Brandon Doman’s draft day surprise — and his advice for Jaren Hall (and Zach Wilson)
BYU’s Brandon Doman worked out for a handful of teams prior to the 2002 NFL draft, including the San Francisco 49ers. The option quarterback had just gone 14-2 as the Cougars starter and figured to be somewhere between the eighth and 10th quarterback selected in the draft.
“You need to have the right opportunities, the right moments and you have to capitalize on them. I had those in college but in the NFL it just didn’t materialize.” — former BYU and NFL quarterback Brandon Doman
Doman was a 49ers fan, but San Francisco already had four quarterbacks. He was expecting to go to Green Bay, where the Packers needed a backup for Brett Favre.
“I had a great workout with them (SF) and had a great rapport with the staff, but there was no indication. I had no belief that they were going to take a quarterback,” Doman told the Y’s Guys earlier this week. “But the Packers, I knew they were going to take a guy and I had a great workout with them as well.”
As the fifth round progressed, Doman became anxious. He got off the couch and went into the kitchen. Moments later, a roar came from the family room.
“My whole family just erupts, cheering, screaming,” Doman said. “I thought, ‘Nice joke!’ I wouldn’t put that past my family to do that to me. ‘OK,’ I said, ‘That’s funny!’”
The incoming call on his phone was no joke and he answered it.
“It was quick. It was, ‘Hey Brandon, this is Steve Mariucci,” Doman recalled. “I was hyperventilating. I was so excited. I can’t remember anything said, other than, ‘We believe in you. We think you are a great fit.’”
Doman ran back into the family room to see his name come across the television screen.
“The very next thing you do is start thinking, ‘How much did I just make?” he said. “Then you start looking that up. What’s my signing bonus? You just aren’t thinking very clearly.”
The brief conversations that followed the head coach included general manager Terry Donahue, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and quarterbacks coach and former BYU assistant Ted Tollner.
Then came the biggest call of all — Steve Young.
“He said, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you are coming out here!’” Doman said. “He was really cool. He started talking to me about the West Coast offense. I said, ‘Steve, you are speaking a foreign language to me right now.’ Nothing seemed real. It felt like I was in a dream the whole time.”
Doman’s NFL stint was just long enough to become an expert about the process, but short enough to long for more.
“You need to have the right opportunities, the right moments and you have to capitalize on them,” he said. “I had those in college but in the NFL it just didn’t materialize. Your life quickly goes in a different direction and it was a short-lived window. For me, it was three years, and it was over.”
Doman on Hall
BYU quarterback Jaren Hall is in a similar spot as Doman ahead of this week’s draft, where a handful of quarterbacks are expected to be taken before him.
“In my opinion, he is a first three-round guy,” Doman said. “But the most important thing for him isn’t when he goes in the draft, but who picks him and what opportunity is there. Who is the quarterback? Who does he get to learn from? There are so many variables to be successful.”
Hall put up impressive numbers against more Power Five defenses than any other BYU quarterback. Doman believes his ability to think, run and throw is what sets him apart.
“There are so many good coaches and so many good offenses,” he said. “The game has changed, and it fits him perfectly. I wish I was coming out now because of the changes that have happened that fit my personality and playing style more today than back then. Jaren fits beautifully into what teams are doing.”
His advice for Hall: “Be ferocious. Have confidence. Don’t question how good you are and don’t question your abilities,” Doman said. “Compete like crazy and have an expectation to be the very best because they don’t care. Everybody is there to get a paycheck and you must have a ferocious mindset or they will eat you alive and get rid of you quickly.”
Doman on Wilson
Zach Wilson is entering his third season with the Jets and if he wants to last longer than Doman, he may want to heed his counsel. New York’s trade this week to acquire veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be a godsend for Wilson.
“This will dictate his career for sure,” Doman said. “Everybody was ready to run Steve Young out of Tampa Bay. They thought he was a product of the system at BYU and was never going to be an NFL guy. The 49ers picked him up and he got to sit behind Joe Montana.”
When Montana’s run ended, a better prepared Young took over and he became a Super Bowl champion. Rodgers comes to the Jets with his own Super Bowl ring and a treasure trove of knowledge for a younger quarterback to digest.
“This has the potential to be the greatest thing that happened to Zach Wilson, to watch this guy do what he does and learn as much as he can from him,” Doman said. “He needs to regain the locker room the best he can and that’s going to come from his work ethic and his humility.
“By bringing Aaron in it gives the Jets a double win. It gives them a chance to win immediately, and they can get a really talented young quarterback prepared to play when Aaron is done, and I’m sure that’s the thought process here.”
Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day,” “The Post Game Show,” “After Further Review,” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also co-host of “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com.