CHARLOTTE, NC – Joe Horn was disappointed on Friday morning, not as a former Pro Bowl wide receiver once fined for hiding a cellphone in a goal post, but as the parent of one of the 32 players selected in the first round of the game 2021 NFL draft.
Horn wanted the rest of the world to see the joy of his son, the cornerback of South Carolina Jaycee Horn, find out when the Carolina Panthers took advantage of the eighth election to make him the first defensive player selected on Thursday night.
Instead, he watched as broadcasts and other outlets focus on quarterback Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay and the five quarterbacks selected in the top 15.
“Let me say that, I’m a huge Aaron Rodgers fan,” Horn told ESPN. “But last night when I saw that he wasn’t happy with Green Bay … when I saw that nothing was said about my son at all.” It kind of upset me and I was disappointed.
“To wake up this morning, I expected everyone to say, ‘Look, nobody thought Jaycee Horn would be in the top 10. Nobody expected him to be the first defensive player off the board.’ I thought there was a little more attention being paid and there wasn’t any. As a father, it was very disappointing. ”
Horn was initially so upset that he labeled Rodgers “selfish” for saying he didn’t want to return to Green Bay on draft day. But after learning that Rodgers was simply the subject of a story broken by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and not publicly doing anything to spoil the night of the draft picks, he admitted, “I jumped the gun.”
The disappointment was still there for Horn, however, because his son and others selected in the first round weren’t celebrated in the way he saw fit.
Horn laughed, adding that Jaycee never knew he was upset.
“I’ve never let my feelings take over my thoughts, but this morning after all this time, the paternal instinct, love, came out of me,” Horn said on the phone as he drove to Charlotte to see his son was officially unveiled I’m just very happy that he’s happy with the Panthers. ”
Jayce laughed at the whole thing too, saying later on Friday that his dad asked him if he’d watched ESPN.
“I said, ‘No, I didn’t have time,'” Jaycee said after arriving for his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium. “I’m sure he was watching, and it is likely [did] annoyed him a little.
“It’s just a dad who is a dad. My dad doesn’t say much. If he feels that way, he feels that way too. I’m just ready to play football.”
Jaycee was selected one election ahead of Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, another second generation NFL player who rocked the first round with the end of the line of attacking players. Surtain is the son of Patrick Surtain Sr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection cornerback for the Miami Dolphins.
The New Orleans Saints tried to swap from the 28th election for one of the top two corners but couldn’t make a deal. Dallas traded two places out of 10 as Horn and Surtain preceded them.
That too did not attract much attention on Thursday evening.
“I understand they didn’t have [Jaycee] to be drawn in first [among defensive players], ” Horn said of the way the draft went against many analysts who had said the top nine players would be on the offensive. “I understand it makes them look bad, but it’s just disappointing.”
Horn didn’t speak as the flamboyant NFL player who touched down in a 2003 prime-time game with New Orleans by making a call on a flip phone he’d hidden from the game. He spoke as a father who wanted his son to get the same coverage as Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrencewho went No. 1 to Jacksonville.
“Jaycee didn’t say a word,” said Horn. “He’s always happy to be drafted in the first place, but I’ve sat back and heard all the different opinions and now he’s not even being approached about your choice.” was wrong.
“I say they don’t even show him partying.”
Ohio State Quarterback Justin Fields and Alabama QB Mac Jones were still on the board at number 8, but the Panthers went with horn because it fulfilled a need as a shutdown press corner. This allows defense coordinator Phil Snow to play more man-to-man on critical downs.
That Jaycee learned from a father who played with the same sharpness that panthers see in his son was another factor.
“He’s a rare physical specimen that also has a pedigree that is hard to find,” said Panthers trainer Matt Rhule.
Horn doesn’t think it was a coincidence that his son and Surtain were received so highly. He said they both saw the blueprint for the NFL’s success.
A third, second-generation player is expected to play in the second or third round of Florida cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., son of four-time Pro Bowl corner and two-time Super Bowl champion, tonight.
“You have to understand, when you’re raising a son and that son knows you’re a pretty good player in the NFL, a son always wants to outperform his father,” said Horn. And it brings another aspect of training into the body and mind. ”
The downside is that the former NFL player thinks more like a dad on draft night.
“It was hard to sit back,” said Horn. “Everyone has their own opinion, but I wanted to answer because I know what I was talking about.”
“Last night was Jaycee’s night.”