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ricky pearsall: fire emojis & the 31st pick

I stayed up until 5:45am in Italy to watch the San Francisco 49ers select Ricky Pearsall, a wide receiver out of Florida, with the 31st pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Just like Pearsall himself (and a whole lot of faithful fans on Twitter), I was a bit stunned.

"I think the only time I actually met with [the 49ers] was during the Senior Bowl when you're kind of doing the little speed dating meetings," the former Gator told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. "I was definitely shocked to see San Francisco pop up on my phone."


What about the o-line? Or an elite CB to develop behind Ward? Does this mean Brandon Aiyuk is GONE?! All these thoughts rattled around my espresso-filled head as I tried to make sense of what just happened. This dude didn't make it on my draft board. Hell, most of the analysts I follow never mentioned his name in their scouting reports.

What the fudge are John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan doing?

Then I got a little ping on my notifications from Matt Hamilton, my friend and producer for the Up & Adams show. The shifty eyes emoji - one of my favourites, by the way. He used them to give a nod to a segment of the show where Kay Adams chats to Pearsall about his former Arizona State teammate, Brandon Aiyuk. They played together for one season, in case you didn't know.

Pearsall says he had a few workouts with BA recently and even got a couple pointers about this whole NFL thing, too.

"Obviously [Brandon] just introduced me to the business side about football, what to expect, you know, how to handle yourself like a pro. Because he's doing it at a high level, he's had a lot of success at it...hopefully I can get his jersey when we play against each other."

Pearsall had no clue, even then, that he'd be potentially joining Aiyuk on the 49ers. I say potentially since there are still a few trade rumour birdies flying around--even all the way here in Italy, of all places--tweeting about BA or Deebo Samuel packing it up and leaving the team.

But just as much praise as Pearsall gives the Bay Area receiver, BA reciprocated the love via text to his head coach and GM.

"Fire pick. Can't lie."

Now, the fire emoji comes into play here because like the shifty eyes, this symbolizes something worth giving a nod to. Not just an interview, but an actual human. Aiyuk, who used to be in Shanahan's doghouse, is now giving the stamp of approval on the team's first pick, who he'll likely suit up alongside for the long haul if the team decides to pay BA the big bag of cash he deserves (in my opinion).

I make the fire emoji rain all over posts on socials when I don't really know what else to say other than, "THIS IS LIT!" It's a bundle of emotions all packed into one ball of flames and so naturally, I had to find out what makes Pearsall such a hot commodity.

For the peeps in the back saying this kid is just another Trent Taylor, I beg you to watch the tape.

Robert Griffin III even compared him to a future Hall of Fame tight end, actually:

"Ricky Pearsall doesn't just look like Travis Kelce, his game has the same flavour to it. He knows how to use leverage to get open, knows when he is open and catches everything. Pearsall adds more playmaking versatility to the most offensively versatile team in the NFL."

On a side note, those tattoos alone are fire emoji-worthy.

For those who want to see a little heat on tape, watch the highlight pack below. It's giving prime OBJ vibes with the one-handed catches.

Future me is already gearing up to send a matchbox full of fire emojis on every single Brock Purdy to Ricky Pearsall deep ball video posted on social media for years to come. Dude's in line to join the YAC Bros., I'll tell you that for free.

And if you're a stats nerd like I am, you'll find his Relative Athletic Score (RAS) intriguing. He scored a 9.90 out of 10.

Composite Speed Grade: Elite.

Composite Explosion Grade: Elite.

Composite Agility Grade: Elite.

Composite Size Grade: Okay.

That last one can be tweaked with the right trainer, though. Hell, I'll cook him up a few of my epic pasta dishes here in Italy and we can bring that number all the way up to elite.

The biggest fire emoji I'll give this kid is the relationship he has with his family. Draft night home videos are always the best part of this glorious day. Dreams come true for so many of these athletes. Most watch from their living room, surrounded by the amazing humans who supported each milestone along the way.

"We a 49er!"

The entire room explodes with screams and smiles and if you were to play House of Pain's "Jump Around," you'd swear these awesome people were cast for the music video.

And I think that's the point of the NFL Draft, really. We can all sit here on our couch and judge the first selection our team makes. We can post shifty eyes and broken heart emojis, or even the jaw-dropping face emoji that I'm sure Kirk Cousins sent his wife while trying on some sweater vests in a Kohl's changeroom after seeing the Atlanta Falcons first pick.

Well, maybe he sent an eggplant emoji. Who knows?

Of all the reactions we can send in this media-obsessed world, nothing holds a flame to the real fire emoji that comes in the form of the family hugs and tears shared in those living rooms.

Ricky Pearsall, welcome to The Bay.

🔥🔥🔥 - send tweet


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ciao, thanks for poppin' by!

with a degree in journalism, experience in sports broadcasting as a hockey host & incredible interviews with nfl players and analysts, Crystal's love for writing stems from a deep connection with humans who inspire others both on-and-off the field.

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