer to make their dreams come true by telling the world who their favorite franchise is adding to the roster this spring.
There will also be at least one Cowboys legend who gets booed mercilessly by a not-insignificant section of the crowd.
Yes, booing is a time-honored tradition at the NFL Draft, hitting everything from cocksure veterans looking to rile up a rival fanbase to whomever the Jets draft in the first round. This year, fans in Nashville will have a wide assortment of current and former players to cheer or jeer when all 32 teams begin their annual reloading process.
Some, like Titans great Eddie George, are all but guaranteed a warm reception. Others, like Tennessee-killing wideouts Reggie Wayne and DeAndre Hopkins, could get some WWE-style shade from pockets of what promises to be an expansive crowd.
There are 64 NFL veterans set to make picks for their teams in the second and third rounds of the 2019 draft — the whole list can be found here. So who will draw the loudest boos (and soak them up smiling)? We’ve got some ideas.
David Tyree, New York Giants
Patriots fans travel well, especially to an AFC rival with cheap tickets. New Englanders have flooded Adelphia Coliseum LP Field Nissan Stadium for away games in years past, and it stands to reason there will be a healthy contingent in Music City for a draft in which Bill Belichick holds 12 picks — including five on Day 2.
And those fans are NOT going to be happy to see the man who kept their favorite team from a perfect season.
Tyree only had four postseason receptions in his seven-year career, but three came against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. One was a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Tyree’s claim to fame is the helmet catch that helped New York derail New England’s question for a 19-0 2007 campaign. There’s no question it’ll be brought up when he makes the Giants’ third-round pick Friday. And there’s no question any Patriots fans, sufficiently lubricated on a Friday evening, will boo the hell out of him.
Terrell Owens, San Francisco 49ers
No matter what connection you want to make based on the teams he played for — the 49ers, Eagles, and Cowboys — hate for T.O. is fairly widespread and not confined to rivalries. From crotchety old media members to crotchety old fans that hate fun, there will always be boos for Terrell Owens.
Of course, there will also probably be cheers. He has a ton of fans, as a player of his caliber should. But he also loves the boos, or at least gives the impression that he loves the boos. T.O. wants you to be inspired to yell something when you see him, whether it’s a cheer or boo. If I were going to be there, I would certainly be cheering.
But if it’s primarily boos he’s greeted with? I’m sure he’ll be fine with it.
Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Rams went with Jackie Slater and Orlando Pace — two excellent selections — for their pick announcements, but if you ask me they missed out on a great opportunity. They should’ve had former linebacker Mike Jones make a pick. He’s the one who tackled Kevin Dyson near the goal line in Super Bowl 34 and cost the Titans a Lombardi Trophy. It could’ve been a great moment of antagonism in Nashville.
But it just leaves the door open for someone else to jump into the instigator role and talk some trash to the Titans faithful a la David Akers with Cowboys fans last year.
It’d be surprising and out of character if it came from the other AFC South reps. Both Texansreceiver DeAndre Hopkins and former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor are mostly mild-mannered and quiet. Former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne doesn’t really seem like someone who’d jump at the chance to poke at Titans fans either.
My guess is that Scobee will be the one who takes Akers’ kickers-talking-shit torch and runs with it. The former Jaguars kicker once had Twitter beef with DeSean Jackson, and has spent his retirement chugging beers with fans in Duval and making guest appearances on the Jaguars’ social media accounts.
The Jaguars are probably the closest thing the Titans have to a rival, and Scobee seems like the kind of guy who would have fun getting the Tennessee crowd riled up.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
As a superstar player for a divisional rival — and one of the best receivers in the league — Nuk Hopkins isn’t going to be super popular in Nashville.