Previewing The 2018 NFL Draft
There’s no way a large portion of the American football-viewing audience hasn’t noticed this over the years.
The NFL Draft is a ridiculous viewing experience. When you boil it down to its least common denominator, it’s a group of people in a giant auditorium. And every 10-15 minutes, someone stands at a podium and announces a name.
And people eat it up. Draws massive ratings. It’s on three networks this year. People refer to it as the Super Bowl of the offseason. Makes absolutely no sense. And let’s face it: It’s not like every name read over the next three days will be future stars. How many players actually make it out of every draft?
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
For every Deshaun Watson, there are 15 Christian Ponders. You’ll go through another 20 Taco Charltons to get one Lawrence Taylor. And Mr. Irrelevant? Screw that guy and the tote bag he’s presented every year.
Now, my mini-rant aside, there are things to keep an eye on. I’m not here to predict picks and give you analysis on who is the best at what, etc. There are countless credible people all over the Internet who take it seriously, do the homework and even then, are rarely correct. Mock drafts are truly a mockery.
Let’s have some fun with it instead.
THE BROWNS WILL SCREW THIS UP
This isn’t a matter of making a wrong choice, since everything will turn out bad, no matter what. If they take Sam Darnold, he’ll fall apart, like most USC quarterbacks do in the NFL. If they take Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield? Bust, bust. Josh Rosen? Josh Broken. If they trade the pick away and stockpile more, none of those players will pan out. Saquon Barkley will be Curtis Enis The Sequel.
This franchise is doomed. They might as well plan for the next rebuild.
COWBOYS NEED A RECEIVER
In case you didn’t know, Big D got rid of their big headache when they released Dez Bryant after two straight ugly seasons. Now, the fact that he’s gone isn’t a surprise. He was making way too much money for too little production. However, the Cowboys made the move so late that they don’t really have a backup plan. And all the quality options in free agency are gone. They will have to find someone between Thursday and Saturday. The good news is, this draft isn’t receiver heavy, so it’s less likely that Jerry Jones won’t get starry-eyed by some big name in the first round. They might actually find some value on Day 2 or Day 3.
SPEAKING OF DALLAS …
The Draft is in Texas! And Roger Goodell will be there! Remember him? He’s the guy who moved heaven and earth to make sure Ezekiel Elliott served a six-game suspension, which effectively torpedoed their chances at the postseason. Las Vegas needs to take bets on how long the booing will last. My over/under is a solid 90 seconds.
So, who is going first? Does it really matter? It’s all about where you land. Every quarterback rumored to be going in the top 10 picks has flaws. From Josh Allen’s inaccuracy, to Sam Darnold’s turnover issues, to Baker Mayfield’s crotch-grabbiness, to Josh Rosen’s injury issues … there is something to worry about with all the elite prospects.
But past drafts have taught us a valuable lesson. Count on one guy to make it big, one to be average and two to flame out. And of course, somebody will come out of the later rounds and surprise people.
THREE NETWORKS? REALLY?
Yes, it’s true that Fox will carry the first two days of the draft on its national network, but in reality, it’s just a simulcast of NFL Network’s feed with some additional commentary by Joel Klatt and Troy Aikman. When it comes to ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit will make his debut replacing Jon Gruden. If that kind of thing is important to you, then enjoy yourself. Personally, I don’t care what jamoke is sitting behind that desk. It’s all filler anyway.
Drinking game: Do a shot every time Mel Kiper says “strong hands.” Or whenever Todd McShay says “scheme fit.” I’ll pay for your dry-cleaning bill.
My favorite storyline of the late part of the 2017 season was all the drama in New England. It came out of nowhere and it was delightful. We all waited on the edge of our seats, hoping the empire would crumble from within like Rome.
But alas, it didn’t happen. Bill Belichick is still the coach, Tom Brady and Gronk are coming back and even Josh McDaniel managed to stay put. But there’s still room for some subtle digs from Belichick, and that can come at the end of the first round. If rumors are to believed (and you shouldn’t believe a damn thing at draft time), the Patriots have their eye on 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
It’s a little passive-aggressive because Tom Brady is reportedly sensitive about quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart and the Pats would be taking one in the first round. However, Jackson isn’t the kind of prospect to put immediate pressure on the starter. So, it could all work out in the end, like it always does for this organization.
JUDGING THE JUDGERS
The real fun from the NFL Draft doesn’t come during the three days. You actually need to wait a few years and then look back and laugh. I won’t point at anyone in the media in because you most likely already know the “experts” who regularly talk out of their rear. However, I will share an anecdote.
Several years ago, I actually had the first day of the draft off, back when it started on Saturday. So, there I was in a bar in South Florida, sharing some beverages with some barflies in Dolphins jerseys. All of whom couldn’t wait to hear their favorite team had taken QB Brady Quinn with the No. 9 overall pick. He was going to be the guy to save the franchise and bring back the days of greatness not known since Dan Marino retired.
And when commissioner announced the Dolphins had selected WR Ted Ginn Jr. … the F bombs rained from the sky. At least a dozen glasses slammed on the bar and jerseys were ripped off.
For Brady Quinn.
My point is, none of us know what we’re talking about. Just enjoy the show and hope for the best.