2014 NFL Draft Songs: Grades for the Best and Worst Walk-Up SongsMay 9, 2014
2014 NFL Draft Songs: Grades for the Best and Worst Walk-Up Songs
For the first time ever, prospects at the NFL draft have been allowed to select their own walk-up music to be played when Roger Goodell calls their name.
While ultimately inconsequential, picking the right music for the biggest moment of your life is a heavy burden. Do you go with big-swinging rap tracks? Towering stadium rock? How about "I Saw The Sign" by Ace of Base? The Internet would crumble if Blake Bortles came shimmying onstage at the Radio City Music Hall with that playing.
We'll be keeping track of the best and the worst walk-up songs of the 2014 NFL draft. Who knows what Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel and the gang will have in store for us when 8 p.m. ET rolls around, but rest assured, they will be lauded or mocked summarily for their choices.
Why? Because it's the draft. Duh.
Jadeveon Clowney (Houston Texans)
Song: "The Man" by Aloe Blacc
Could Jadeveon Clowney be any more of a walking billboard on Thursday night?
I respect this man's skills, but he's rocking a giant Puma pen on his suit and walked out to "The Man" by Aloe Blacc—possibly the most overplayed cliche sports anthem of the last half-decade.
#Branding is the name of the game in the Year of our Lord 2014, but you can wait until after the draft before you sell that soul to Beats By Dre, Jadeveon. Aloe Blacc is simplistic, neo soul garbage at best. ESPN has hammered viewers with this song all throughout its draft-day coverage. You don't have to do this to yourself.
Greg Robinson (St. Louis Rams)
Song: "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
Auburn's Greg Robinson is a mountain of a man, and he probably has a softer side. That said, I don't think anyone can say they saw him picking a tired, built-for-iTunes song like "Happy."
Then again, Robinson entered this draft a projected top-five pick and probably received a fat cut to play this song for his walk-up.
I'm all for capitalism, but this is a "you" moment. Do what you want with it, but remember you only get drafted into this league once. Pick a song for you.
Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Song: "Blow Up" by J. Cole
I respect this selection by Blake Bortles, mostly because I was expecting "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."
Bortles picked a song "for his haters," by lyrical killer J. Cole. Bravo, Blake Bortles. I'm picking up what you're laying down.
Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills)
Song: "Look What You've Done Now" by Drake
Picking a somber track, Sammy Watkins went with some smooth stuff by Drake for his walk-up song.
This is a personal choice, obviously. This means something to Watkins. The lyrics speak to him.
I would've gone with something more hype for my walk-up, but I respect the decision to go with a low key jam about hustling through the hard times.
Khalil Mack (Oakland Raiders)
Song: "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
What is going on here? Up is down, cats are mating with deer, and iTunes' top picks have taken over the draft walk-ups.
Khalil Mack is not a "Happy" guy. The University of Buffalo linebacker is a terrifying human being. He should be rocking hard metal up there. I'm thinking "Enter Sandman." That's how nasty he is.
I'll say this: I hope Pharrell is paying these men heavy cash for these spins.
Jake Matthews (Atlanta Falcons)
Song: "Going the Distance" by Bill Conti
Yes! Adrian, we did it!
Jake Matthews just flipped this entire Cobb salad on its head by selecting a Billy Conti track from the original Rocky. No words, no problem. The strings say it all.
There's a reason so many of these Matthews have made it in the NFL. Great genes. Great musical taste.
Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Song: "Trophies" by Drake
You knew someone would pick this song. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised four dudes haven't already walked out to Drake's "Trophies."
The song is about winning—something Mike Evans became familiar with at Texas A&M these last couple of years. He and Manziel have done things I didn't even believe are possible. Time to bring the horns and the trophies to Tampa.
Justin Gilbert (Cleveland Browns)
Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
Song: "We Dem Boyz" by Wiz Khalifa
Welp, welcome to Cleveland, Justin Gilbert.
While I can't say I understand your franchise right now, I can say I'm down with the Wiz. Right out the barrel, this track hits you in the chest. Also, I like how you flipped a girthy middle finger to safe, PC music choices by picking a song about popping bottles and loose women.
Eric Ebron (Detroit Lions)
Warning: Video contains NSFW music.
Song: "They Don't Love You No More" by DJ Khaled
Plot twist: Barry Sanders is onstage, and Eric Ebron is dropping DJ Khaled songs.
DJ Khaled is the worst, but part of me has to respect the biscuits it takes to pick a song about f----ing people up and wearing bulletproof vests for the biggest moment of your life.
Oh, and congratulations on your engagement!
Taylor Lewan (Tennessee Titans)
Song: "Rock City" by Kings of Leon
Interesting choice, Taylor.
Kings of Leon doesn't strike me as a pump-up jam, but it does start with a line about "looking for drugs in the desert." So, that's bold.
"Rock City" is catchy in a barroom sing-along kind of way. Slip some money to the guy at the dueling piano bar you go to later, and he'll rock this one for you. Just don't punch anyone in the face.
Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants)
Song: "The Sky Is the Limit" by Lil Wayne
A man of few words, Odell Beckham Jr. lets Weezy do the speaking for him.
"The Sky Is the Limit" is a track from Wayne before the rapper played himself out and became a farcical caricature of himself. The LSU wideout is going to swim with the birds and fly with the fishes, which is Wayne-speak for "get down with his bad self."
Also, I hope Beckham's favorite movie growing up was Gremlins.
Kyle Fuller (Chicago Bears)
Song: “We Made It” by Drake featuring Soulja Boy
Soulja Boy smell 'em! Or tell 'em.
Sorry, I’m not a big Soulja fan, but I appreciate why Kyle Fuller chose this song. It starts a little slow, but the overarching message is clear.
Ryan Shazier (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Song: “Everythang” by Young Jeezy
Young Money getting money.
Everything about this choice by Ryan Shazier makes me smile. It hits hard and lays it out plain.
Shazier used to have nothing; now he’s going to have a lot of everythang. I hope the Ohio State linebacker bumps this in the limo all damn night.
C.J. Mosley (Baltimore Ravens)
Song: “My Favorite Song” by Wiz Khalifa
“When this song come on, I’m spending money.”
That’s the first line of C.J. Mosley’s walk-up song, and that’s all you need to know. The smooth track has a great pop at the beginning that lets everyone know you’re in the building. These ‘Bama boys know how to enter the league.
Calvin Pryor (New York Jets)
Song: “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill
This is what they have been waiting for, Calvin.
The hard-hitting Louisville free safety picked a song that’s about as real as it gets, at least as far as walk-up songs go.
Brandin Cooks (New Orleans Saints)
Song: “Everythang” by Young Jeezy
Cue up a big W for Brandin Cooks, who replaced his mama’s old Saturn with some hot wheels and walked up to Roger Goodell with Jeezy playing like a boss.
This is the second time “Everythang” has made an appearance at the 2014 NFL draft, and I hope it’s not the last. As for Cooks, the speedster out of Oregon State is going to shine in the Saints offense. He is Darren Sproles 2.0, and Drew Brees is probably popping bottles over this pick.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay Packers)
Song: “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp
Check out Ha Ha, hitting the NFL draft with some sweet smoothness.
This, for those Aloe Blacc fans out there, is what real soul music and talent sound like. Congrats to the safety out of Alabama. He passed up rock and rap just to take us to church.
Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns)
Song: "Draft Day" by Drake
Of all of the men who crossed the stage at the 2014 NFL draft, Johnny Manziel was the only one with a song that was specifically crafted for both him and this moment. Take a moment to appreciate that.
Drake—as major of an artist as you can find in music—wrote a song that features Manziel's name in the first line. It's not surprising, given their friendship, but it's still pretty damn cool. Even better, "Draft Day" isn't a bad song.
Sampling Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)," Drake drops a few slick lines and works a nice hook about suits, ties and paying the guys. I have no great love for Drizzy, but it's a smooth production. Johnny Football has his own draft song, and we all have to deal with it.
Jason Verrett (San Diego Chargers)
Song: “Icy” by Gucci Mane
Huzzah! We finally have Gucci Mane on the board.
I think I qualified for my driver’s license while listening to “Icy” by Gucci Mane, which was the song of choice for TCU’s Jason Verrett. I respect a young kid who knows his awful, mid-2000s bling rap.
This kid is going to buy the heaviest, shiniest watch on Friday.
Bradley Roby (Denver Broncos)
Warning: Video contains NSFW lyrics.
Song: “Believe Me” by Drake featuring Lil Wayne
Notice a trend in this draft? Near-toxic amounts of Drake are being played, but I guess that’s to be expected.
Bradley Roby is sending a clear-cut message with the lyrics running over this stripped-bare beat: “I’m the only one to get the job done. I don’t know n---- that could cover for me.”
Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings)
Song: “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly
At long last, Teddy Bridgewater made it.
He might have had to wait a spell, but the Louisville quarterback is in the league, and that’s all that matters. Judging by his walk-up song, he is already primed to rub sand in the eyes of the teams who passed on him when he takes over the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 (which should happen).
“The World’s Greatest” is a personal statement from Bridgewater, and I like it. The kid has been certain of his NFL future since he was a toddler. He’s not going to play coy now that he’s here.
On Twitter, awaiting your Aloe Blacc anger.