2011 NFL Draft: 10 Reasons the NFL Draft and Its Experience Are so Overrated
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching parts of the NFL Draft and understand it is important. The teams in the NFL that consistently draft well, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers, to name a few, are consistenly competitive and remain among the league's elite.
But, let's be honest.
The whole thing is OVERBLOWN.
The buildup, the anticipation, the mock drafts.... And then more of the same, all for an event that features no actual football of any kind.
Ethan Skolnick of NBCSports.com summed it up best when he wrote, "The draft will be conducted over a three-day period, though if the league could conduct it over 255 days—one for each pick—it probably would."
No. 10: There Is SSSSSOOOOO Much Downtime
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In years past, there were 15 minutes between each first-round pick. Fortunately, before last year's draft, the time limit was lowered to 10 minutes, making the first round a little more tolerable.
And I understand why the need for having some time between picks. Despite having had months to prepare for the draft, teams need additional time to re-evaulate their options should something go haywire,like if a team two spots in front of them takes the player they intended to draft.
Or, when new information arises concerning a specific player. It makes sense that the teams have some time to engage in hazard control should something go wrong, but, as a spectator, waiting and waiting and waiting for the next pick gets to be too much after a while.
No. 9: How Many Times Can We Listen to Mel Kiper, Jr. Before We Go Insane?
First off, I just want to say that I think Mel Kiper is great.
He's smart, colorful and incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to college football players.
But, by the time Draft Day comes around, we've been seeing quite a bit of Mel.
For the past few weeks, he's been on SportsCenter everyday, and, we're starting to grow a little tired of hearing the same things being said over and over again.
It's kind-of like the relationship you have with your girlfriend: You usually enjoy being around her, but, after a while, you just need some time and space for yourself.
No. 8: The First Players Drafted Are Paid Insane Amounts of Money
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Ryan Leaf. Tim Couch. David Carr. JaMarcus Russell.
What do all of these men have in common?
They were all highly-touted college athletes who were billed as can't-miss prospects that could change the fortunes of whichever NFL team decided to draft them.
As we now know, all of those players, for a variety of reasons, turned out to be busts. What makes the situation worse is the fact that tens of millions of dollars was given to these men even before they had played a down in the NFL.
There was so much hype surrounding them, so much hope bestowed upon them by the fans, and, in the end, the investment made in them as players turned out about as well for those teams as it did for people who had invested in Enron.
As for the picture of Russell, I'll give him credit on one thing -- he's a damn good dresser.
No. 7: ESPN Manages to Kill the Drama Just Before the Early Picks Are Made
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There is some excitement that comes with seeing Roger Goodell walk to the podium and announce the name of the next player being drafted. It is similar, for example, to the anticipation that exists when someone is about to announce the winner of an Acadamy Award.
The anticipation, the buildup, the excitement, the non-existent drum roll we pretend to hear.
And it's all ruined because ESPN decides to cut to a smiling player speaking on the phone, thus spoiling things for the fans.
No. 6: It's Frustrating Trying to Listen to Everyone Espouse Their Opinions
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I love the guys on ESPN that cover the NFL Draft.
Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and Jon Gruden are all men I respect and admire.
They have colorful personalities, have interesting experiences to draw upon and are very knowledgeable when it comes to the game of football.
But when there are so many of them on television at once all trying to get their opinions across in a truncated period of time (before the commerical break comes), it becomes tiresome and annoying.
No. 5: There's No Way of Knowing If Your Team's Picks Were Smart Ones
We all know who that is.
It's Tom Brady, one of the greatest players in NFL history.
But none of us would've known that he would've had much of a chance at having a successful career in the NFL when he was playing football at Michigan or when he was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
And that's just the thing about the draft—nobody knows how things will play out. There are players who aren't even drafted, like Josh Cribbs, who make it to the Pro Bowl, and there are high first-round picks, like Akili Smith, who turn out to be complete busts, proving that, yet again, the whole event is overhyped.
No. 4: It Will Be Two to Three Years Before We See the True Outcome of the Draft
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I'll admit it.
I was one of the people who thought that the Houston Texans had made a mistake by drafting Mario Williams over Reggie Bush.
I thought the Texans were stupid, crazy and misguided for passing on the can't-miss running back from USC, a man that I, as well as others, compared to Gale Sayers.
After their rookies seasons, many of us felt justified in ripping apart the Texans for passing on Bush, seeing as he accounted for 1523 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns while William was responsible for just 4.5 sacks.
But, since then, things have drastically changed.
Now, don't get me wrong. Reggie Bush has turned out to be a good player for the New Orleans Saints, but he hasn't quite lived up to expectations, and, Williams, after struggling in his rookie season, has been named to two Pro Bowls and has registered 43.5 sacks in the last four seasons, proving so many of us wrong.
No. 3: The Season Doesn't Actually Begin Until September
After the draft is finished, many fans begin to think about how their favorite team's recent draft picks will fit in with the club.
They evaluate how the team will look on paper, how much the new players will be able to fit into the offensive and defensive systems, and, as a result, get overexcited about the team's capabilites, thinking their club has a chance at making the Super Bowl, only to see them go 8-8 and fail to make the playoffs when the season finally comes around.
No. 2: There Is Only so Much One Can Expect out of a Player in His Rookie Season
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You know why Ben Roethlisberger had so much success in Pittsburgh early on?
Because he joined a first-class organization that had good players and smart coaches already in place, making the transition for him much easier.
Couch was a very talented, young quarterback with so much promise, but what happened when his rookie season began? The Cleveland Browns, instead of having him hold a clipboard, learn the offense and take things slowly, threw him to the wolves behind a porous offensive line.
And we all know how that turned out.
No.1: All in All, People Take the Experience Wwwwwaaaaayyyyy Too Seriously
Remember the reaction from Philadelphia Eagles fans back in 1999 when their beloved franchise drafted Donovan McNabb instead of Ricky Williams?
Of course. We all do.
It turns out that, contrary to the belief of those rabid, passionate Eagles fans, the team, five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance later, had made he right decision in choosing McNabb over Williams.
And to think. All that anger, all that worrying, all that frustration... for nothing.