If you’re like me, then you’re probably wondering how an English novelist from the 1800’s, was able to so perfectly sum up how most, sane sports fans feel about the NFL Draft. Admit it, when Charles Dickens opened “A Tale of Two Cities”, with those famous words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,….it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…,” it was as if he could see into the future and describe the forced spectacle that has become the NFL Draft, and its aftermath.
The fact that the NFL draft has made a star out of someone like Mel Kiper (pictured at the top) has got to tell you something about the obsession that exists for the NFL, the need ESPN and other networks have to fill air time and just the compulsive need that many fans have to believe their team is on its way to a Super Bowl victory. Even though it has been scientifically proven that Kyper is no more effective than a dart being thrown at names on a bulletin board, his face still gets more air time from just after the Super Bowl to a point just short of Memorial Day. First it’s assessing the needs of each team, then it’s one mock draft after another, followed by more mock drafts; then the big night, followed by the lesser night (also known as round two), followed by grading and declaring winners and losers. Eventually, they will actually get around to playing, and that’s when we find out if the ” hope of spring” has indeed turned into a “winter of despair”. Perhaps the most disconcerting part of the whole thing is that, according to ESPN’s Jamele Hill, Mr. Goodell wants to push the Draft even further back into May and stretch it out even longer. He’s already cutting into the prep time the coaches have with their rookies; how does cutting down even more help with the quality of play that comes through preparation and practice? I have to believe that this is in no small way a safety issue as well, as getting the youngster literally up to speed as quickly as possible has got to make them safer from injury. But that’s just my opinion.
Now, having said all that, how do I feel about the Patriots Draft class? Good question. I was at first taken back by Belichick’s selection of Dominique Easley of Florida. Selecting a defensive lineman who has had ACL surgery on both knees seemed to me somewhat questionable. Apparently, ACL surgery in football is getting to be like Tommy John surgery in baseball, leaving the recipient stronger for having had it done. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Rumor has it that the Seahawks were hot for Mr. Easley as well, as they pretty much folded up shop when the Pats snagged him just one spot ahead of them. I like the fact that they selected a NFL potential QB in Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, as he will benefit from (and be willing to) sitting behind Tom Brady for some time and hopefully get ready to take over, perhaps in an Aaron Rodgers type fashion. (I did say hopefully…)
The draft expectations for the Pats were significantly muted by the fact that they were so successful in their free agent signings. Inking Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell during the free agency period left fans already excited for next year, and comfortable with using this draft as a way to potentially build for the future. The most obvious concern that was not vigorously addressed was that of tight end, although they did sign Ben Watson‘s little brother Asa. I wonder what it would take to lure Tony Gonzalez out of retirement? Maybe Ben Coates?
Anyway, stayed tuned. We’ll find out soon enough if they knew what “the dickens” they were doing…
Featured image courtesy of: Rich Arden/ESPN Images
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