The 2014 NFL draft is nearly here, and it is definitely time for fans to start figuring out how to watch the event to soak in all the action in proper fashion.
Whether you are stuck at an office or at home in front of the television, there are a variety of ways to catch a glimpse at the future of the league and see which potential stars your favorite team selects.
Let’s take a look at the television schedule and live stream information for the draft, plus make a bold prediction on what might happen during the first round.
|Thursday, May 8||8 p.m.||1||ESPN, NFL Network||WatchESPN, NFL.com|
|Friday, May 9||6:30 p.m.||2-3||ESPN, NFL Network||WatchESPN, NFL.com|
|Saturday, May 10||Noon||4-7||ESPN, NFL Network||WatchESPN, NFL.com|
Bold Prediction: No Running Backs in Round 1
Running backs are no longer the critical cog in offenses that can make or break a team’s chances of being successful. Due to the widespread use of passing-oriented attacks, backs are quickly becoming an afterthought for clubs with a pick in the first round of the draft.
Because of the implementation and success of platoons around the league, an individual back will usually only receive a limited number of snaps and has only a small chance of imposing his will on a game. A few players are able to do this on a regular basis, such as Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, but these are rare exceptions.
Trent Richardson (No. 3 overall in 2012), Doug Martin (No. 31 in 2012) and David Wilson (No. 32 in 2012) were the last backs to be selected in the first round, but it is quickly becoming apparent that the Cleveland Browns made a mistake by using that lofty of a pick on a running back. The team subsequently flipped Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts last season for a first-round pick in this year's draft.
Since 2010, backs picked in the first round haven’t had much success. Wilson and Martin were the two other first-round choices from 2012, though they were taken much later than Richardson. And Mark Ingram was the lone back selected in the first round in 2011 (28th overall). Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews and C.J. Spiller were the three first-round backs from 2010.
While some of these players have had decent moments during their careers, none are truly game-breakers or have had much sustained success during their tenure in the league.
It isn’t a shock that the league started realizing this trend last year and completely avoided running backs in the first round for the first time in the history of the draft. That may continue into 2014, as there aren’t any clear-cut superstar running backs lurking in the class.
Will a running back be drafted in Round 1?
While Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill and Tre Mason could end up being workhorses at the next level, they have the evolution of the game and disappointments like Richardson to blame for their potential fall into the second day of the draft.
Hyde hasn’t given up hope that he will become a top pick, though, telling Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch, "Growing up watching the NFL and seeing running backs get drafted high, I definitely thought, 'That'll be me one day.'" He continued, "It's still possible. I haven't given up hope just yet."
However, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted out a quote that gives insight into why teams are reluctant to splurge on running backs and how they are treated in the NFL:
One GM today on free-agent RBs: "That position needs its own union. We treat our equipment people better than we treat our running backs."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2014
It’s a tough position that demands excellence and just about everything a player can physically give, but the level of respect and fame that these players get just isn’t the same as it used to be. Don’t be surprised if the disrespect continues in 2014 as teams pass over talented running backs in droves to select other positions.
Then watch as they are scooped up in the later rounds, paid less and worked just as hard before being tossed aside in a few years. It’s a rough life, but that is what these young ball-carriers signed up for.