The NFL draft used to be a one-day affair. It started early, it ran late and at the end was…the end.
Now? Well, the draft is an entertainment property now. Big TV attraction. So the draft sprawls across three days, with the first round – and first round only – on Thursday night. This is such a big deal that it is televised by the NFL Network and by ESPN, which may not have to hock its cameras after firing so many people on Wednesday.
Important things to know:
*ESPN’s coverage team will be without Chris Berman for the first time since 1986. Do with that what you will.
*The Cleveland Browns have the first overall pick in the draft, and also the 12th. The odds on them making two mistakes are probably good. There is much speculation the owner, Jimmy Haslam, is pushing for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Haslam is the same guy who pushed for Johnny Manziel, and didn’t that go well? The Browns are like the Bermuda Triangle for quarterbacks. QBs simply disappear into Lake Erie and are gone for good (or bad) like the Edmund Fitzgerald (yes, we know it went down in Lake Superior).
*Your football pundits have by now produced half a dozen mock drafts, giving them more chances to be right about who goes where. Trades, of course, throw everything off. And there will be trades. The first round will take three to four hours. Get comfortable.
*Fans will boo Commissioner Roger Goodell. Think about it. He helped Philadelphia host the draft for the first time since 1961 but he will be booed because, well, people boo him. And Philadelphia boos everyone.
*We’ll get to hear lots of inside football jargon. Did you know Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen is “a superior hand grappler”…who “found himself engulfed by linemen with mass from time to time?” Were you aware that Southern California cornerback Adoree’ Jackson “is able to mirror and match from press?” No, English subtitles will not appear on your screen. You’re on your own, bub.
Remember, every guy drafted on Thursday night will be his team’s savior. Right up until he isn’t. Then he’ll be a bust. We all know what that means.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman
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