The free-agency frenzy and the draft is essentially like having two minutes to shop for groceries before a massive storm hits. The supermarket is packed with customers, and items are flying off the shelves. You run through the aisles, throwing stuff in your cart, frantically barking things like, "We need this!" or "Grab that!" and "Get two of those!"
When you hit the organized team activities (OTAs), that's when you take a moment to step back and look at the items you picked up.
The items will vary in quality; you'll be happy about those delicious apple pies you stocked up on, but you may have inadvertently picked up an expired carton of milk and several disgusting avocados that weren't nearly as fresh as the sign indicated.
The smart ones look at their items and say, "We did a good job." The not-so-smart ones look at their items and say, "What the hell did we just buy?"
OTAs are important because you get to see what your rookies can do. You get to study the abilities of your free-agent acquisitions. You also get to see how far your injury-prone players have progressed in their rehab.
It marks the first time the young guns and the veterans on your team meet and start building their chemistry. It's an early brick in the foundation of what you hope to achieve throughout the dog days of camp and over the course of a long and daunting season.
If you want a Lombardi trophy, now's the time to start working for it.
Here are seven players who shined in the OTAs and have a great shot of making their team's rosters and having an impact in 2012.