Friday, April 17, 2009

I Love the NFL ... But I'm Not in Love With the NFL Draft

I'm going to say something sacrilegious: I don't care too much about the NFL Draft.

Yes, I follow it. Yes, I do care about it a little. I typically pay attention to it until my Redskins make their first pick. Then, I may go online to see who else Washington selected and where various players went in the draft. A few years ago, I wore my phone battery out hitting the refresh button as Aaron Rodgers was falling down to my Skins (Green Bay, of course, snapped him up the previous pick and we ended up with Jason Campbell).

But I'm not as balls deep about it as some people. I don't watch the scouting combine on NFL Network. I don't buy a draft guide. I don't participate in a ton of mock drafts (I sometimes get involved with one, but not this year).

As much as ESPN has built up the draft, they may have killed it for me. It is unwatchable. The time between picks just doesn't do it for a TV audience. They have 70 people on air to guess who the picks may be and tell us how this pick will develop. Go watch some old drafts (or record this one to review in a few years) and see how many times they swing and miss.

It isn't their fault. Drafting in any sport is an inexact science. But it bothers me that I now have two draft experts out there telling me about these kids.

Those experts and all the other NFL guys will have spent months analyzing this thing.

The other thing I hate is the sliders. There are guys that slide down the draft (think Brady Quinn) that the ESPN honks were hyping. So, we spend a few hours hearing about how the team who does draft him will be getting a steal. It's fine to say it once or twice, but making it your main story is grating.

Usually the sliders get the Tom Brady Story run alongside them. "Remember that Brady was a 6th round pick". I know. You keep telling me that. And just like every NFL team was wrong several times on that one ... so were all of you. None of you went out of your way saying that Brady deserved to be a first rounder. So shut up!

And when they say that the Patriots made a great pick of Brady ... they didn't. They got lucky. If they really knew about how great Brady could be, do you think they would have waited for the 6th round to draft him?

And let's move this draft around, eh? I know the NFL loves New York, but this thing has become bid enough that they can bring it to other cities around the league. All we get now are Jets, Giants and Eagles fans howling over their picks and booing anyone else's. They are not wrong at doing this, but let's let other fans have the same opportunity. Move the thing to Pittsburgh or Detroit and watch all the Lions, Steelers, Browns, Bears, Colts, Packers and Bengals fans make the trip there. Have it in St. Louis or something. Hell, have it in New Orleans or Miami!

I do like the shots of the War Rooms. I do like when they pull the owners, coaches and/or GMs out and interview them on their picks.

I would also enjoy it if they took something from the NHL Draft. When they pick, the GM, coach and owner come up to the stage with their jersey and make the selection themselves. The NFL stays with the stuffy commish move of "... and with the 10th pick in the draft ... ". I want to see Detroit's braintrust up there handing their powder blue jersey to their newest player.

I know that will never happen. The braintrust is usually holed up in their war room in their team's complexes. But they could have one of their star players up there announcing their pick. Let the Lions send up Calvin Johnson to announce that they are picking Matt Stafford. I'm sure Calvin would love to see a real QB with a Lions jersey.

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