Deion Sanders was picked fifth overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1989 NFL draft. Four of the first five picks ended up in the Hall Of Fame (word to Tony Mandarich), but even though it was a spectacular draft, there was no way Sanders was going to make it past the very top of the draft order. Dude put up what was then the second-fastest 40-yard dash time in NFL combine history.
The Giants had the 18th pick, yet they still wanted to evaluate him. Teams outside of the top of the draft routinely check out and test top prospects, which makes sense since they can always trade up if they fall in love with a player. New York’s GM at the time was George Young, true believer in the Wonderlic test, and he apparently tried to get Sanders to sit and take a two-hour-long written psychological assessment test. As Sanders said on NFL Network this afternoon, he was having none of that.
“And it happened to be the Giants’ room. And they sat me down and gave me a thick book. I mean, this thing was thicker than a phone book. I said, ‘What’s this?’ They said, ‘This is our test we give to all the players.’ I said, ‘Excuse me, what pick do you have in the draft?’ They said, I think 10th. I said, ‘I’ll be gone before then, I’ll see y’all later. I ain’t got time for this.’”
Sanders also talked about what the NFL combine used to be, which is more or less a circus.
“It was just chaos in the hotels — all the agents were trying to grab you. The teams were trying to grab you. People were just trying to get next to you to secure your services. And I remember backing into this room. I didn’t know where I was going, I was trying to get away from the people outside.