The NFL draft is coming…the NFL draft is coming! Ok, it’s not quite as important as “One if by land, two if by sea” but for football fans it signals the midway point between the Super Bowl and the start of training camp. This off-season has been especially tough as the other manly man sport, hockey, succumbed to a combination of greedy owners and, well, greedy and stupid players. Hey, no offense, but get your noggin crashed into the boards and slammed into the ice a few times and how much sense are you gonna make of salary cap issues other than what some bean counters and money-grubbing lawyer nee sports agents are telling you?
Ok, I just ticked off the CPA’s and attorneys but hey, they should be used to it by now.
Regardless, this is when we all sit around and play the musical draft choices game. The Redskins led off by trading picks with Denver and now own the 9th and 25th picks in the first round. Word from the NFL.com draft blog is this is just a ploy to put a package in place and move into the top three, where it is expected they’ll select Braylon Edwards. The 49’ers want Alex Smith but talks with his agent suggest they won’t be able to get a deal done before draft time. If they can’t it is expected that they’ll either bite the bullet and take Aaron Rogers or trade down with either Miami and Tampa Bay, both who are rumored to be creaming their collective jeans over Smith. I don’t understand the logic, since word is they are negotiating with Smith and Edwards’ agents but nothing about Rogers. Things that make ya go hmmmmm.
Most of us have either participated in a mock draft or fantasized about who we could get with the first few picks in the draft. That stud running back, left tackle, linebacker, quarterback, whoever it is we feel help get us to the big game. Some of us have looked at the recent actions by our front office, and pray that they don’t implode on this holiest of holy days for those of us whose shrine on Sunday is the big screen TV, our pews the comfy couch or easy chair ensconced directly in front of it. Cleveland fans know what I mean. So do Buc’s fans.
The Buccaneers are widely reported to be interested in doing a deal to move up for Alex Smith if San Francisco can’t do a deal. Fans wonder how the heck they’ll make room under the cap for a number one pick, expected to cost similar to the $20 million package Eli Manning got last year. And what about that big stack of Benjamins they gave to Brian Griese? It seems foolhardy, when there are quality running backs and a hell of a left tackle from Florida State by the name of Barron available in the fifth, although if you read Pete Prisco he won’t make it past Cleveland at the third pick. Since Rich McKay left town no one is quite sure what the Bruce Allen/John Gruden tandem (because brain trust seems a bit too complimentary) are up to in Tampa.
This draft we are told there is talent but not of the depth and breadth of previous drafts. One scout lamented that is was the worst draft in many years. “Experts” like Mel Kiper and Pat Kirwan agree on one thing. Everyone wants Alex Smith. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Here are about the only things that seems certain in a draft full of uncertainties.
-Alex Smith is the Quarterback everyone covets.
-Braylon Edwards will be the first wide receiver selected in the draft.
-Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams will be gone by the tenth pick.
-Alex Barron will be the first offensive lineman taken.
-Miami needs a quarterback and a running back but can only get one with the second pick.
-Cedric Benson won’t get taken by the Dolphins, who have had enough of pot-smoking Texas running backs.
So light your candles, say your prayers and turn the television on. It’s the biggest day of the off-season for fantasy football fanatics.