I’m not really sure when it happened, but there’s no question it happened: The NFL Draft turned into a made-for-prime-time event.
Given what else on television passes for prime-time entertainment, this is hardly a shock. I mean, if millions of people are willing to sit down and watch the daily goings on at a pawn shop, the NFL Draft, I suppose, makes some sort of sense.
But I completely missed the memo.
I understand the importance of the draft. I just don’t need to see large young men in bad suits mugging for the camera while holding up a jersey and wearing a hat after they’ve exchanged a man hug with the commissioner.
At least when the draft was held in a single day, you could catch up on the day’s goings on by reading a list of names when it was over. But they’ve even changed that now.
The first round is tonight. The second and third rounds are Friday night. The last four rounds are Saturday.
Why? Because the NFL figured out it could milk more television money from the event that way.
At some point in the future, the NFL Draft may turn into a seven-week reality series, a round a week starting in May, with fan votes helping to decide whether the New York Jets should take a quarterback or a kicker in the third round.
If anything, the rise in popularity of the NFL Draft as an event seems to coincide with the rise in popularity of fantasy football, another avocation for which I have completely missed the boat.
But for fantasy enthusiasts, this draft doesn’t seem like it will be that interesting, at least not early on.
This might be the first draft since 1983 when a running back doesn’t go in the first round. This might be the first time in 11 years that more than one quarterback isn’t taken in Round 1. It’s all but guaranteed that for just the fourth time in the last 20 years, a quarterback won’t be taken in the top three.
It’s looking like it’s possible that none of the big three fantasy football positions—quarterback, running back, wide receiver—will be picked in the top 10.
Instead, this is a draft that has made those anonymous dudes on the offensive line … ummm …. nonymous? The top two prospects, according to most of the 45 million people out there who have turned mock drafts into a cottage industry, are offensive tackle Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and offensive tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.
Offensive linemen may not be exciting, but they sure are important to protecting those big-name quarterbacks that have dotted the top of the last several drafts.
Throw in Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson and the unheard of becomes possible—three offensive tackles taken in the first four picks.
As far as the pretty boys go, no one seems to have a handle on when the quarterback dominos will fall. The Buffalo Bills might take Ryan Nassib of Syracuse at No. 8 if only because his college coach, Doug Marrone, is now the head coach of the Bills.
If a quarterback doesn’t go at No. 8, though, it could be a long wait—every other team drafting after Buffalo, except the Jets, is set at quarterback.
In any event, I won’t watch much. Follow, yes. Watch?
None for me, thanks.