The NFL Draft: Much Ado About Nothing

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2010

10 Dec 2000:  Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers looks on from the sideline as the Baltimore Ravens clinched a playoff birth with a 24-3 defeat of the Chargers at PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. <<DIGITAL IMAGE>> Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

For the record, most of you will think I'm crazy.

Most of you will think that I'm not worthy of being a football fan, much less a writer.

But, I...can' .

The non-stop talk leading up to the draft is pointless, to me.

Bottom line? We know nothing.  

Yet for weeks upon weeks, we pretend that we do (and slam those whom we think don't). 

It's a total crapshoot that is essentially overrated pomp and circumstance. Sure, sure; we're all experts on who will be the next best thing. Right. 

This year, the team that I cover on this website—the Tennessee Titans—will pick either 16th or 17th, depending on how the coin flip with the San Francisco 49ers pans out.

Yep, the Tennessee Titans need a defensive player. And they'll probably pick one with their choice.

Or, they could pick an offensive player. 


Now, let's spend two months talking about it, nonstop! How about that Miller-Hawkins Business College water boy? He just might be a star! Now, here're 50 different angles on it! 

Don't get me wrong, I know that I'm in the minority, here. For most folks, the draft—and the preceding 1,234,599 "entertaining" (ahem) mock drafts—are great for tempering the football withdrawals that most fans go through this time of year. 

Hey, people have football hangovers, and the NFL Draft is the bacon cheeseburger. 

But not for me. I couldn't care less, and it might get me in a bit of trouble with my editors on this site. So be it.

See, trouble is, while I adore—no, worship—NFL football, (to the extent where it creeps most people out), I have no love for college football. It serves no purpose but to feed the NFL.

(If that last sentence doesn't get me 50 "you're an idiot" comments, nothing will; but I welcome all comers who think they can prove me wrong.)

That said, I find it hard to pay attention to the 17 possible seniors, juniors, and third-stringers who might go to the Titans. I cannot, for the life of me, even pretend to like college football, even if it's in the name of NFL prediction. 

Tennessee needs a player, and they're going to pick one.


And you're gonna either think he's a good pick or a bad pick.

The real story is whether or not he's going to perform either above or below his potential. 

For instance, just about everybody thought the Titans were crazy for drafting Chris Johnson in the 2008 draft. 

"They need receivers, dammit!" was the company line everywhere. 

But who's laughing now? 

So, what good was all of the "What if?" wastes of time leading up to that, other than filling editorial quotas?  

Well, plenty of good, considering that for most people, this is interesting stuff. But for me, the important thing is noting what happened in the draft, and then seeing what happens afterwards that counts.

Call me crazy—I AM quitting smoking, which probably explains a lot about my unorthodox, cynical take—but the important thing here is how the picks actually do once they're drafted. 

That, and free agency. 

And the looming labor talks, which could lead to a greed-induced lockout come 2011. 

But in the meantime, I'm not interested in who runs the fastest time in the 40-yard dash at the upcoming NFL combine.

Sometimes the slow ones turn out good. 

Just ask Emmitt Smith. 

Sometimes the good ones turn out good.

Just ask Bruce Smith.

And don't get me started on the busts. 

But the point is, what good does it do, broadcasting your prediction about which general manager will pick which player?

Who cares what you or Mel Kiper think? 

Let's just talk draft needs and see what happens.


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