NFL Draft 2011: 10 Reasons We Love the NFL Draft

Samuel Bell JrSenior Analyst IFebruary 10, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: 10 Reasons We Love the NFL Draft

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    Although the possible work stoppage in the NFL is threatening many aspects of the off-season like trades and free agency, the NFL Draft is scheduled to go on as expected.

    Could you imagine the mass hysteria that would've ensued had they canceled that too?

    It would put Mel Kiper Jr. out of a job to say the least.

    Speaking of Kiper, he is one of the staples of the NFL Draft whether you love his 70's like hairstyle and tendency to speak faster than a speeding train or not.

    There is no way you can talk about the draft and not mention Kiper as something we love, or hate about the draft, but it wouldn't be the same without him, which leads to reason no. 10 on this slide show.

10. Mel Kiper Jr.

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    When the sound of your voice has the ability to annoy people to the point that they discredit what you say, you have to be on some kind of list.

    Kiper makes this one as the no. 10 thing we love about the NFL draft.

    His feud with fellow draft analyst Todd McShay is priceless, and the 120 seconds they spend debating mock draft picks is entertaining TV.

    His hair looks like he slept through the 2000's and woke up in the 1970's, only to find out that it is 2011 and that style just looks bad now. What's worse is that terrible hair is part of his shtick, and he knows it.

    He makes weird faces like he always has a headache, appears annoyed by his glasses on his face even though he's been wearing them for decades and talks so much that whatever Sportscenter anchor that is interviewing him always has to cut him short.

    In addition to that, Kiper is so hit-or-miss with his draft picks that McShay often teases him about it as a leg up during their spirited debates.

    Besides, who would be dumb enough to rank Jimmy Clausen over Sam Bradford or call Trent Dilfer a "franchise quarterback?"

    Mel Kiper Jr., we love you.

9. Draft Hype

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    All of the hype surrounding the NFL draft gets to a feverishly hot level in March.

    Who is the projected overall 1st pick? Will there be any trades? Who shouldn't be picked high as they probably will be drafted? The questions go on and on.

    Every draft has surprises that nobody could have predicted, like the Denver Broncos taking Florida's Tim Tebow with the 25th pick in the 1st round.

    Many analysts had Tebow ranked below Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy, but Tebow was taken way before either of them.

    All of the hype that comes with the draft makes it that much more interesting when the first day of picks shows up on the calendar in April.

8. Scouting Combine

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    Perhaps the most ballyhooed, hyped aspect of the NFL draft is the scouting combine.

    Over 300 of the most promising prospects are invited to attend the combine and show their skills in front of representatives of all 32 NFL teams.

    This event can either make a player a must draft and improve his stock or hurt him worse than an ACL tear and send him crashing down the draft board.

    Many players such as Chris Johnson, Randy Moss and Ndamakong Suh strengthened their stock with impressive showings at the combine.

    Guys like Nate Davis, Joe Haden and Jordan Shipley have significantly hurt their stock at the combine, and suffered drops on the big board because of it.

    We can all agree that the combine doesn't necessarily determine future success (see Marinovich, Todd and Bosworth, Brian), but it is all the teams have other than college performances to rank players.

    Any way you slice it, we enjoy watching it.

7. Whos Mr. Irrelevant?

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    Every year, the final pick of the draft is labeled as, "Mr. Irrelevant," as the last player taken in the NFL draft.

    For some odd reason, it has become a bit interesting to see which player this is at the end of every draft and see how he fares in the NFL, or if he even makes it onto the field.

    2010's Mr. Irrelevant was Tim Toone, a wide receiver out of Weber State taken by the Detroit Lions with the 255th pick in the 7th round.

    Toone was subsequently cut, but was later resigned and placed on the practice squad because of an undisclosed injury.

    Some notable Mr. Irrelevant's were Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs kicker who set the NFL record for highest field goal percentage for a rookie at 86.2% and David Vobora, starting linebacker for the St. Louis Rams.

    Who will be 2011's Mr. Irrelevant?

6. See The Future Of The NFL

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    Whether a team builds quality championship players from the draft or free agency, the NFL draft is the way most of them get into the league.

    Some guys make a name for themselves through being signed as free agents and not drafted, but predominantly all players enter the league through the draft.

    Watching the draft gives us fans a glimpse into the future of the league and the next wave of guys that will be leading teams to their ultimate goal, the Vince Lombardi trophy.

    Who's the next Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson or Ray Lewis?

    Only time will tell, but it starts with those three days in April.

5. Mock Drafts

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    It seems that everyone has a mock draft these days, and most of them are vastly different from one another.

    Nobody really knows what names will be called at what draft positions when it all begins, but everyone has their opinion on what will transpire.

    Even so-called "insiders" are usually wrong a lot when they look over their mock draft lists when the draft commences.

    Despite those facts, we all run Google searches on mock drafts to see who our favorite teams might be taking in April.

    Unless you're clueless or completely inexperienced, predicting the first few picks is pretty easy.

    After the fifth pick, it almost always gets a lot more difficult to figure out.

    Good thing we have Mel Kiper Jr. on board.

4. Critique Who Your Favorite Team Drafts

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    Every team has a fan base that rates everything from draft picks to coaching changes to free agent pick-ups, but nothing gets them going like the draft.

    Each year the draft is filled to capacity with rowdy fans who don't hesitate to voice their support or displeasure for whom their team spends a pick on.

    If a team takes an unpopular pick then they will have to hear fans and media alike torch them for it until the player can get on the field and justify the selection.

    Of course the fans aren't always right when they support the pick of a player. Remember when the Oakland Raiders selected JaMarcus Russell out of LSU?

    There wasn't too much of an uproar, but look where Russell is now. One of the biggest busts ever, home drinking Remy Martin gaining weight out of a job.

    Tim Tebow wasn't the popular choice for the Broncos at 25th, but even though he has more to prove he didn't exactly stink it up when he relieved Kyle Orton last season.

    It's always fun to critique who your team chooses every year in the draft unless you are an Oakland Raiders or Buffalo Bills fan.

3. Draft Surprises

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    There are a number of surprises each year in the NFL draft that nobody could predict, seemingly not even the teams themselves.

    Those choices that seem spur of the moment and not researched well, maybe the result of a gut feeling or over hype.

    The aforementioned Tim Tebow, C.J Spiller and Torell Troup were draft surprises in 2010 as they were drafted before many experts believed they would go off the board.

    If you are a Bills fan, the 2010 draft was one to forget as many of the picks did not live up to expectations this past season leading to another season of futility.

    Sometimes the draft surprise might not be known until the players overall ability is determined by his play on the field like Tom Brady.

    Other guys like Austin Collie of the Indianapolis Colts and Johnny Knox of the Chicago Bears have made their GM's look good by outplaying their draft positions.

    It's not always about strategy, but sometimes just getting a little lucky.

2. Who Will Draft The Hybrid Athlete

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    In college football, there are a group of guys that aren't recruited for specific positions like quarterback and wide receiver, but have extreme athletic skills.

    These guys are simply called "athletes" and may have potential to play any number of positions on the field.

    Guys like Dexter McCluster and Devin Hester have experimented with different positions based on their athletic ability.

    For the last number of years these players have been creeping into the NFL as question marks who are drafted based on athleticism.

    Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Michael Vick, Hester, Tebow and now Cam Newton were all guys who excelled at many things on the field and were drafted almost solely on athleticism.

    Their skill set translating to the NFL is unknown, but warrants a draft pick because of their overall athletic ability.

    These players are polarizing and receive lots of media attention based on the monster numbers they put up in college.

    The unpredictable nature of their future success also makes them grab headlines, and some excel while others under-perform.

    Bush has yet to reach expectations, and neither has Young, but Vick and Hester have dazzled.

    Who will take this year's hybrid athlete Cam Newton?

1. Whos The #1 Overall Pick?

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    Being the #1 overall pick in the draft is a burden that every player drafted in that position will have to endure their entire careers.

    It is basically saying that this particular player is the best overall prospect in the entire draft, and is expected to perform accordingly.

    If you're drafted first overall you are expected to become a superstar and lead your franchise back to the top, but of course it hasn't always happened that way.

    Of the past ten years, four number one picks were busts (Courtney Brown, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell and Alex Smith).

    Only Jake Long, Mario Williams, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Michael Vick were Pro Bowlers. That meant that between 2000 and 2010, #1 overall picks were either Thanksgiving feast or short-supply famine.

    Some people watch the draft only to see who the #1 pick will be, especially in a case where it can be multiple players like in 2006 when Williams and Reggie Bush both could have went #1.

    The 2011 NFL draft is one of those drafts because of Andrew Luck's decision to return to Stanford. Will Auburn's Nick Fairley go first? LSU's Patrick Peterson?

    We don't know for sure, but in April we will all be tuning in to see who's #1.