(FootballStL) -- The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind for the newest members of the St. Louis Rams, Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree, who were both introduced on Friday.
“These 24 hours have been crazy, just like my dream come true since I was a kid,” Austin said. “I’m just thankful that the whole Rams staff made the jump and came and got me so I’m pretty much happy that I’m here now.”
The Rams traded up from No. 16 overall for the Buffalo Bills’ No. 8 overall pick on Thursday to select Austin.
“It was very exciting yesterday to even be a part of the draft this year,” Ogletree, who was selected 30th overall after the Rams traded down from the No. 22 spot, added. “I really want to thank the Rams organization for taking the chance on me and I’m ready to get to work, too.”
The sitting and waiting for their names to be called in the draft on Thursday is over. Now it’s time for the two players to start turning their dream of becoming an NFL player into a full reality.
“It started when I was seven years old,” Austin said. “Everybody knew I had some type of gift. I probably wasn’t the biggest guy in the world, I wish I was two inches taller but I can’t. I always stuck with it. This was my dream.”
Austin, who was the first ‘skilled position player’ off the board in the first round, is listed at 5-foot-8 and weighs 174 pounds -- both are far from the size of a standard NFL player.
“That’s something I can’t change,” Austin said of his small stature. “I just laugh at it now -- not really laugh, but smile at and just take it in and put it on my shoulders. I’ve been small my whole life. It’s not going to change. I’m five (feet)-nine (inches), but my heart playing like I’m six feet. I just got to keep that mindset.”
The Rams aren’t worried about the size with Sam Bradford, who stands 6-foot-4, as their quarterback. The two met prior to Friday’s press conference and were both all smiles.
“(He’s) a taller quarterback,” Austin said of Bradford. “He’s a little bit bigger than Geno (Smith). I’m proud that I’m here and he just took me in.”
Smith, who went undrafted in the first round, helped Austin set the school record at West Virginia with 7,286 all-purpose yards on 529 plays, an average of 140.12 yards per game.
For Ogletree, the path to the draft wasn’t a smooth journey. He was suspended the first four games of the season last year for violating team rules at Georgia and was arrested earlier this year. General manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher called Ogletree a top-15 pick without the off-the-field issues, but it’s up to their newest linebacker to prove that the troubles are now in the past.
“Basically, I just had to make sure I let them know everything was behind me and I’m ready to seize the opportunity that they’re willing to give me,” Ogletree said.
Ogletree told members of the media that he could barely hear Fisher speak on the phone when he was being selected after his family and friends belted out in celebration late Thursday night.
“As soon as the phone rang they started going crazy,” Ogletree said. “It was fun, though. I can say it was worth the wait.
“I’m very thankful that the Rams did call me. I think this is a great place. They have a great team and they look like they’re trying to do something.”
The Rams have six picks left in the draft, including two third-round and two sixth-round picks.