Sunday was a real pain in the neck for Zack Follett.
Cal's former star linebacker, who was projected by most analysts to go in the fourth round of the NFL draft, had to wait until the middle of the seventh and final round to hear his name called. He was finally taken by the Detroit Lions with the 235th overall selection.
Follett's agent, Kenny Chapman, said some teams told him Sunday that his client failed his physical because of a recurring neck injury.
"We had a concern early on, but we had no clue that he did not pass the physicals," Chapman said.
Follett spent most of his Cal career battling neck problems. He was forced out of three games during the 2007 season with a neck stinger and was in and out of the training room much of the past two years for treatment.
"I don't really know what it was," Follett said. "It's definitely humbling. It's something I'm sure I needed. It happened for a reason."
Follett was one of only two Cal players taken on the second day of the draft. Tight end Cameron Morrah was taken 13 picks after Follett by the Seattle Seahawks.
Morrah surprised many by declaring for the draft after his junior season. He said much of the motivation for doing so was so his ailing grandmother can watch him play in the NFL.
"I have no regrets about my decision," Morrah said. "I thought I'd be picked a little earlier. But I'm getting into a great situation in Seattle."
In a mild surprise,
"I thought there was a chance I could slip but not to where I wouldn't be drafted at all." Williams said. "I just want to play ball. I'm motivated to make sure I don't feel the pain and disappointment that I feel right now."
Defensive end Rulon Davis, who was considered a borderline draft pick, also went unselected.
Chapman predicted Follett will become the Lions' special teams captain and "make a lot of teams regret that they passed him up."
"We drafted a good football player that was productive and was on the board too long," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's a great effort player, and he's been extremely productive in the Pac-10."
Although Follett admitted his neck problems probably were the reason for his fall in the draft, he is still motivated to prove the rest of the league wrong.
"They're going to pay for it," he said. "I'm going to hit those players and take them out of the game. I'm excited."
San Jose State had three players drafted Sunday — defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert (Chicago) and cornerback Chris Owens (Atlanta) in the third round and cornerback Coye Francis (Cleveland) in the sixth round. Stanford didn't have any players drafted.