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NFL Draft 2011: What Would a Draft Without the Players Be Like?

NEW YORK - APRIL 23:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (California) poses with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue after Rodgers was drafted 24th overall by the Green Bay Packers during the 70th NFL Draft on April 23, 2005 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIMarch 15, 2011

The NFL Players Association is in the works of trying to issue a boycott of the 2011 NFL Draft. The NFLPA is trying to ensure that the NCAA's top prospects for the draft don't attend.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFLPA has contacted 17 players that would usually attend the draft. The message here is clear: The PA is fed up with the NFL and is willing to resort to extensive measures to make sure the world knows.

The NFL Draft, which has been held in Radio City Music Hall since 2006, is an event that's free to the fans who are the most dedicated. Tickets are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and the ones that get in are usually treated to a spectacle of college greats.

So what would the draft be like if they players weren't there? Would fans have any reason to show up?

My guess is that a big reason most people attend the NFL Draft is to be in the same room as their favorite players. They'd get to say they were there when Peyton Manning went No. 1. They could brag for hours about how Ryan Leaf was going to be the next big thing.

Either way, it's an experience that is highlighted by seeing the player put a team's cap on and go on stage.

Take this year's NCAA men's basketball selection show for example. What was your favorite part? I'd be willing to bet a lot of people would say they loved seeing the team's reaction to the pick.

According to Schefter, the Players Association has considered airing each player's reaction on a competing network.

That would absolutely destroy the ratings for the NFL Draft, which is set to be shown on ESPN and the NFL Network.

Another appeal for the players making the draft interesting is the Aaron Rodgers factor. How memorable was it for people to watch as the potential top 10 pick slide to No. 24?

Better yet, how great was it for Rodgers to get revenge on anyone who doubted him by winning Super Bowl XLV? People would not have known this situation as well if Rodgers hadn't attended the 2005 NFL Draft.

Last but not least, didn't the players earn the right to be showcased in the biggest moment of their lives? If I were a top player in the NCAA and the NFL extended an invitation to show me off to the world, I would want to go. Forget all of the collective bargaining talk.

Without the players, the draft loses all of its luster. The players deserve the chance to be a part of this great, highly-hyped event.

Wouldn't you rather be told in person that you got the job?

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