What stands out to you the most from your draft-day experience?
Ronnie Brown: "For me, it was the trip to New York - being invited to the draft. That was something I probably couldn't have dreamed of growing up. I wasn't even thinking about playing professional football, so being a part of that, being thought of as a first round guy, that was surprising."
Where were you on draft day?
Brown: "Being in New York for the draft was amazing. For one, because of all the other guys who were there and getting to know those guys. That was a great experience in itself because these were some of the guys that I watched during the week or you saw in highlights. So that was exciting. But the main part for me was having my family there, in New York to have that experience with me, to be able to share those memories. That was something that we can talk about for the rest of our lives, coming from a small town in Georgia and having my family up in New York for the draft."
Was there something about your interviews with prospective coaches before draft day that stood out?
Brown: "Nothing at all. During the draft process during my senior year I just wanted to give myself an opportunity to be drafted at a higher place. Never did I think that would be in the first round. I couldn't even fathom the number two pick. During the interview process I enjoyed it. I tried to answer the questions as truthfully as possible. But there was no inkling it was going to be the Miami Dolphins at the number two pick. There were a group of us at Auburn that went in the first round, so at the pro day there were a lot of guys (scouts) there and at the combine I spoke to a lot of teams. So there wasn't any 'we're leaning towards this' or 'we're thinking of taking you.' It was just a surprise."
How did you celebrate being drafted?
Brown: "I was in the green room in the back when the draft started. When a guy gets drafted you do the whole green room thing and then you walk up and go on stage and get the hat from the Commissioner. It was myself, my agent, my parents – I can't remember who else was at my table. It was a blur after that. Shortly after the draft started, I was shocked when my agent tapped me on my arm and said, 'Take the phone – it's Nick Saban from the Miami Dolphins.' I'm thinking, stop playing around, this is not the time to joke. I looked at Braylon Edwards' table, thinking it's too good to be true, coming from a small town in Georgia to playing at Auburn to be drafted second by Miami."
What advice would you give to this year's class of draft choices?
Brown: "For me, I was lucky. I had an opportunity when I came in there was a great group of older guys, including one who recently made the Hall of Fame, Jason Taylor. I had guys like him, Zach Thomas, Junior Seau. These guys were the leaders of the football team so they helped me make the transition. If I could tell them anything, it would be to get with guys who hold themselves accountable, who carry themselves in a professional way, and not only do they perform on the field but also the things they do off the field and their involvement in the community. Try to surround yourself with guys like that."