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Will Parks and Scooby Wright share unique draft day stories when all is said and done

Former Arizona Wildcats Scooby Wright III and Will Parks had different celebrations when they each heard their respective names called in the third and final day of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Wright broke into tears, with a relieved smile on his face, after being selected 250th overall to the Cleveland Browns in the seventh round. Through all the emotions, ESPN caught him running outside to cannon ball into a swimming pool fully clothed.

Parks, on the other hand, simply tweeted a smiley face emoji expressing his happiness after being selected in the sixth round at 219th overall by the Denver Broncos.

From the moment Wright and Parks joined the Arizona football team, there wasn’t much film on either. Few knew anything about them other than the fact Parks was a kid from Philadelphia looking to carve out his own legacy in the West. Wright was a two-star prospect, the No. 96 middle linebacker out of high school, and only had one offer to show for it.

Both were under the radar with one mission: prove the doubters wrong and show they were capable of playing their ways into the NFL.

The final day of the draft didn’t go according to plan.

Most anticipated Wright to be selected anywhere from the third to the sixth round. It was evident that his 6-foot stature and 4.90 40-yard dash time, along with his coming off two lower body injuries, were red flags to professional teams.

The clock kept ticking and it appeared that, for the second consecutive draft, an Arizona Wildcat wouldn’t hear his name called. That was until the defending Super Bowl champions took a chance on Parks.

He was drafted into a system where defense is a focus point and the secondary is loaded with veterans Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Chris Harris Jr. Parks will most likely be a nickelback and be brought in for certain packages.

“While Parks played more of a strong safety type of role for the Wildcats, the Broncos are looking for players at the position who could offer some help in their situational packages,” said ESPN writer Jeff Logwold.

Parks started in 31 games and had 197 total tackles in his career at Arizona. He was named Pac-12 Conference honorable mention in 2015. Denver Broncos vice president of football operations and general manager, John Elway, went quickly to Twitter following Denver’s draft of Parks.

“We’ve taken Will Parks, a safety from Arizona, in the 6th rd. He’s a versatile player with really good instincts. Glad he’s a bronco,” Elway tweeted.

If Parks can catch the attention of a household name in the NFL, maybe he can maintain the league as his employer for years to come.

Even when Parks was officially announced an NFL player, there was still an empty feeling or a dark cloud looming the Arizona brand.

The man who represented the program was still unemployed. One pick after another and the reality of former All-American Wright going undrafted was starting to settle.

How can anyone pass on the man who calls himself Scooby? How can anyone shy away from a player who, when healthy, was one of the best linebackers in the country?

It was never Wright’s production on the field, but how well his knee would hold up moving forward that was questioned. The Cleveland Browns, however, saw the exact same motor and drive that Arizona saw in 2013. For two-star Wright, it was the perfect opportunity to play for the franchise.

“Wright played only three games in 2015 due to a torn meniscus in his knee, which is a concern,” said ESPN writer Pat McManamon. “But at this point of the draft, after 13 picks and a cornerback acquired via trade, the Browns are wise to take a chance. If they see something they believe in, they made the smart move by drafting Wright.”

The Brown’s newest player will join coach Hue Jackson and will fit in perfectly in Cleveland as it runs a 3-4-4 defense.

The 2016 NFL Draft had a different agenda for former Arizona Wildcats attempting to make it to the unimaginable heights, but the apparent nightmare ended with smiles and jumping into a swimming pool. It just happened to be a sunny day in Tucson.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.


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