Why is the NFL draft so great?


It is late January and the Superbowl match-up is set. We will have media day and all of the great stories that come out of the biggest game of the year.  But once that final whistle is heard the NFL season will end and with it the most coveted of times begins…. The NFL off-season.

The off-seasonis like spring in the annual cycle of nature, a time of rebirth and renewal. It gives the teams that had great years to reflect on strengths and weaknesses and build for the pain and anguish to come in August and September in mini-camps and training camps.  The off-season allows teams that were successful and ones that plain sucked to build and restock and to build for their future. It really is this never ending cycle that is so great about sports in general and why it is so important for people. On many levels it is because it gives a sense of consistency in an otherwise inconsistent world.

The NFL draft is unquestionably the most important part of the off-season and is the crown jewel of the season before there is one. In recent years the NFL draft is almost as popular as the Superbowl itself because of the many stories that it lends itself to telling:

First off, it is inclusive: No one is left out of the draft and no one knows exactly what will happen on draft day and who will go to which team and how early or late, or if they will make an immediate impact or will need time to develop or make any impact at all.

 Who will be the steal? Who would have guessed that the sixth round QB out of Michigan named Tom Brady would become the most accomplished player and true superstar in the NFL? or the other sixth round guy named Terrell Davis in Denver would be one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL? (I believe he is)

 Who will be a bust? of course Ryan Leaf comes to mind, and so does Brian Bosworth.

 The NFL Draft is inclusive because it allows great teams and bad teams alike (I am looking at you Detroit) to all focus on improvement and  renewal.  If the Packers had picked up Barry Sanders in ’89 who is to say that one of the most electrifying players in NFL history would not have won a championship or extended his career? What would have happened if the Saints had not bet the farm on Ricky Williams?  

 The Browns are a historically bad franchise who has a devoted following and loyal fan base that has always and will always support their team. It is that devotion that lends a sense of optimism that is rarely seen in this day and age. I feel it is refreshing to say the least that in uncertain times and times of struggle people still look at the latest mock draft and get a sense of hope or insight into something that is really very personal and important to them, their team.

 When the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan last year a lot of people thought that the birds had made another mistake by not taking Glenn Dorsey from LSU and shoring up what appeared to be a shaky run defense. But as the Falcons continued to win and Dorsey continued to struggle more and more Falcons fans felt something they had not felt in a while after the Vick and Petrino fiascoes…. relief.

It is that sense that your team dodged a bullet and made the right choice that makes the NFL draft so compelling and so much damned fun.

                                                                                   I love football!