Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why do we love the NFL draft?

Tonight begins the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and for some of us out there... mostly doofuses like me, it's one of their favorite days of the year.

I have friends and family who think I'm crazy to invest as much time and attention in the draft as I do.  I want to know who my team (the Chargers) are considering, I want to know who the prospects are at what positions.  I've participated in "mock" drafts.  I sit and watch the picks in my house and make bold evaluations of team selections like, "that was a reach" and "great pick for them!".  Like I know what I'm talking about.

I mean, I'm not a scout.  I haven't watched very many of these guys on tape  (OK, so actually just a few of the guys I want the chargers to pick.. of whom I've seen YouTube highlights),  I didn't interview them at the combine, I don't have their data for their measurables or the statistics for their college careers.

I admit it.  My opinion means diddly squat.  And it isn't going to change anything.  And when you think of the fact the Real, Actual, NFL Scouts... make mistakes all of the time.  I mean JaMarcus Russell was the first pick of the draft, in this century.  And don't let anyone pull that "but the Raiders stink" crap, either.  Because I remember seeing the talking heads, Kiper, McShay, Charlie Casserly, etc, etc... absolutely RAVING after his pro day.  I mean, not only did JaMarcus fool the Raiders, he fooled pretty much all the talent evaluators.

So why spend so much time looking at and considering college prospects that probably won't even play for your team?  Well, I can't speak for everyone, but for me, I just enjoy it.  I like the process of "finding players" and seeing them pan out.

I'm just one of those people, I guess.  I'm the type of guy who plays Madden, and his favorite part of the season is the draft.  I enjoy seeing my draft picks on Madden pan out, more than I like playing the game.  I've been playing NBA 2K12 with my sons lately, and I'm driving them crazy, because I'm much more into trades and the draft, rather than playing the games.  I'll sim through a month at a time, to get to the trade deadline,.

I enjoy the "building" of teams.  Trying to make the pieces fit together.  Finding a "jewel" in the late rounds who becomes a contributor.  Drafting someone early and watching them become an all star.

I've heard it said that the reason the draft is so popular, is that the common man knows he isn't an elite NFL player, doesn't have the size, the strength, etc...  They know that they will never play.  However, they don't need any special physical skills to be a GM.  Anyone can sit in their armchair and make selections (and yes, I know it's much more complicated than that).

I think it's probably a combination of those two factors... and one other.  The ability to sit and second guess decisions is simple and easy to do.  The joy in watching something being built and accomplished is another.  And the growth of the Internet is the third, and probably the most important part in the tremendous popularity of the NFL draft.  Not that long ago...I'd watch some of the draft, and I'd get excited about future players by their position..."oh, they drafted a safety in the 3rd round!  Nice!".

 However, in this day you are able to google up any player you want.  Read a short prospect report, watch some YouTube clips of them playing, see all their college stats, etc, etc...  We have more information than we possibly need.  Which leads to a lot of people saying a lot of things about a lot of college kids, that they really know nothing about.

Bring it on!  The picks, and the trades, the pre-mature evaluations, the prospects, the GM's, the Coaches... Chris Berman and Mel Kiper, Rich Eisen and Charlie Casserlie...  Bring on the show!

And with the 18th pick, in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select...

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