For returners, draft provides what-ifs

May, 9, 2014
May 9
11:49
AM ET


LOS ANGELES -- You did not see UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley walk across the stage at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night. He didn't wrap NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a man hug, didn't pop the stiff, flat-billed hat with the Browns/Vikings/Whomever logo. He didn't join his former teammate, linebacker and No. 8 pick Anthony Barr, for celebratory pics.

Instead, Hundley watched the draft on TV like everyone else, happy to have a break from his statistics textbook, counting the days until the Bruins begin their preseason workouts.

You did not see Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu renounce his last season of eligibility in January and hire an agent. He didn't wear a T-shirt at the combine that identified him with a number and the letters CB. He didn't work out at the Ducks' pro day in March. But he was there, daydreaming just a little.

"I'm watching them from the sidelines knowing I could be doing the same thing," Ekpre-Olomu said. "I mean, it was great cheering on my teammates, but at the same time, I thought about it, of course. Yeah, you always think about the what-ifs."

Said Hundley, "Just to know that if I had left, I could have been out there throwing in the pro day with them, is something. Your mind wanders, obviously."

Hundley and Ekpre-Olomu had the money and the dream within their grasp. There were days when both picked it up and held it. But in the end, they let it go.

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Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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