NFL Draft For 2009 Lacks The Punch Of Past Years

Jeff DickinsonCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2008

This time of the year in the NFL, the race is on for football fans all over the country. Not the race for the playoffs, but the race for the top pick in next April's NFL Draft.

While fans of some teams sit on the edge of their seats hoping for a playoff berth, fans in Detroit, St. Louis, Seattle, Cincinnati and Kansas City are camped in their recliners hanging on every word that Mel Kiper, Jr. utters.

It is pretty obvious that the Lions will have the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, but the Rams, Seahawks, Bengals and Chiefs are still battling it out for the next three picks. In past years, there has been some excitement about the NFL Draft and the crop of players from which teams have to choose.

Who can forget the 2006 NFL Draft when the big talk was whether Reggie Bush or Mario Williams would be the top pick? This year the suspense of the top pick was eliminated when the Miami Dolphins entered into contract talks with offensive lineman Jake Long prior to the draft.

Looking at the projected mock draft for 2009 on a number of websites is enough to send the most serious insomniac into dreamland. predicts that the Lions will pick University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

That's about it for the draft's excitement. Walter Football then has the Rams selecting Alabama offensive lineman Andre Smith second, followed by Kansas City picking Texas defensive lineman Brian Orapko and the Cincinnati Bengals choosing Mississippi offensive lineman Michael Oher.

Hey, you out there in readerland....wake up! Stay with me for a few more seconds, OK? The first "sexy" pick doesn't come until Walter Football has the San Diego Chargers selecting Southern California linebacker Rey Maualuga with the 12th pick.

Besides a couple of well-known picks like Ohio State's James Laurinaitis (17th by the Denver Broncos) and Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (18th by the Arizona Cardinals), the 2009 NFL Draft sounds like it will be one to catch via the Internet highlights.

The point is that if you are a fan of the Lions, Rams or one of the other teams that is picking in the top five of the 2009 NFL Draft, don't get your hopes up that the player your team selects will turn the franchise around. The teams that are picking that high in the draft are more than a Matthew Stafford or Andre Smith away from winning.

More importantly for these teams is the new head coaches who will be leading them and the players they will acquire via free agency. A rookie out of college isn't going to have as much of an impact as a coach or an established veteran.