The NFL Draft: Crab Legs, Weed And Mispronounced Names
Many years ago when I was a teacher, one of the school football coaches announced to the lunch table that he was taking the next day off to watch the NFL draft.
You could have heard a pin drop as English, history and maths teachers looked at him like he just arrived on the 12:35 from Jupiter. Fast forward 20 or so years and even people in Australia are doing the same thing without anyone looking askance.
With the draft shown live on both ESPN and 7Mate, there was plenty of incentive to chuck a sickie, which I more than happily did.
Here are 10 of my thoughts on this year circus:
1. No one really knows anything
There no doubt the NFL has done wonderful things with the draft. It gone from a perfunctory Γet restock the rosters event into a made-for-TV, can -miss day on the calendar for sports fans.
Reams of paper and stacks of bandwidth are chewed up in the days prior as xperts play modern day Nostradamus, creating mock drafts and offering their suggestions about who will go where and how well it will all work out.
And the bottom line is that it a bit of a crapshoot. E.g: Jamarcus Russell, pick #1 overall, Tom Brady, pick #199.
2. Winston is as Winston does
I don know Jameis Winston, I haven put him through workouts and I haven talked to anyone who can vouch for his character. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, obviously, had and felt comfortable enough to make the ex-Florida State quarterback their #1 draft pick.
No argument with his on-field skills: he a super player who could be a star at the next level. But amidst all the off-field concerns – which included the alleged theft of crab legs – who thought it was a good idea to allow Winston to pose in front of some crab legs and post it on his Twitter feed?
3. The Mariota fizz
In the lead-up to the draft, the rumours were flying: ources tell me the Eagles are working on a deal with the Browns told Mariota may fall out of the top 10. /p>
In the end, nothing happened other than the Bucs taking Winston at #1 and the Titans taking Mariota at #2. Now it up to Ken Whisenhunt to figure out how to fit Mariota into his normally boring offensive scheme and it up to Mariota to get up to speed quick enough to beat out Zach コr Twitter Mettenberger.
4. Goodell chokes part 1
It not astonishing that Roger Goodell mispronounced a name. Although he spends a lot of time in the spotlight, he not actually what you call a Δedia professional – he not Mike Tirico or Rich Eisen, guys who are paid to pronounce names correctly.
What is astonishing is that Goodell got Marcus Mariota name wrong. This was one of the most talked-about players leading up to the draft, the Heisman Trophy winner, whose name has been uttered about as many times as President Obama in the past few weeks.
That is simply choking under pressure.
5. Goodell chokes part 2
Speaking of Goodell, I always find it funny when one of the whitest guys in the world, a real Wall Street-style power broker, gives cool handshakes and man hugs to gigantic draftees often decked out in serious bling. This year things went a bit further, when Danny Shelton gave the Commish a bear hug.
At least Goodell is a solidly built guy – NBA boss Adam Silver would have been laid up in the hospital for a few weeks.
6. What in the water (or should I say in the air) in Missouri?
A year ago, one of the draft biggest stories was whether or not anyone would select Missouri pass rusher Michael Sam, who had announced publicly that he was gay. Sam was taken in the seventh round by the Rams, but didn make the team.
This year, Missouri was in the news again. First it was Shane Ray, who got caught with weed the one week you don want to get caught with weed. But that didn stop Denver from making a deal and grabbing Ray with the 23rd pick. On day two, Tennessee selected Dorial Green-Beckham, who was kicked out of school following two marijuana arrests and a domestic violence accusation.
The NFL may or may not be homophobic, but it certainly isn chronic-phobic.
7. The West is the best
In a first round usually dominated by schools from east of the Mississippi River, the Pac 12 conference did remarkably well, with nine players taken in the first round, including Mariota at #2 and USC defensive end Leonard Williams at #6.
Interestingly, three of the first 25 picks were defensive players from Washington, which finished the season with an 8-6 record and gave up 52 points to Eastern Washington.
8. 窏ey honey, where my Kyle Orton jersey? br> I have nothing against grown men wearing sports uniform tops. I myself have been known to throw on a Baltimore Bullets throwback singlet or an Arsenal shirt once in awhile. But grown men flying or driving to Chicago, wearing shirts with セevis or コanziel on the back and screaming like maniacs or booing loudly when their team makes a pick? That a scary demographic but one the NFL covets.
9. Hog butcher to the world, yes, draft HQ, no
While we e on Chicago, while it a great sports town, I not sure it the right city for the NFL draft.
The draft – with its media hype, rags to riches stories, and over-the-top fashion – belongs in the Big Apple. It where the league is headquartered, it the biggest city in the USA, and the biggest market in the NFL.
As for Chicago, I l give Randy Newman the last word: et leave Chicago to the Eskimos/that town a little too rugged for you and me閳ワ腹鈧?/p>
10. Mel Kiper Jr day in the sun
The big hair, the glasses the Baltimore accent – Mel Kiper Jr has been doing NFL draft analysis on ESPN since 1984.
He part of that wonderful group of ESPN analysts – John Clayton, Dick Vitale, the late Beano Cook – who aren necessarily pretty faces, but really know their stuff.
Kiper a self-made guy who started researching players while he was in high school and turned it into a business when he got to college. I won hear a bad word against him.