Jacksonville Jaguars video director Mike Perkins will pick up the phone on Saturday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall in New York City at 4:00 p.m. and Jaguars national scout Andy Dengler will be on the other end from the club's draft room inside Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The two will not hang up until nearly six hours later when the first two rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft concludes.
The "six hour" phone call is one of the many behind-the-scenes duties that will take place over the weekend as the draft unfolds. Perkins is making his 14th consecutive trip to New York City for the draft and will be joined the club's equipment manager, Drew Hampton. They are the eyes and ears of the club at the draft site.
The duo left Jacksonville on an early-morning flight Friday and will do a walk-through at Radio City Music Hall in the evening. Everything will be set for their arrival on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
"We will get there and call in, make sure everything is in order," Perkins said.
They sit at a table reserved for the Jaguars, equipped with a phone, headset and all the necessary draft information. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes the podium on Saturday and announces the start of the draft, Perkins and Dengler begin their long-distance connection.
"You talk to him occasionally but not all the time," Perkins said. "You are just on the line."
The process is pretty simple when the Jaguars are on the clock. Dengler alerts Perkins to the Jaguars pick and he writes the name on an index card. Perkins turns the card over until it's time to turn the pick in.
"There is the whole process of trying to get the kid on the phone, his agent, whoever, so a lot of times they don't want to just turn it in without talking to the kid," Perkins said. "The flipside is you wait on someone to call and trade, which will sometimes happen."
When the clock winds down, a runner stationed behind the Jaguars' table grabs the card and proceeds to the stage where the pick will be announced.
Saturday can be extremely long for the crew in New York with the Jaguars scheduled for only two picks. In 2008, the first round consumed three hours and 30 minutes and the second, two hours and 23 minutes. Sunday goes by quicker with the time allotment for each selection down to five minutes, and the trades among teams pick up as well.
Hampton will record all the trades that are announced in New York and pass along the information to the group in Jacksonville. The television coverage of the draft on Sunday is interrupted by commercials and it's crucial to relay the trade information.
"They will announce it in New York, but they are not putting it on the television," Perkins said. "Whoever goes with me is responsible for recording the trades."
Does the adrenaline start to flow when the Jaguars are on the clock?
"Not when you have been doing it for a while," Perkins said.
Perkins will be back at his table in New York on Sunday expecting a 10:00 a.m. phone call from Dengler. That call will last well past 6:00 p.m.
Expected players at Draft Day Party
##### Mentors serve key role in NFL
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio knows the importance of having veteran players help bring along the younger guys. He remembers entering the NFL in 1985 as a third round pick of the New Orleans Saints and players like Glen Redd, Rickey Jackson and Scott Pelluer serving as a mentor for him.
"They were all linebackers at that time and they took me in and kind of explained, 'Hey rook, you don't do that. This is what you do,'" Del Rio said.
Del Rio is hoping for the same from the three veterans the club has signed in the offseason with Sean Considine, Torry Holt and Tra Thomas.
"These guys are great human beings that are consummate pros, that are going to be good citizens in our community," Del Rio said. "They're going to come in, they're going to bust their butt every day for us on the practice field, in the locker room. They know what it takes to win."
##### Heal Zoo Walk set for Sunday
Jaguars tight end Greg Estandia will join several of his teammates on Sunday at the Heal Zoo Walk for Autism at the Jacksonville Zoo. The HEAL Foundation is developing a community that is dedicated to autism medical research, treatment and education of individuals, community awareness, and, ultimately, prevention of autism spectrum disorders. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the walk starting at 8:30 a.m. Radio Disney will be set up at the finish line. Children 12 and under are free with a charge of $15 per person for ages 13 and up.
Defensive back Brian Witherspoon visited The Sanctuary on 8th Street earlier this week, his second trip in as many weeks … Tony Pashos made a special appearance at Ocean Palms Elementary School on Thursday where he spoke to the fifth grade class about character and accepting others "who may be a little different." Pashos attended a charity event in the evening at the Casa Marina Hotel to raise money for a special needs school.
Holt arrives in Jacksonville
##### Let the grading begin
Newspapers, websites, sports talk shows and the other media outlets will spend next week dissecting each club's draft class. It's hard to judge a class before they get on the field and most people believe it should be looked at three years later.
"You always get judged three years down the road," Jaguars director of player personnel Terry McDonough said. "I have been a part of 18 drafts. The drafts I have been a part of when we received 'A' grades, three years later you look at it and it wasn't an A. I have been part of some drafts where the day after the draft you get C's and D's and they turn out to be great drafts."
NFL DRAFT, DID YOU KNOW?
##### Players talk about new uniforms
Maurice Jones-Drew - "I love it. The fit definitely is something a player needs so he can't get grabbed, especially receivers and corners. But more than anything the material keeps you cool in the hot games and warm in the cool games. So I definitely think Reebok and everyone did a good job working and getting us fit."
David Garrard - "It really feels like a t-shirt. If you think about the Dri-Fit t-shirts that are out now, it really fits and feels like that. Drew Hampton, our equipment guy, has been telling us all these different percentages of how it will remain lighter and it will be cooler on the hotter days. So hopefully all that stuff will play out and allow us to be better, more physical and a team with a little bit more energy and not getting so burned up out there on the field."
Brad Meester – "I think the uniform looks great. It fits great and I think it's going to allow us to move really well, so I know we're really excited about it."
The last word
"It was awesome. I think that was my first calling in life. I had to take a step back to it so I could do this football career but I hope I can get back into it. I was watching a couple models before so I was trying to get my own little swag to it. It was alright."
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew on walking the catwalk during the club's uniform unveiling presentation