Waverly’s Andy Phillips tackles NFL draft from all angles in new book
When Andy Phillips sits down to watch the NFL draft each year, he often wonders if anyone got the same call he did.
That call for the Waverly graduate and former Central Michigan offensive lineman came an hour prior to the start of the 2015 NFL draft and was from the Chicago Bears.
On the other end was then-Bears offensive line coach Dave Magazu letting Phillips know how life-changing a weekend it was about to be for him.
The draft came and went without Phillips ever hearing anything from the Bears. And he also never heard anything from them as teams brought in undrafted free agents.
That call, his experience through the draft process and his interest in the game led to Phillips authoring a book called “Round Zero: Inside the NFL Draft.” The book is available on Amazon pre-order and will be released in January.
“I always wondered, where is the disconnect in the organizations?” Phillips said. “I’m sure Dave wouldn’t have wasted his time calling me before the first round if he didn’t think they had a shot to bring me in as a free agent. The fact that they didn’t want anything to do with me in the late rounds or after the draft – I’ve always wondered what actually happens. That’s kind of where my thought process for this book happened. “
Phillips, who landed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent and ended up being one of their final training camp cuts, examines the draft from four perspectives in his book. He has interviews with former general managers such as Ron Wolf and Bill Polian, ex-coaches like Steve Mariucci and Bill Cowher and he talked with player such as Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Terrell Davis and Cris Carter.
He also looked into things from a sports agent perspective and has interviews with Leigh Steinberg and others.
“I feel like my story was unique and I was a very, very nobody,” Phillips said. “(I knew) if I could get people on the horn who were first-round picks, that were mid-round picks, that were late-round picks – I’m guessing their stories could be eye-opening for fans as well.
“In the words of Bill Polian, the only thing that’s true about the movie ‘Draft Day’ is you eat a lot of bad food on draft weekend. Everything else is very exaggerated and false.”
Through his brief time in the NFL with the Packers, Phillips built connections. He also got help reaching others through the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which he has done freelance work for outside his full-time job as a risk manager and business insurance executive for Yurconic Agency in Pennsylvania.
From 2015:Waverly’s Andy Phillips looks to make the most of the shot with the Packers
Phillips said his favorite section of the book details the pre-draft experiences for his former teammate Rodgers, who was expected to go in the top 10 of the 2005 draft to Tampa Bay or Arizona before Green Bay selected him 24th overall.
“Those are the things people don’t know that we kind of dug up in this,” Phillips said. “The stories in this book are just incredible. We got some really good ones from Michigan State’s Tony Mandarich. There’s a lot of people that know his story as an incredible bust. I talked to him about being the greatest offensive line prospect ever and that’s what he was at the time.
“Steve Mariucci – he was fantastic and he was able to give really good insight on being an assistant coach for the Packers, a head coach for an incredible organization in San Francisco and then having to go to Detroit and really deal with some issues. I think there’s a lot of stories that people would really like to hear so I’m excited for it to come out. “
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.