That night Kiper goes on the six o'clock news for a Mobile TV station. He repeats, almost word for word, what Tillman told him about Blake. Three hours later an agent walks around the lobby, asking. "Has anyone seen Eddie Blake?" Another agent has hired a masseuse and wants Blake to come upstairs for a backrub. Another claims he's taking Blake to dinner. Another agent says he has signed Blake. Blake, in fact, has dozens of messages waiting for him at the switchboard, and when he finally comes downstairs, wear-in" a bandanna and a short leather coat, he has the swagger of someone who has been anointed, and girls float in and out of his path like festive balloons.
Two months later Kiper publishes his big blue book on the 1992 draft and projects Blake as the 21st pick, the first choice of the Saints. Within a few weeks, though. Blake's stock begins to drop mysteriously. Suddenly he is no longer the anointed one; suddenly he falls, in everyone's predraft predictions, through the magic floor of the first round. A whisper, a rumor, perhaps a slow 40, a bad workout or some issue of character—that's all it takes to send Kiper hustling to revise his appraisal, to banish Blake to the second round. After all, Kiper was there for the kid's rise: he has to be there for his fall.