At times, the wait for a rookie can be exasperating as his name isn't called as the day rolls on. Brady Quinn found out about that as the cameras kept showing him from the third pick on. Marcus McCauley didn't have the glare of the hot lights on him, but the Fresno State cornerback was just as frustrated.
But that hasn't been anything unusual for McCauley. His entire 2006 season was a source of frustration. Entering his senior season, he was viewed by many draft observers as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft and even ESPN analyst Mel Kiper listed him as one of the top 15 prospects heading into the season.
But then it all fell apart. The team was terrible and it affected everyone – including McCauley, who was the best known player on the team.
"I can't go back and change anything," McCauley said. "Things played out the way they did. I just try to overdo things because our team was struggling and I learned a lesson from it – just about doing your job and, if the team is struggling, you just have to stick to what you do and try not to do other people's job."
As the season collapsed, the frustration grew with coaches and players alike. Over the final four games of the season, McCauley had his starting job taken away from him. While he played just about as much as he did the previous year, he had his dignity challenged and didn't get the chance to redeem himself.
"Our coaching staff pretty much got fed up with the way the season was going," McCauley said. "We were 1-7 and I was pretty much used an example because I was the name on the team. I didn't feel I deserved to get benched. But it's all a learning experience."
The problems went much deeper than that for McCauley. Whether sinister intent or not, none of his coaches and advisers told him that, had he come out in the draft following the 2005 season, he likely would have gone in the first round. A year later, he went in the third round and holds a little resentment over it.
"Nobody gave me any idea that I would be a high draft choice," McCauley said. "Maybe it was kept under wraps because our other corner was leaving and they didn't want to lose their entire secondary. I just found out a couple of days ago that I would have been a high draft choice if I had left last year."
But, regardless of how forgettable his 2006 season was, McCauley is primed to erase that memory and regain his form from 2005. He and his coaches have made peace and he's no longer concerning himself with team turmoil or politics – instead focusing on the new challenge at hand.
"People do things for whatever reasons they do," McCauley said. "I believe if you have a great player, you want to keep him around for an extra year. But everything worked out and I'm happy to be a Viking. Maybe this season was a humbling experience and a learning experience that was just meant to be for me."
McCauley Overcomes Frustrating 2006
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