Posted by: Paul Nichols
25 Apr 2009
The intentional playing up of the NFL draft is the biggest joke I can think ESPN playing on the world. It's too bad, cause they carry a lot of weight with the common folk, as demonstrated by their ability to make fun of themselves in the "This is Sportscenter" ads. Is ESPN selling out? Naw, cause making money is part of their game. It's just that I can't understand the attraction of the draft in the first place.
Perhaps even more disturbing, the Sportsnation seems to be buying what ESPN is selling, recently ranking the NFL draft higher on its most-anticipated non-sports event poll than the selection of the NCAA tournament bracket! Lies! Lies I tell you!
What's so exciting about the draft? I know I look forward to seeing who my team picks, but it's all a crapshoot, anyway. At least half of the anticipated stars bust out of the league. And whose team picks more than once or twice in the first round, anyway? Plus, we often know who's going where before the day begins.
Making the excitement around the draft even more puzzling, many really good players come from the bottom of the first round or later. Given the inability of experts to select the best players first, why are we paying attention to these experts prior to and during the draft? I imagine cause it's kind of like gambling...but what is the benefit to following along? I can't see any. There's no prize, unless you truly appreciate football on the deepest level (which I don't think so many people do because this level of appreciation includes enjoying the draft; I know I have just used a tautology...).
Final thought: I imagine many stars come from the lower rounds in the draft because scouts can't take into account the self-motivation of a player, because this is so difficult to gauge. In a league where the smallest difference in ability can make or break a career, I imagine that being overlooked by the draft and scouts helps to ignite this self-motivation, which allows someone to improve their skills and finally break into the league. So why watch the draft now when the real action will occur in the pre- and regular season?