Twenty-four years ago, Thurman Thomas sat in his apartment near the Oklahoma State campus, waiting for his name to be called in the first round. He fretted and fidgeted. He even fell asleep at one point, and the TV cameras were there to capture his embarrassment for the nation.
The Bills picked him 40th overall. Thomas never forgot it. He wore his resentment for the rest of his career, like an overcoat, pulling it around him as motivation against every team that passed him by.
Thomas made them all regret it, running all the way to the Hall of Fame. Bills fans can only hope that Cordy Glenn, the team's new left tackle, can draw on his own draft snub in a similar fashion.
Almost everyone in the draft intelligentsia had Glenn going in the first round. The NFL people thought so, too. Glenn was one of 26 players invited to New York City for Thursday's night big event.
But when the first round came to a close, Glenn was one of six players still in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, waiting for a call that never came. On Friday afternoon, Glenn flew home to Georgia to be with his family.
You can read into it what you will. After three excruciating hours at Radio City, he probably felt like an unwelcome guest.
When he was finally taken by the Bills with the 41st overall pick Friday night, Glenn was in a better place, grateful to be wanted by a team that considers him a left tackle. But he admitted he thought he would be picked a lot earlier.
"Yeah, I did, actually," Glenn said by phone. "But things happen for a reason. I'm just happy to be with the Bills. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed."
He's in the NFL now. You wouldn't expect him to betray any disappointment. But maybe Glenn should watch film of the draft, the way Thomas did for years, to remind him how greatly the NFL underestimated him.
The Bills were thrilled he was there, that's for sure. They needed a left tackle, but didn't want to move up for Matt Kalil. So they waited and Glenn, considered by many the second-best tackle in the draft, fell to them with the 41st pick.
So he's not Hall of Fame material. But Glenn is a good value for Buddy Nix. There were draftniks who predicted the Bills would take him at 10. Peter King called him "a favorite of Arizona at 13."
It's hard to say why he dropped so far. There were questions about his intensity and his lower-body strength. A lot of people couldn't seem to decide whether Glenn was a tackle or a guard.
"He's not a guard," Nix said, a trace of defiance in his voice. "He started 50 games in college and the last 16 were at left tackle. We tried to start a rumor he was a guard, hoping people wouldn't take him."
Glenn thought about leaving Georgia after his junior year. He decided to stay and play a full season at left tackle, where he became a team captain, an All-American and a top lineman in the SEC.
"I just think as you looked at him, he got better every week," said Darrell Moody, the Bills' national scout. "He got more comfortable playing left tackle. That's a big adjustment."
Well, he is a big man. Glenn is 6-foot-5, 345 pounds. He ran a 4.96 in the 40-yard dash. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 31 times at the Combine. You don't bench-press pass rushers coming around the edge, but that's awfully impressive.
Glenn will have a chance to win the left tackle job in training camp. The Bills have professed faith in Chris Hairston, but they need a better player to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick's blind side. It's clear they want him to challenge Hairston for the job.
Depth and versatility are vital in the NFL. The Bills raised the stakes with Mario Williams. They improved the pass defense by drafting Stephon Gilmore in the first round.
But it's in the later rounds when a team builds depth into its roster and becomes a genuine contender. The first round gets the glitz and glamour. But it's in the later rounds that the great personnel men build champions. Sometimes, you get lucky.
At the very least, Glenn will push Hairston for the job and provide needed depth on the offensive line, which has been compromised by injury in recent years. He makes them deeper at guard, too.
Some scouts backed off Glenn because he had no clearly defined position. But as we found out with Andy Levitre, it helps to have versatile linemen who can move around the line. That's one reason Glenn stuck around for his senior year.
He felt he had something to prove. To the whole league. Nix, not one to give the safe diplomatic answer, promises that Glenn will be motivated by the draft snub.
"His agent called me before we went down for the draft around 6 o'clock today," Nix said. "He said, 'Whoever gets him, he's going to make these other guys in the league pay.'
"I really do think it will motivate him. He was embarrassed by it. He thought he was a top 10 pick and, well, things happen."
Yeah, every 24 years or so.