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With the 2013 NFL Draft just a few weeks away, Dolphins.com will be reminiscing with some of your favorite former Miami Dolphins about their draft day experiences.
Today we catch up with wide receiver Nat Moore, selected in the third round (78th overall) of the 1974 NFL Draft out of Florida, running back Mercury Morris, selected in the third round (63rd overall) of the 1969 draft out of West Texas State and punter/tight end Larry Seiple, selected in the seventh round (163rd overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft out of Kentucky.
What stands out to you the most from your Draft Day experience?
Nat Moore: “I thought I was going to be a Cowboy. I was being chaperoned and entertained by a Cowboy scout to make sure I didn’t sign with the World Football League before the draft. Ironically, the one team that I didn’t talk to the whole time was the team that drafted me, which was the Dolphins in the third round.”
Mercury Morris: “The fact that I didn’t get the call until Day 2. That was the bad news because I thought I was going to go in the first or second round. I went in the third round because the Dolphins were drafting linemen. They drafted Bob Heinz ahead of me and I was a third-round draft pick. I finished ninth in the balloting for the Heisman that year, Juice (O.J. Simpson) finished first, but at that time running backs were not 5-10, 185 pounds, they were 6-2, 215 like Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung, which is the same as (Larry) Csonka and (Jim) Kiick, so it was an uphill battle from the beginning. But knowing that I got drafted by the Dolphins, I watched Super Bowl III and I was there when Shula lost to the Jets in that game and Earl (Morrall) was there so it was kind of like the karma was coming around. Little did I know that would be my office for the next six years playing for the Dolphins.”
Larry Seiple: “You want me to remember that far back? The memory I have the most about then is that I was called by Buffalo very early on the second day and their pick was coming up and they said they were thinking about drafting me at that time. That would have been in the sixth round but that came and went and they didn’t do it. So I found out on a call with Miami that they had drafted me and of course it all worked out for me.”
Where were you on Draft Day?
Moore: “I was in Gainesville at my apartment. I was still in school. Back in those days you could stay in school and come in and go through the minicamp and then you finished up in June and then you came back in late July.”
Morris: “I was in Canyon, Texas, where I went to school at West Texas. I was just running around in my Corvette I had bought ahead of time.”
Seiple: “I was in an apartment with my wife at the University of Kentucky. Let’s see, I had just finished playing my senior year and there were a couple of us that thought we might get drafted but we weren’t sure. The first day comes up and you don’t get drafted you’re a little disappointed. At that time they had 17 rounds and they did like the first four or five on the first day and then they did the rest of them the next day. I had been drafted in the seventh round so I was the second day and if I remember correctly we were just sitting by the phone waiting for phone calls. It wasn’t televised so there was no way of knowing who was up other than if you had it on the radio but I’m not even sure of that.”
How did you celebrate being drafted?
Moore: “I don’t remember doing anything special, other than kicking the guy out in Dallas.”
Morris: “It was different then because you were just glad to be on a team and it wasn’t so much a celebration but that part of it is over now and now you’re going to the next level. These guys have a gigantic celebration about it but us, it was just like, ‘Hey, now you’re on the team. Get to work.’ They brought us down here I think somewhere in February of that year of 1969 and Heinz and myself and the first five draft choices, we came down here and they introduced us to George Wilson and the whole nine yards.”
Seiple: “We went out and celebrated. There was a bunch of guys from Kentucky that were drafted like Bob Winfield and some that went as free agents. So we all went out with our wives and our girlfriends and we celebrated a little bit.”
What did you personally do in preparation for the draft to help your draft position as far as special workouts, etc.?
Moore: “Nothing. I mean if I could play football then I could play football. If you didn’t look at the tapes and say, ‘Hmm, I think he can play,’ then I don’t know anything else I was going to do because I was doing that against the top competition in the SEC, the University of Miami and Florida State. I don’t think I could have shown anything I didn’t show already. If I went through college and proved I could play then going to all of these different camps, what’s it going to change? I’m not a big proponent of that. I think that sometimes because they go and they do that, they go through testing very well at the Combine, guys move up that are not players and then in the end teams get burned by that.”
Morris: “We didn’t have any of the stuff they do now. Are you kidding me? You were drafted out of college, literally. It wasn’t like somebody was waiting for you to see what your skills were. They already had a look at what your skills were when you got drafted. Joe Robbie drafted me. He liked the way that I ran and he liked my name. Those were the reasons why I’m here.”
Seiple: “They didn’t have any places to go to prepare for the draft. There wasn’t even a Combine back then so we worked out on our own. We had obviously our own workout facility right there at the University of Kentucky and you worked out on your own and you did what you had to do. I can’t even remember if scouts even came around to be honest with you because that was so long ago.”
Was there something about your interviews with prospective coaches before the draft that stood out?
Moore: “No, not really. I don’t even know what a Wonderlic test is. They checked out my health and talked to me about whether I’d be a wide receiver or a running back because I had been a running back and basically that was pretty much it.”
Morris: “No, none of that stuff. It was a business. They saw us on film and that was it. No interviews.”
Seiple: “They didn’t do interviews back then like they do now. They did everything off of film work and if they came around to different schools it was scouts only and that was it so no interviews.”
What advice would you give to this year’s class of draft choices?
Moore: “The first thing is as soon as you can get that playbook, bury your nose in it. This is what you’ve worked for your whole life, and the only way you can really compete for a job is you’ve got to know what to do. Once you know what to do it allows you to turn loose your athletic ability. If you don’t you’re thinking and if you’re thinking the play’s over.”
Morris: “Once you get here make the game plan each week the most important thing and not yourself. When a guy says, ‘Yeah, I’ve got my A game today,’ well, if you’ve got it today you’re supposed to have it Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then you’re just showing up to put you’re A game on the field. When you come with you’re A game on Sunday then that’s you’re A game Sunday, but you’re preparation and what you do Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, that’s what wins games. We never won a game on Sunday. We always had a test and to see if we passed our test based on what you did Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. So it didn’t matter who you played, it only mattered how you prepared. In the words of John Wooden, don’t confuse activity with achievement because you haven’t done anything yet.”
Seiple: “I think they’ve got to get in training camp early and use their head and plan and have a goal for what they want to do and how they want to compete and make sure they compete on every snap, even in practice. Don’t think that just because you were drafted you’ve made the team. You haven’t made the team yet so you have to work your tail off to be able to prove the coaches and to the veterans and to the head coach that your worthy of the draft choice.”