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2021 NFL Draft: Cryssy's Top Pick for the 49ers

“Who we pickin’ tonight, Cryssy?”

I can’t even begin to count the amount of texts, emails, DMs, and LinkedIn messages I’ve received from the Faithful asking who I think the San Francisco 49ers are choosing with the 3rd pick in the NFL Draft tonight.

It’s pretty crazy that a community of fans genuinely care about my opinion when it comes to football.

I’m a little Canadian with more friends in the Bay Area than my hometown—how cool is that? I’ve had big dreams my entire life and thankfully, when you work hard and continue to show people who you are as a person—not who people assume you are—you get wilder opportunities than you could have ever imagined.

One of those being going to the NFL Draft in Cleveland.

Yup, I had signed up to volunteer and somehow got accepted. I was going to network my way into the inner circle and show the real world who I am and why they should hire me as their NFL gal.

I booked my trip to Cleveland and picked a cute Airbnb in the heart of the city. My bags weren’t packed just yet, but I was ready to go.

A week ago, I FaceTimed my parents to let them know that after years of hard work and rejection, I finally was going to cover the NFL…in person! Both of their eyes shined with pride. I could feel how happy they were for me. My mom lectured me on how to stay professional while there. And my dad just looked like a proud daddy admiring his badass daughter.

In the next moment, my mom took over the conversation and told me that my Nonna (that’s grandma in Italian) has tumours in her lungs. We cried together for a long time.

Then, I made the decision to cancel my trip to Cleveland. Family over everything. Even a long time coming dream.

So I’m writing this blog post from my bedroom in Vancouver and I feel pretty, pretty sad not being where my soul wants me to be. Needless to say, my heart wants to be here for my fam jam. My Nonna was one of the toughest women I’ve ever known in my life. She was stern with us growing up, but it was always love. She made the most amazing ricotta meatballs and was happiest when the whole family was over for dinner. She always was authentic in her mood and the way she communicated with us.

She was blunt, to say the least.

However, she taught me how to be blunt and honest, too. A lot of who I am stems from my Nonna. When I was just five years old, she bought me a little tape recorder (lol, some of you won’t even know what that is) and recorded my “squeaky” voice so I could listen to it and change it into something beautiful. I took offence at first.

Little me thought I had the perfect pitch.

Well, as soon as she played back that recording, I heard my awful, screechy pipes. And I was mortified. So every day I spent with Nonna that summer, I recorded myself singing or telling a funny story. Most of the time, I’d record interviews with my stuffed animals, too.

I guess I’ve always known I was going to be a journalist.

Nonna believed in me, no matter how crazy the dream. Now, she did selfishly want me to stay in Vancouver, so she was sad when I moved to Toronto to follow my career path to sports broadcasting school in 2019. It took a pandemic to bring me back to Vancouver where I’m currently living and thriving, since I’m close to the people I love again.

I saw my Nonna just over two weeks ago. The care home she’s residing in finally allowed for visitors. With my mask on, I went to see her alongside my mom and I hugged Nonna for the first time in over a year. That moment brought every piece of me back to our summers together and how much she always pushed me to be me.

While I was there, I asked my Nonna how she was feeling. She simply replied:

“My heart is happy to be with you.”

Life is a rollercoaster. But the real people who come along with us for the ride make the drops feel a little less scary. In fact, they’re usually laughing beside us as a reminder to just have fun, even when it feels like you can’t breathe.

My Nonna did just that with her words.

I applied to go to the draft that same night and I’m still shocked they said yes. I’ve never felt closer to the dream. Sure, it hurts to be sitting in bed rather than meeting up with the girls in Cleveland. Not to mention, Sir Yacht and I would have probably jumped into Lake Erie together. It would have been a VIBE.

However, rather than choose the NFL draft, with the first overall pick today, I chose my family because despite all of my wild aspirations, they’ve always been my number ones.

I could give you this whole shpiel on who I think the 49ers will draft this year, but I really don’t care to. You can watch all the tape in the world and form an opinion of someone all you like. At the end of the day, unless you’ve walked in their cleats, you don’t know who they are and how well they will perform when under pressure.

Side note: TB12 was chosen with the 199th pick. Boy, did a lot of those analysts get that shit wrong.

I trust whoever Shanny and Lynch decide is the best guy for the job. And honestly, until Mac Jones or Justin Fields steps out onto the gridiron as a Niner, we have no idea who they can be for us. Rather than assume you think you know, why not just let real life do its thang?

Why not live in the now?

My Nonna’s words encouraged me to do just that.

So, you wanna know who I think the 49ers will take with the 3rd pick? They’re going to take the guy who earned his way onto the team.

Despite every negative headline written about him. Despite every faceless troll cyber bullying him over an assumption. Hell, despite his own self-doubt, too.

Do you know how hard it is to make it into the NFL? Until you put in the work yourself and understand how much goes into truly following your dreams and achieving them, your opinion really doesn’t matter.

That QB you don’t want on the team might just be your favourite player next season.

And I’m totally here for it.


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