More than 150 players and 36 defensive lineman were drafted before Temple defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis. You might be able to understand how stressful it is to wait for something you want so dearly. The wait to officially become an NFL player did wear on Ioannidis.
"It’s stressful watching the draft," he said. "Watching player after player, round after round. But I knew my time was coming, I knew there was a plan. I was just waiting on my moment."
That moment arrived at pick No. 152 as the Washington Redskins called upon the former Owl. Suddenly, stress gave way to smiles.
"If I could’ve seen my face, a big smile swept across it," Ioannidis said. "I just remember turning to my mom and just being so incredibly grateful.”
Ioannidis described himself as a "relentless, tough player who is going to bring a lot to the table." And he does bring a lot of strength. Ioannidis' 32 reps on the bench press at this year's combine tied for the second-most among all defensive linemen. That power helped him become an All-American Athletic Conference player two years in a row. He racked up more than 20 tackles for loss over his final two seasons in college.
Ioannidis played at spots all along Temple's defensive line and hopes to bring a bit of versatility to the Redskins' front. He believes he's probably best suited to be a five-technique player, but he'll leave such decisions up to Washington's brass. Right now, he's just happy to be a pro, finally.
"This is all very new to me," Ioannidis said with a laugh.
Breaking Burgundy publisher Ben Standig and contributor Dan Roth contributed to this report from Ashburn, Va.
Talk sports and whatever else with Brian Murphy on Twitter: @Spokes_Murphy