THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Going into the 2019 NFL Draft, then-University of Wisconsin offensive lineman David Edwards admits he was nervous.
Fortunately for the current Los Angeles Ram, though, he had lots of people supporting him as he approached one of the biggest days of his life.
"I definitely remember just being you know, pretty nervous about it just because I have a little bit of a range in where I could have been picked," Edwards told theRams.com in a phone interview Tuesday morning. "But I was always surrounded by my family and and some of my friends, and that always made it really easy. When I got the call (that I had been drafted), it was like, all that nervousness and the what-ifs, that stuff kind of went away. So it was a really great experience overall."
That experience included hosting a draft party in his hometown of Downers Grove, Illinois, with family, high school friends and their parents plus former coaches who helped him reach the moment in attendance.
"It was just a really joyous occasion and it was great to not only be able to experience that with everybody, but getting all these people together for a great occasion was just a ton of fun," Edwards said.
Edwards anticipated being a Day 2 or Day 3 selection – when Rounds 2-3 and 4-7 take place respectively. Although he was surrounded by great company, that still didn't completely ease some of the anxiety he was feeling.
"You're hoping and anticipating for the best, and as the day continues to go on, you're checking your phone more and you're just continuing to get nervous and more nervous," Edwards said. "But it's funny how once you receive the call, everything goes away. My agent mentioned that to me, 'No matter what happens like you'll, once you get that call, it's like everything goes away. It's like the greatest feeling that you have in your football career.'"
That moment of relief came in the fifth round at No. 169 overall on Saturday, April 27, 2019, when Rams general manager Les Snead informed him that he would be the newest member of the team.
Edwards distinctly remembers the Thousand Oaks, California area code – where the team's training facility is located – and Snead asking him if it had been a dream of his to play in the NFL. Edwards also remembers Snead passing the phone off to head coach Sean McVay and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Aaron Kromer after being told he was going to be taken with the club's fifth-round pick.
"It was kind of a surreal moment because you look at any team for me at least as an outsider, but especially the Rams because I knew a pretty good amount about them, it was just kind of crazy just to be like, wow, I'm actually part of this organization," Edwards said. "Getting to talk to Coach McVay and Coach Kromer, and then everything that ensued was just everything I dreamed of."
Once that phone conversation concluded, Edwards said he smoked a cigar with his dad and some of his buddies and family.
Besides those in attendance at his draft party, he also credited current and former Wisconsin teammates for helping him get to that point. Edwards said he talked to Ryan Ramczyk – a former Badger who went No. 32 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft – as well as current teammates going through the pre-draft process and those in the building in Madison who had been drafted.
"We had, three linemen that were going out that year, so being able to lean on Michael Dieter and Beau Benzschawel made everything easier because you didn't have to go through it alone," Edwards said.
As nervous as Edwards was before the draft, he said he was still enjoying the moment when it came to the preparation. He also had faith that everything would work out, which is why he wouldn't change anything about the entire experience.
"I got put in just an unbelievable situation and got to learn from great people," Edwards said. "I don't know if that would've been the case had I gone to another team. I like to look at it as if I got picked by the Rams for a reason, and I ended up playing and starting some games this year, and it was such a great experience for me. So wherever you get picked, it doesn't really matter, as long as you feel like you're in a great situation and you have the opportunity to prove yourself and compete."